Alternative Teaching Model, i.e. Video Games

Under the Prussian Model, schooling becomes a choking prose; the ring of the bell its punctuation.

A Quotation for Consideration

Professor Michael Merzenich, who works at the University of California, San Francisco, said that “our brains are vastly different, in fine detail, from the brains of our ancestors… In each stage of cultural development… the average human had to learn complex new skills and abilities that all involve massive brain change… Each one of us can actually learn an incredible elaborate set of ancestrally developed skills and abilities in our lifetimes, in a sense generating a re-creation of this history of cultural evolution via brain plasticity” (Doidge).

In essence, culture changes the way we think.

Historical Context

Before I propose an alternative teaching method, let’s take a brief look at the education system implemented into schools today. What we have here in the United States is what is called the “Prussian Model of Schooling” which includes mandatory courses, a national grading system, and specific instruction necessities for all students and teachers. This education model dates all the way back to the Kingdom of Prussia and its 18th Century curriculum Volksschule.

When looking at Middle and High school, we find that education has become categorized learning separated by brief bouts of “free period” (typically approximately five minutes in length, as students transition from one classroom to the next). In college we have the same, except these “free periods” continue even longer, at times lasting up to several hours.

However, in this past century we’ve seen the rise of a technological implementation in which we, as human beings, can engage for hours without interruption. That technology? Video games.

Reform, the Proposal Stage

We don’t live in the Pleistocene Age anymore. Nor are we 18th Century Prussians. The Millennials, as we’ve been nick’d by the media, are an impatient and visually-impressed zeitgeist generation. Education as lecturer and pupils encaged inside four classrooms walls is sentimental at best. New blood clamors for a new body and we must deliver. Thus, my application of video games.

Specifically, video games that have been tailored to educate with sequential precision, “play world” architecture, and yet inestimable developments of critical thinking. Games should be capricious enough to avoid proscribed thinking patterns. What we’re looking for is “neuroplastic” stepping stones that allow children to fully articulate internal disorder into both individual and societal remuneration.

That means the consequences of failure will be gentle, while “in-game” rewards will reimburse hard-work with virtual pleasures. Or will they? As this is all theoretical with very little exploration of subject matter, even conceptions of this proposal’s project is limited to preconceived philosophy on video game potential for tutorage.

Source

Doidge, Norman. The Brain That Changes Itself. Penguin Books: New York City, 2007.

Conspiracies Peoples Report

YO YO! I now have a radio show broadcasting every Thursday afternoon from 6:30 to 8 PM at KJUC 880/770 AM from local Santa Barbara radio channel KCSB 91.9. It’s going to be the shizrocks so get your notebook out and tune in. While other shows are saturating themselves in Indie bands and alternative rock, we’ll be exploring intriguing topics like MAN’S PLACE IN THE COSMOS!

CPR, or Conspiracies Peoples Report, is dedicated to descending into madness. Like a snake eating its own tail, humies preoccupy themselves in the consumption of resources and Brave New World levels of leisure that they’ve ignored the signs of our super-weird, super-mutual destruction. The natural order is helter skelter.

Our show will investigate a variety of topics pertaining to you, the cosmonaut, including: Graphic Novels, life philosophies, life sophistries, OST, Spoken Word, the supernatural, the paranormal, Cracked.com, non sequitur humor, fish, the superhorny, magical realism, conspiracies, religion, religious conspiracies, conspiratorial religions, private detective fiction from the 20-30s, cryptozoology, fringe science, anime & manga, westerns & cowboys, stand up comedy (and sit down tragedy), Crime Mystery Theatre, science fiction, interesting histories, obscure books, and brain-washing celebrities (like Lady Gag… or is it Godga?).

