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As kids spend ever more time in the virtual world, the debate over whether video games foster harmful or helpful real-world habits rages. Marc Prensky, an educational software developer, is pro-game. In "Dont Bother Me MomIm Learning!", Prensky maintains that kids "are almost certainly learning more positive, useful things for their future from their video and computer games than they learn in school!"
Prensky wants to ease parents fears by describing how kids see gaming and what they learn. "[P]retty much all the information that parents and teachers have to work with is a lot of speculation, conjecture, and overblown rhetoric about the putative negative aspects of these games," he writes. Unfortunately, his counterstrategy is to throw together a similarly speculative mix in defense.
Prensky presents an opinionated argument filled with anecdotes, a few studies, and quotes pulled from published news stories. There is no evidence too specious: he cites a recent study that found younger, newer radiologists were more accurate in reading mammograms than older, more experienced doctors and asks, "Could the higher visual acuity gained from playing video games be at work here?" How can the reader know, when Prensky didnt talk to the researchers to find out if the study was trying to answer this question?
He also takes the easy road in response to studies that find a link between aggressive behavior and violent video games: "Absolutely no one can say, when all the complex factors in a single childs life are taken into account, whether any individual child will be negatively influenced overall." Of course not. The question, however, is whether video games are a risk factor for aggression and, if so, to what extent.
Nor will Prensky concede that there could be anything wrong with new technology. Writing about cell phones, he says that "the first educational use students implemented for their cell phones was retrieving information on demand during exams. Educators, of course, refer to this as cheating. They might better serve their students by redefining open-book testing as openphone testing." It is not hard to believe that children are learning problem-solving skills and hand-eye coordination from video games, as Prensky and others have written. Nor are all video games about killing things. But parents who have concerns about potential negative effects will be hard-pressed to fi nd thoughtful, well-researched answers here.
Prensky debunks the accepted wisdom that video games are harmful to children. Instead, he contends that games can teach a multitude of skills, including problem solving, language and cognitive skills, strategic thinking, multitasking, and parallel processing. He cites research showing the benefits of games in teaching skills children will need in a twenty-first-century economy, pointing to the military use of games to teach strategy, laproscopic surgeons who play games as a "warm-up" before surgery, and entrepreneurs who played games growing up. Better yet, Prensky details positive attributes of popular games, including the controversial Grand Theft Auto, and addresses parent concerns about children becoming addicted, socially isolated, or developing aggression because of games. He offers recommendations for particularly beneficial games as well as Web sites to advance parent learning, and provides sound advice on bridging the gap between what he calls the young digital natives and the older digital immigrants. Parents and teachers will appreciate--and enjoy--this enlightening look at video and computer games. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
This is a nice informative book, and I think a lot of parents could learn from it. However, it constantly references a dead site, and most of it's games are 10+ years old. Read morePublished 6 months ago by A. Hults
This book should be read by all parents to help them understand the realities of the digital world, even if they are digital natives themselves!Published 18 months ago by D. Ferkin
"My kids wastes his time playing video games!" I my humble opinion, that is wrong. Video Game are a valuable and valid learning tool. Read this book and free your mind.Published 19 months ago by Robert Varga
I used this book for a technology for teachers class. It brought up some very good points why teachers need to increase their use of technology in the classroom.Published on May 14, 2013 by Connie Stafford
I liked it - kids are going to play computer games. Help them learn their limits and help them choose appropriate games.Published on November 22, 2011 by karen o'reilly
Unabashedly pro-gaming, Prensky here offers a significant, and timely book which informs an important debate concerning children's use of computer-based gaming and its far-reaching... Read morePublished on February 6, 2011 by Anthony R. Dickinson
In his book, _Don't Bother Me, Mom--I'm Learning_, Marc Prensky delivers a convincing argument in favor of the success video and computer games have in preparing children for... Read morePublished on October 13, 2010 by Dustin Windsor
I'm not really sure what to say about this book. It was quite an accessible read written by someone who has obvious stakes in both game and book sales. Read morePublished on March 15, 2009 by JV
If you are a teacher or parent who thinks that learning can ONLY come from an all knowing teacher or professor, standing at the front of the room in front of a podium, lecturing... Read morePublished on August 28, 2008 by T. Arnold