Keeping up with the various themed history months during the year created something of a backlog on other posts here at Mark’s Text Terminal, including this one, which has lingered as a draft for months. A few years ago my Hampshire College pal Gil Roth interviewed, for his podcast The Virtual Memories Show (and if you visit Gil’s site, you’ll see that he has built up an extraordinary archive of shows), a high school friend of his, Matthew Farber, who wrote a book on using video games in the classroom. Mr. Farber was a middle school social studies teacher in New Jersey at the time of the interview posted here, and evidently a talented one at that. He is now Professor Matthew Farber at the University of Northern Colorado.
If you’re interested in his work, here is a link to Matthew Farber’s interview on how he gamified his classroom and how you can too. If you’re interested in his book itself, you can find it here.
Here in New York City, we teachers are vassals to the educational publishers, the tests they make, and the unimaginative bureaucrats who push them on us. So we have next to no latitude to try innovative educational strategies like those Mr. Farber discusses so articulately and passionately. Indeed, while imagination and innovation get talked about in this school system, they are seldom or never actually deployed in the service of teaching and learning.