Gove ups his game

How the story wasn’t reported in the Daily Mail

Now you might be forgiven for thinking that this is nice Mr Gove’s proposal for a new immigration policy, but you’d be wrong… The even more alarming truth though is that the press has been alive today with reports of nice Mr Gove surprising us all by finally admitting that computer games can be good for you:

“When children need to solve equations in order to get more ammo to shoot the aliens, it is amazing how quickly they can learn. I am sure that this field of educational games has huge potential for maths and science teaching and Marcus (Du Sautoy) himself has been thinking about how he might be able to create games to introduce advanced concepts, such as non-Euclidean geometry, to children at a much earlier stage than normal in schools.”

Now the first question this raises is who on earth is Marcus Sautoy, how long has he been working in the Computer Games industry, and will he be able to create the highly sophisticated levels of immersive interactivity that will persuade virtual street-wise kids to spend their time learning about non-Euclidean geometry? OK, well that turned out to be three questions, but who’s counting?

So the answer to Question 1, with acknowledgements to Wikipedia, is:

Marcus Peter Francis du Sautoy OBE (born in London, 26 August 1965)[3] is the Simonyi Professor for the Public Understanding of Science and a Professor of Mathematics at the University of Oxford. Formerly a Fellow of All Souls College, and Wadham College, he is now a Fellow of New College. He is currently an EPSRC Senior Media Fellow and was previously a Royal Society University Research Fellow. His academic work concerns mainly group theory and number theory. In October 2008, he was appointed to the Simonyi Professorship for the Public Understanding of Science, succeeding the inaugural holder Richard Dawkins.[4] His surname is pronounced “doo’sohtoy” (stressing the second syllable).

Moving on to Question 2 – How long has he been working in the computer games industry:
Seemingly not very long at all, especially if his website is anything to go by:

http://people.maths.ox.ac.uk/dusautoy/flash/flashindex.htm

He doesn’t seem to have much experience of inner-city classroom teaching either.

And finally, Question 3 – will be succeed:
Extremely unlikely, and even less so if Mr Gove eventually succeeds on banning mobile phones in the classroom, in which case students will presumably only be able to access these stunning new games on their yellowing, retro stand-alone-in-the-IT-suite PCs.

Meanwhile, one day I wonder if there will be a series of games that Mr Gove has decided to officially endorse? If so they might become known as ‘Gove Games‘? As students probably would end up doing, I did a search for Gove Games, and it took me to a site for a game called ‘Governor of Poker’ – now there’s a game that really might get kids learning.

Oh and by the way, in case you were wondering but didn’t like to ask, Non-Euclidean geometry is the study of shapes and constructions that do not map directly to any n-dimensional Euclidean system, characterized by a non-vanishing Riemann curvature tensor. Examples of non-Euclidean geometries include the hyperbolic and elliptic geometry, which are contrasted with a Euclidean geometry.

Some links discussing this subject further:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/gamesblog/2011/jul/05/michael-gove-games-education?CMP=twt_fd

http://www.linkedin.com/groupItem?view=&gid=3141501&type=member&item=60613605&commentID=44167105&report.success=8ULbKyXO6NDvmoK7o030UNOYGZKrvdhBhypZ_w8EpQrrQI-BBjkmxwkEOwBjLE28YyDIxcyEO7_TA_giuRN#commentID_44167105

One comment on “Gove ups his game

  1. I would point All Change Please in the direction of MyMaths – the non-yellowing but fairly retro maths subscription website that is the joy of maths teachers and the terror of educational publishers everywhere. I think the estimate is that 75% of secondary maths depts have a subscription and a major hook to all this success is the maths game approach of the type of which Mr Gove speaks.

    And as to Marcus du Sautoy, I would have bet my eye teeth (those that remain) that All Change Please was a Radio 4 listener/BBC 4 watcher: it is impossible to go more than 15 minutes on either of these media without Mr d.S. making mathematics accessible at you. He might not be a computer games expert, but he is allowed, surely, to have a think about how Duke Nukem could take on Duke Euclid?

    My daughter, I have to say, makes me do the maths questions on Moshi Monsters. It’s been quite good for my mental arithmetic actually: almost as good as Brain Trainer on the DS. Maybe I am ready for Govenor of Poker after all…

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