Homework: Is it worth it?
Since the beginning of my education, teachers have always told me that homework is just as important as schoolwork. Apparently, getting educated for 7 hours a day isn’t enough, so homework is given out. Throughout my 14 or so years of learning, this has been unchanged. As you get further along the education timeline, from elementary school to middle school to high school and all the way to college, homework becomes more expansive. What was once 30 minutes of homework per hour of school becomes 3 hours of homework per hour of class.
With this obsession over extra learning, technologies are being created to help kids learn who aren’t even in school yet. This has always existed – there are toys that help 3 year olds learn shapes, for example, or begin counting. However, you can tell that times have changed, when you can set your three year old down at a computer to learn. Just the other day, I saw a commercial for ABCmouse.com. On this website, you can learn about reading, math, the world, art, and music. You can even complete puzzles and play some games! It’s a truly magical experience for kids, if they can figure out how to use the mouse.
GameDesk: The Future?
With the rise of technology instead of toys to help educate young inquiring minds, there is a nonprofit company called GameDesk that eventually plans to create a “classroom of the future” that will rely primarily on interactive video games that will help students “by motivating them to stay in school, raise test scores and enjoy learning.” So yes, you’re reading this right. A company believes that a child can have a full-on education directly based off of video games and that those games will solve countless problems facing our educational system. There is no large company that believes in this idea more than apparently “AT&T [who] will invest $3.8 million…the largest donation ever made by the company.”
AT&T has been around for just about 30 years and they choose to make their biggest investment in a company that might not even work out in the long run. The only evidence backing GameDesk is their previous “programs like Math Maker which….is said to increase math scores in 80 percent of its users.” Apparently, when making the decision to sponsor this company, AT&T’s CEO wanted to support something that could change education exponentially. If GameDesk’s classroom does end up becoming a success, it will change everything. This phone company isn’t the only one backing this idea: the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation and the Samsung Corporation have also provided funding to Game Desk, so clearly there is more promise in the air than my skepticism would suggest.
GameDesk: The Future.
Even if the “classroom of the future” doesn’t work out, there is still hope for GameDesk and all of its investors. Getting out of school, no student wants to begin working right away on homework. However, if their homework were to play 30 minutes of some game created by GameDesk, they may be more willing to do it. Creating a food chain with animated and realistic animals would be much more amusing than drawing their own food chain. Manipulating 3-D molecules on an iPad could resonate far more with many students than writing out molecular formulas that seemingly have no relation to the world around us. You get the idea. The classroom of the future may not look exactly like what GameDesk has in mind, but advancing new ideas about what homework should look like is never a bad thing.