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Nonfiction Matters
Inside Nonfiction Matters

Spore and Its Issues

In Case Your Paper Did Not Cover The Launch of Spore, Here

is the article, and video clip, in the Times, www.nytimes.com/2008/09/05/arts/television/05spor.html; www.nytimes.com/2008/09/02/science/02spor.html#video

I’d read about this new game/word/exploration-field nearly a year ago, and it sounds fascinating. In fact it sounds almost precisely like what I think Educational Technology should be — a field of experiment where we/young people can try out versions of history, versions of biology, versions of phyiscs and chemistry and political science and economics, and learn by doing. And yet the Times review suggests that it is precisely on this deeper level of strategy, of planning and thinking, that Spore — so far — is disappointing. 

If any of you try it, report back, tell us, is the Times critic right? But there is also a larger issue here. I know that kids who play Civilization sometimes feel stimulated by their gaming to read history. They want to build an empire, so they study Rome. And yet I also often hear — from publishers, from teachers, from librarians — that we are not seeing students move back and forth from book to online. Instead, no matter how many links are spelled out in a book, kids tend to treat print as print and online as online. Is that your experience? Tell us? And that brings me back to Spore.

Will we see libraries have Spore gaming sessions, and have kids read Darwin, or Sis on Darwin, or The Web of Life? Will playing at evolution stimulate interest in how scientists understand our origins? The game clearly will be fun to use, and spectacular on the screen. Even if its intellectual depth is not as great as we adults hoped, it still seems a great opportunity for a school/library/parent. We need to learn how to pair with media, so our books ride the crest of interest they create.

Ideas?

Comments

  1. Diane Chen says:

    My #2 son is waiting for Spore for his birthday. I’ll know by the end of the month if this lives up to his expectations.