nullChristchurch, New Zealand

So we’re all in New Zealand, having survived almost exactly 24 hours of non-stop travel from Philly to Christchurch, and already it’s as beautiful as advertised. We left leaves drifting into the gutter at home for freshly blossoming trees and flowers, and it’s just wild how everything, weather, time, etc. gets literally turned upside down. My brain is feeling it right now. Looking forward to a great 10 days of seeing the South Island (with a few presentations mixed in.)

New Zealand has a literacy rate of 99%, and in that context, I found the Times’ newest installment in its series “The Future of Reading” to be especially relevant. I guess my first reaction is why do we need to “[Use] Video Games as Bait to Hook Readers” when some parts of the world are obviously doing fine with pretty much just that book thing. (But then again, we seem to be falling on some difficult times in a number of different areas these days.) While the article does a good job of reviewing the complexities of trying to figure out just what kind of role gaming can play in reading, what really jumped out at me was near the end when games were described as a “gateway drug for literacy.” Seems that kids who are engaged in games read blogs and boards about the games and even start to write about them. Love this quote from a parent:

“I was so surprised because he does not like writing,” said William Tropp, Noah’s father. “I said, ‘Why aren’t you like this in school?’ ”

The obvious answer is because in school, Noah doesn’t get to learn reading and writing in the context of the things he’s passionate about. And in that respect, if games are a way to get kids engaged in words, great. I guess I wonder how much of a connection there really is in that regard, and how we would be able to create that connection in classrooms even if it does exist.

Anyway, just some tired thinking at 4 am EST…or 9 pm NZ time.