Yesterday, I spent the day at Carrollton-Farmers Branch school district in suburban Dallas, Texas. I haven’t seen such a forward thinking and forward reaching school district within the boundaries of the United States, in … I don’t remember when. Not only are the embracing Web 2.0, but their CTO took representatives, including teachers, to the Web 2.0 Expo in California.
I was there to talk about video games, and start some conversations about how they might integrate games, or at least some of the elements of gaming into their school culture. One of the schools I visited focuses on multimedia. In a sense, it reminded me of a music school with single practice rooms, where individual students could check in for personal practice. This school, however, had Edit Suites, small rooms with video and audio editing stations. I loved it.
The best part was a chance to talk with some of the students. Some of my take-aways included the student who talked about how he expored the gaming sites that had instructions for moding the video games that he played. I accused him of cheating, and he said —
That’s not cheating! that’s programming!
Now technically, it’s not programming. But somehow, in a broader sense, it seems like a wholy appropriate term. Another student, when askied why he was interested in a carreer in video games, said, It’s about entertainment, and entertainment is universal.
The best was a young man who, when asked what he liked about this school, talked about how there were so many other students here who understood him. Then he said,
There isn’t a problem that I can’t find someone at this school to help me solve.
I can’t think of a better compliment to pay to any school.
Finally, walking into my Courtyard Hotel room yesterday evening, I saw this (picture above). Does this look like an aging, ex boxer, rabbit waiting for me to arrive? — or have I been on the road too long?