Stuck in the Middle: The Competitive Side of Gaming
At North Saanich, we open the computer lab during non-instructional times on Tuesdays and Thursdays at lunch and recess. At these times the lab is buzzing with excited students, the majority of whom are boys, playing games like Simcity and Minecraft. It is a very safe place for students and we have very few problems with behavior, so it would make sense to have it open every day.
In fact, we only open the computer lab two days a week for a reason. Many of our students are creatures of habit and routine, and thus we want these students to also go outside and socialize away from the computers. Computers and screen technology are great for stimulating brain activity and connections, but it needs to be done in moderation so that we can help develop well balanced young people.
We also know that on weekends many of our students are gaming for recreation and relaxation. At school, we have a natural opportunity to connect them to other activities and peers. We believe strongly that this keeps them healthier and happier.
This past week one of our regular gamers tried to sneak into the school 10 minutes early. If students want to come into the school before 8:45 AM in the morning we allow them to go to class to get some work completed. If it is during the last 15 minutes, there is not enough time to get any valuable work complete, so we ask them to stay outside or sit in the MPR to socialize or play.
When I stopped this young man and inquired about where he was going he told me, “I have to get a book from my locker.” He gave me a pleading and urgent look, “it’s important.”
“Come on.” I replied, “I have known you since you were in kindergarten and I have never seen reading a book for pleasure.”
“That is true, but the book is not for me,” he explained. “It is for a friend.”
Skeptically I asked, “Why does your friend need the book right now?”
“Because he lost a bet.” He replied. “And he has to pay up.”
He could tell I was puzzled so he continued, “Let me explain. We were gaming online through our Xboxes this weekend, and we decided to make a wager. The loser has to read a book and I need to get the book so I can start making him read.”
So my question for the boys would be, “Who really is the winner of this bet?” As Mark Twain said, “The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.” I hope that while paying off his gaming debt he develops the habit and love of reading for pleasure!
At North Saanich Middle School we do not usually condone betting unless the payoff is reading.
Go Hawks and keep paying off your gaming debts.
Most popular games currently being played at NSMS:
Top books for gamers from our LC:
Diary of a Minecraft Zombie
Also...check out this link for other cool age appropriate games: