1. They are fun to play.
2. It is fun to watch others play.
3. You can blow stuff up, use the force, and win the Stanley Cup.
4. When playing with others you can talk trash.
5. Some games have entertaining plots.
6. You get to shape the plot.
7. Some games have interesting characters.
8. You can be that character.
9. They make you think.
10. They can help you about history, economics, politics, social relations, government, culture, physics, zoologoy, business, war, sports managment, art history, geography, city planning, diplomacy, archeology, forensic science, project managment, human resources, marketing, diversity, current events, literacy, poetry, mythology, and much more.
Glad to see games being taken seriously as they are, not as “educational”. Which leads me to this. Tell me. How does an education standards committee view video games in the grand educational scheme? And if they do include them in their state standards (by some miracle) what happens as the games evolve? Where do they fit then? Where does IM fit? Where do blogs fit? I suppose you can apply all these technologies to some Procrustean standards bed, but you would to do some deadly chopping to do so. Standards. Their name suggests forever, once, and always. Truth with a capital “T”. Akin to holy writ in that deviation from them constitutes corruption.
Yet…I would be happy with a “many” standards approach to teaching. I really do want to help my students become better writers. I imply a standard when I say “better”, don’t I? But where does this leave the students? With me defining absolutely what that standard is and they reduced to aping it? If there is anything I have learned in writing it is that the approaches to the better writing are many, but that if we define too clearly what that “better” is, then we create hacks. That’s why there are so many bad writers out there including myself—we let other people put, as Max Stirner called ‘gears in the head’. It is only with my personal use of weblogs that I have started to throw spanners in the works. I have only now begun to cultivate a new garden of ‘standards’ from within. How I am getting there? Passionate, dogged obstinance against the man, that’s how. Exactly the kind attitude that we hate in our students. I have become the teenager in the back of the room, arms crossed, eyes wary. I have seen what “standards” do and it ain’t pretty. And I don’t think a clarion call to better standards is going to work. Evar.