The names have been changed to protect the clueless ….
So, I went to a meet-up on gaming a while back where people who had NO experience in education, science, engineering or mathematics talked about how they were going to program games for STEM. They said things like,
The government is giving $1,789,345,765 for STEM education so it is a huge opportunity. The Gates Foundation is giving eleven times that much in grants to anyone who can design a web page because – well, math and science are necessary to, like make stuff.
I was in the minority of people who asked whether one might perhaps need some knowledge of mathematics education to design an app for children to learn math. In response, we heard comments like,
It’s not like they’re teaching really advanced mathematics in K-12. Anyone can teach it.
The teachers can figure it out. The games will be used by teachers in schools and they all know how to teach math.
Ignoring momentarily the fact that K-12 math goes up to AP Calculus and AP Statistics and that NOT anyone can teach it and not all teachers teach math particularly well …. even if that were the case, many of the people who are talking about making math education games have no idea what exactly teachers are teaching at each grade level, taking the attitude,
“The teachers will figure out how to use our game.”
That is so far from how we think at 7 Generation Games that when I texted these comments to our CMO during the meeting she texted back,
Is that the point where you got up and said, “Excuse me, but I’m going to leave now just in case stupidity turns out to be contagious.”
I didn’t, because I was just left speechless. We do actually know, for example, that there are over 30 specific standards related to fractions at the third through fifth grade level. Common core standards aren’t a buzzword to us. We realize that teachers need to be addressing specific content area at specific grades. More than that, we go around the country and meet with teachers, administrators, home schoolers and other parents to ask what are the areas they find most difficult to teach.
We show them the game and get their input as we are developing it. We have heard lots of great ideas and are implementing them in the game. Next week (if Maria doesn’t steal them for her post), I’ll give the best ideas from the Las Vegas meet-up.
Next 7 Generation Games meet-up
August 14, northern California – hope to see you there.