Eye Catching, 7-11 October, 2013

I’ve been in teacher mode this week, thinking about lesson plans and how to improve them, so my head’s been stuck in creative land.  It’s funny how when you’re working on something, you run into things in places you don’t normally look that help you out.  I’m sure I can’t be the only person this happens to, right?  One such article is Stephanie Banchero’s “Now teachers encourage computer games in class” focusing on how teachers in elementary, middle, and high school, are using games like Minecraft, Angry Birds, and Guild Wars 2 to teach math, physics, writing, and more.  (We featured a similar article a few weeks ago, so by now you probably realize it’s something we care about.)  Sometimes, I wish I could be a kid again just to have these kinds of learning experiences.  In the meantime, though, I can take inspiration from educators like Mike Skocko who recognize that meeting students where they are, using the games they’re already playing, and the social media tools they’re already using, to engage them further is creative and effective.

As gamers, we know that these “mindless” games we use to relax or spend time with friends require a lot of strategic thinking and problem solving skills in worlds that captivate us with the consequences of our choices, or punish us for missing the pig or snipping the rope in the wrong place.  We may not have shiny weapon skins or cities that we found and create in the real world, but we have different tools at our fingertips that our problem solving and critical thinking skills gain for us out here too.  Encouraging students of any age to use and hone these skills is the business of education, so bravo gamer teachers!  Keep up the great work! ~ Sandra

If you’d like to see the cool gamified curriculum Mike Skocko’s come up with, check out Mac Lab 3.0, or check out this little video about it:

* Now teachers encourage computer games in class | Wall Street Journal

* Mac Lab 3.0 | Mike Skocko, Valhalla High School, El Cajon, CA

While Sandra’s been exploring games in curriculum, I’ve been chewing on a number of interesting business articles.  In fact, several articles on Nintendo have been nagging at me all summer.

My first gaming console was an Atari 2600 and my favorite game was Space Invaders.  In the 80s, we bought a Nintendo – technically, it was my brother’s Nintendo but all the games were multiplayer and, since I was his Space Invader partner, I was able to play along with Duck Hunt (I HATE that dog) and Gyromite.

Gyromite_front OMG! Gyromite?!  🙂 I preferred to play the robot part and squish my brother… until he caught onto the game and decided to try and squish me.

Although my brother adored Mario Brothers, I always had a soft spot for The Legend of Zelda.  I grew up with a Nintendo in the house, first the NES then the Super Nintendo.

So, when I read articles detailing the struggles of this amazing company, I find myself having to fight off a serious case of the doldrums.  Since the Console Wars began ratcheting up their press releases this summer, the business community has turned a critical eye on Nintendo.  Early on, articles such as  Tristan Louis’ Nintendo, the New Sega, focused on the Wii U’s short-comings.  Not that the criticism is unfounded, mind you, and it’s obvious that a large number of people are rooting for Nintendo, but business is about out-competing others.  And in a lucrative business, like the gaming industry, even more so.

On August 1, Paul Tassi wrote on Forbes.com about solving the problems faced by Nintendo.  His advice is practical and logical, including re-releasing older games and maybe even relaunching the console.  And while investors continue to offer a variety of opinions on the company, gamers continue to offer up advice.  Most recently, the indie developer Two Tribes, “tried to convince Valve and Nintendo to work together,” as reported on Kotaku.com.  As a long-time Nintendo player, I wish them a bright future and hold out hope that they will survive the trials to come.

As an aside, as I’m sure you’ve seen, the Steam controller is looking pretty awesome!  Perhaps Nintendo and Valve will work something out.  Perhaps Nintendo will follow Sega.  Or perhaps they will continue providing their own console and first-party games.  And maybe this is the end.  Regardless, Nintendo has a special place in my heart.  ~ Star

* Nintendo: The New Sega | Forbes.com

* How do you Solve a Problem like Nintendo | Forbes.com

* Indie Developer Tried to Convince Valve and Nintendo to Work Together | Kotaku.com

* Valve Demonstrates How the Odd Looking Device Actually Works | VentureBeat.com


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