Our musical accompaniment will be soundtracks to our favorite TV shows, with an emphasis on Science Fiction, Spy Espionage, and Detective Drama (i.e. The Prisoner, The Wild Wild West, 3rd Rock from the Sun, The X-FilesFringe, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, Kojak, The Rockford Files, Starsky & Hutch, McMillan & Wife, etc). Plus we’ll include music pertaining to the supernatural, music pertaining to nerd culture, and music we really, really, really like. Think of this as kaleidoscopic arm-swinging insubordinate wit to twit.

I’m teaching a class next year!

LITERATURE CS 15 Section 1

DECONSTRUCTING DISNEY

Disney and analogous animations are a medium not usually perceived as high art, but are just as applicable for critical analysis. In this colloquium we will perilously engage in deconstructing archetypes, mythological figures, and conflicting ideologies in the Disney “universe.” Disney’s persistent use of adapted story, dead family members, gender roles, race, distorted history, as well as manipulation of visual presentation, music, history, popular culture and subtle sexuality – makes the Disney oeuvre a thing that can be explored by both the childish and cerebral. This colloquium will also explore new methods of telling story when universal brand and a globalized audience must be considered. Writing projects will include critical essays and creative writing within the topic. Students will turn in a portfolio of collected stories, poetry and essays at the end of the quarter. Exploration of other forms of media, like Hanna Barbara, Pixar, or Hayao Miyazaki films, will also be allowed.

Note: Student Colloquia are limited to a maximum of Two (2.0) units Pass. Units for this class are lower-division UCSB units.

 Recommended Reading:

Byrne, Eleanor. Deconstructing Disney. Pluto Press: London, 1999.

Griffin, Sean. Tinker Belles and Evil Queens. University Press: New York, 2000.

Wasko, Janet. Understanding Disney. Blackwell Publishers Ltd: Cambridge, 2001.

Student Instructor:  Desmond White

Faculty Advisor:  Jim Donelan

Shirley Geok-Lin Lim


Shirley Geok-Lin Lim is one of my CCS Professors. Our class had lunch the other day and talked about writing. Here are some of her thoughts.

On balancing:

“I do this little dance. I’m a teacher nine to ten hours a day, but I’ll only be a poet for five minutes. It’s wrong. I either have to quit teaching to be a poet, or quit poetry to be a teacher.”

On the muse:

“The muse does not wait for you. If you say I’ll come back later, she’ll say goodbye. See you.”

On guilt:

“It’s always the back of my mind, that I could be writing more. I would write better if I gave it more time. It’s a nagging sense, an uncomfortable sense. Like I’m breaking promises.”

On professors:

“Some people get older and become calloused. Fossils. We need young people to keep us going.”

Fiction — “Rue/Ruin”

Autumn:  I like to be a cynic

Spring:  a professional mood killer

Autumn:  life’s funny to the emotionless

Autumn:  yeah, but the truth is ur pretty sensitive

Autumn:  u cant fool me

Autumn:  im not just a hat rack my friend

Spring:  guess the same could be said of you, though you put on a good show

Autumn:  i do my best…

Autumn:  why do we do that?

Spring:  maybe something’s wrong with the world, something’s wrong with us, and the interactions in between really hurt.

Autumn:  im not sure if i like that


Autumn:  i just did something really dumb

Autumn:  i have no idea where i put my band aids and i cut my hand, so i decided to put nail polish on it to stop the bleeding..

Autumn:  it worked but it hurts like a bitch

Autumn:  very funny but it hurts

Autumn:  im laugh moaning

Autumn:  like ow ow hahahhahahah oww

Fiction — “Plain Boxes”

I dated Miranda (a fake name but not a fake person), the little swashbuckler, respondent to the slightest touch, a child in every conversation except for the one in which she broke it off, when her face froze with a look of sweet pie, her freckles spattered, that Pomeranian hair, those steel-white eyes like a photo in grayscale. “It’s you, not me, really,” she said. And she said it without laughing, without a huge plastic smile, without Barbie. She said it with a storeroom empty of guilt.

“What?” I asked, as sweaty as a basketball player in a Gatorade commercial.

“We’re done and you’ve got to get going,” she said. And just like that.