Textbooks published on trees are on the way out in Texas, California and the rest of the country and world.
The Textbook industry is hoping they will be replaced with on-line versions spruced up with animated graphics. However, it is likely that on-line textbooks will be no more successful than magazine advertising that morphed into banner ads. Linear content with multiple choice answers at the end of each chapter, won't work. And as with banner ads, on the Internet you can measure that they don't work.
What does work? Socially networked GAMES. The question for this panel is whether games will replace traditional educational media, and what those games look like.
What will the teachers manual look like? How will learning be assessed? What happens to the classroom, or the school itself, when on-line learning is available 24/7? What does the PTA look like if parents can play along with their kids?
What happens to the distinction between vocational and instructional if playing games is equivalent to performing a virtual job or service? And what happens to the college admission process, if instead of taking a standardized aptitude test, students have been playing a complex game for years. In fact, what happens to colleges and universities where lecture halls still reign supreme?
There is a revolution underway, driven by kids and the games they play. Will the educational system adapt or die? We will see (and discuss).
Generally speaking, there's an assumption that casual games are a waste of time. What can playing a "meaningless" Facebook game for a few minutes really accomplish, anyways? Do I really need to "rescue" another "sheep"? Another point of view is that they're a little bit sinister, manipulating you into emptying your wallet, or giving up personal information. But perhaps both positions are missing the point. This new genre we call "Casual Social Games" represents a fascinating opportunity to better understand our own behavior, and to direct it, intentionally, for our own benefit, and for the greater good of society.
11th–15th March 2011