The other day the phone rang and I picked it up and it was my father at Best Buy telling me about computers on clearance, as my mother was thinking of buying one. I thought the deal was pretty good, so I drove over and bought the computer meself! It’s fast, has got about a 600 GB hard drive, and 3 GB of RAM, an okay graphics card, all for a low price. Definitely nicer (and of course more up to date) than my other four year old computer that I bought before college (which is, by the way, in pretty good shape for four years of use). I needed a new graphics card and more memory, so for probably a little more than the same, I bought a new computer.

I hadn’t planned on buying a new computer quite yet, so this was definitely an impulse buy. But thus far I’m pleased with it, even though I already used up 100 GB installing software and putting on the music I had on my other computer. But I still have 500 GB, so I’ve got plenty of space… plus my external which still has 400 GB left if I need it. So memory won’t be an issue for a while, I do suppose.

Anyway, in other news, I worked a bit more on my book on melody. Actually, I didn’t do much writing, I mostly did some planning. Ah … planning.

In other news, I finished the book How Computer Games Help Children Learn. I first expected it to talk about popular video games and their effects on children, but it was actually more about epistemology and how children come to learn anything in the first place. It then applies epistemological factors to games in general, showing how someone might learn something from any sort of game at all. It goes over case studies of quite elaborate games, and hints at how the properties of such games could be applied to the popular video games of today.

It would be very good for teachers to read as it makes some very important points. For example, students have to care about their work. Morphing a subject into a quiz game is practically useless. “History Jeopardy time!” is a lame stupid useless way to incorporate a game into a classroom; it’s not going to automatically make students care about history, nor will the content of the game last long afterwards.

My only qualm with the book is that to prove children have learned, it quotes the children themselves, and I know from experience that children are certainly willing to lie. I went to a summer program in middle school, and at the end we had to fill out evaluations. Being young and not very critical, I gave the program a good review on the evaluation. After all, this would please everyone, right? If I was honest about my opinion of thinking the program was a waste of time, who’d listen? Wouldn’t that make me seem like a whiny little dork? Wouldn’t the grown ups take it as an insult?

Not that I believe all the students quoted in the book are lying, just that I took them with a grain of salt. But what more can you ask for as proof? (Or ‘evidence’ I guess I should say.) When someone asks you “does this dress make me look fat?” the question begs a lie or jerkfulness, doesn’t it?

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2 Comments

Anonymous · August 2, 2008 at 6:10 PM

Did your computer come with vista?

Sean Hannifin · August 2, 2008 at 8:31 PM

Yes.

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