Yesterday I was struck by a huge urge to play Sim City 3000. Cursing myself for leaving it at home, tucked into a box stored in the basement, I started to reflect on a time when playing this and other games was one of the highlights of going to school.
Charging people fair taxes in Sim City, tracking down clues in Where in the World/Time is Carmen San Diego?, and fording the freaking river in Oregon Trail was the best. BEST. Why? Because back in my day, the majority of us didn't have computers at home, or if we did, we didn't have time to use them/weren't allowed to play games. That meant that school was our one shot at playing on computers.
And where were these sacred computers kept that allowed us to experience such joy? The library. Back in the day when we were graded in "Library," we all got A's for being able to effectively remember what time period in which the Vikings lived. Sure we also looked at books and did research, but only if you lost the race to the computers at the start of class.
But now kids have iPads and laptops and any other technological device that schools for some reason are insisting they "need" to learn. Yeah, sure it's impressive when a two year old can play on an iPad, but does she really need to? You know who else can play on an iPad? A cat.
Anyway, I can get on board with how typing and learning Powerpoint (although people STILL can't figure out how to put together a good Powerpoint - black on a dark background DOESN'T WORK PEOPLE!) and intellectual programs are important for kids, but now they have access to all the computer games they want and it's just not that exciting to use a computer in school anymore. Computers in school are all work work work. I've encountered numerous kids and teens who don't even know what these games are; the only games they know are Angry Birds and the like. It's so sad.
I know, I know, I'm being all nostalgic and I know things need to die out, but the fact that kids are born with the knowledge of how to jailbreak iPods makes me sad that the fun/semi-educational computer games that were a big part of library fun (all library was fun, but this was super fun) are dying out.