Games and Apps, Social Skills, and Schooling

Games And Apps Will Push Social Skills Back To The Center Of Schooling
August 19, 2013

Games and apps begin to unchain us from the outdated educational conventions of the 20th Century.

During the last century, schools mastered the process of brick and mortar teaching. Students learned to line up against cinderblock walls and follow rigid schedules. The school day mimicked the work day. Children sat in rows and responded to bells. Practically automated like a factory, teachers–expected to act more like foremen than educators–herded kids from classroom to cafeteria, from gym to playground. Skilled teachers were reduced to attendance-takers and grade-stampers. The lines between “schooling,” “conditioning,” and “brainwashing” remained fuzzy and ambivalent.

In 1954 Michel Foucault wrote that “in its education a society dreams of its golden age.” So presumably, at some point the United States envisioned our rich way of living modern life and, perhaps unintentionally, we created a training program to make it a reality.

And one could easily argue that it worked perfectly. Private schools nurtured budding executives. Magnet schools crafted bright kids into middle managers. The rest of the institutions catered to the labor class.
It was a “know-your-place” kind of education. It reinforced a world of haves and have-nots.

“The education system is essentially a socio-economic class system,” said Susan Crown.
Schools teach not only reading, writing, and arithmetic, but also cultural and social behaviors.
The prioritization of cognitive skills, test scores, and easily quantifiable information only veils the even bigger achievement gap in interpersonal and intrapersonal skills.

Michel Foucault also asked, “Is it surprising that prisons resemble factories, schools, barracks, hospitals, which all resemble prisons?”

Foucault wasn’t the only one who noticed. After all, in The Republic, Plato also illustrated how ways of thinking can be confining.
He used the image of prisoners chained in a cave in his discussion of the essence of education.
He wrote about the inherent tensions of schooling, between creating good citizens rather than simply creating good conformists.
Is teaching about igniting the passion that comes from within the individual, or putting in place the social conformity that is a prerequisite for civilization? Both, of course.

see also:


IF… (a SEL game)

Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is learning how to understand and manage our emotions.

Revolutionary Bedfellows: IF Teachers and Game Mechanics Unite to Innovate
Trip Hawkins  |  CEO, If You Can Company
November 06, 2013
In this session Trip Hawkins, founder of gaming giant Electronic Arts, will reveal his latest venture; an educational service for preteen children, that offers regular, new monthly content in the form of interactive stories and curriculum delivered through blended gameplay and role-playing.
He will describe how they developed the program with a recipe that is similar to how EA Sports was co-developed, with subject matter experts like John Madden, blueprints like the NFL Rules, player statistics, and then blended into state-of-the-art platforms, game technologies and UI.
Trip will discuss this new model and his recipe for successful product development, design, content and UI.

Is Conscientiousness Compatible with Creativity?

Is Conscientiousness Compatible with Creativity?

Creative people are both Conscientious and not Conscientious at the same time

August 26, 2011
by Scott Barry Kaufm an, Ph.D

When it comes to achievement, Conscientiousness is a great thing.
All else being equal, the person who has tenacity, persistence, stamina, and grit will be more successful then the person who is lazy and unmotivated.
Over 25 years of research supports this commonsense view: Conscientiousness is the most consistent and best predictor of both  job and academic performance.

Mapping Transversal/Non-Cognitive Skills in Education

Mapping Transversal/Non-Cognitive Skills in Education

“What are the most important skills a child today should be learning?”
When participants at UNESCO’s recent expert meeting on the future of education were asked this question, responses included
critical thinking,
core values and
But when we look to school curriculum, are these “skills” really being encouraged effectively?
How can we define these skills and how can they be measured, if they are measurable?


Resilience for medical leaders

Resilience in late bloomers


Is America Still The ‘Land Of Opportunity?’

Is America Still The ‘Land Of Opportunity?’
July 01, 2013

Is the old saying still true? Can you work your way up from the bottom today, to become an innovator and a leader? Host Michel Martin explores the skills you need to compete and succeed in school and beyond.


Shirley Ann Jackson, she’s president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She’s a theoretical physicist. She also happens to be the first African-American woman to lead a top-50 research university.

Joel Klein is a former chancellor of the New York City Department of Education. He’s now the CEO of Amplify, the education division of News Corp.

Madeline Levine is a psychologist and author of “Teach Your Children Well: Parenting for Authentic Success.”

Paul Tough is a writer who’s been focusing on education for some time now. His latest book, “How Children Succeed,” is just out in paperback.

KLEIN: right now, increasingly, what you see is less and less mobility at the top colleges. You see fewer and fewer kids who grew up in poverty who are getting into those schools and those programs.

MARTIN: Antonio Villaraigosa said that the civil rights issue of our time is this issue of the achievement gap. It’s the democracy issue of our time. … If you want to be able to compete in the new economy, you have to have intellectual capital.

JACKSON: we get the product of the, primarily, the public school system, and there are issues with what we get,  … those things can range from how deep the knowledge is to what the maturity level of the young people turns out to be.

TOUGH: we’ve been focused very much in our school system and, I think, in many of our families on cognitive skills, on the sort of skills that get measured on standardized tests.
And as Shirley Ann is pointing out, those matter a lot when kids get to college, but they’re not all that matters.

There’s also this other set of skills that economists called non-cognitive skills, things like grit and perseverance, conscientiousness, optimism that matter a lot, especially at the college level.

LEVINE: At Stanford we just did a study, 95 percent of kids are cheating. It’s well-known.

KLEIN: as Paul has pointed out, they don’t have the grit, the determination, the stick-to-itiveness to grow.

JACKSON: it also would help to delineate where peoples’ skills and intelligences really are.
And there are multiple intelligences.

LEVINE: I think we need socioemotional learning in every classroom – Chicago’s doing a good job of integrating it – which means that, not as a separate course, but as part of how everything is taught.

KLEIN: Every place but education has gone through a technological revolution, and education is sitting still*. And I think the opportunities to empower our teachers, change the learning process, engage kids – I’ve seen it with the work we’re doing at Amplify, and I’ve been in schools that are using these products and how excited they are.

You want to get kids working together, give them the kind of quests we put them on.
Figure out in groups who killed Edgar Allen Poe and why.

* April 15, 2013