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How the influential industry that produced such popular games as Oregon Trail and KidPix emerged from experimental efforts to use computers as tools in child-centered learning.Today, computers are part of kids' everyday lives, used both for play and for learning. We envy children's natural affinity for computers, the ease with which they click in and out of digital worlds.How the influential industry that produced such popular games as Oregon Trail and KidPix emerged from experimental efforts to use computers as tools in child-centered learning.Today, computers are part of kids' everyday lives, used both for play and for learning. We envy children's natural affinity for computers, the ease with which they click in and out of digital worlds. Thirty years ago, however, the computer belonged almost exclusively to business, the military, and academia. In Engineering Play, Mizuko Ito describes the transformation of the computer from a tool associated with adults and work to one linked to children, learning, and play. Ito gives an account of a pivotal period in the 1980s and 1990s, which saw the rise of a new category of consumer software designed specifically for elementary school-aged children. "Edutainment" software sought to blend various educational philosophies with interactive gaming and entertainment, and included such titles as Number Munchers, Oregon Trail, KidPix, and Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?.The children's software boom (and the bust that followed), says Ito, can be seen as a microcosm of the negotiations surrounding new technology, children, and education. The story she tells is both a testimonial to the transformative power of innovation and a cautionary tale about its limitations....

Title : Engineering Play: A Cultural History of Children's Software
Author :
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ISBN : 9780262013352
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 234 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Engineering Play: A Cultural History of Children's Software Reviews

  • Atul
    2018-10-28 05:07

    For me, this book is simultaneously insightful and nostalgic. I grew up playing games like "Where In The World is Carmen Sandiego", "The Castle of Dr. Brain", and "SimCity", so Ito's ethnographic coverage of kids at an after-school program who played such games reminded me of my own childhood, as viewed through the lens of a cultural anthropologist. For instance, while using SimCity's disasters to decimate a city was something I used to do as a kid, I'd always assumed it was a "bad" use of the game, but Ito actually interprets such actions in an entirely different way. The book doesn't just look at how kids play these games, though. It also examines, for instance, how the marketing of some of these games mobilized middle-class parental anxieties about achievement, or how the entrepreneurs who started educational game companies soon found themselves to be victims of their own success. Or how the entrenched agendas of educational institutions can sometimes work against learning instead of fostering it. The only thing I didn't like about the book is that because it's written for researchers, it can be a bit jargony at times. For instance, the first 20 pages or so are dedicated to explaining research methodology and what makes it different from other books in the field, which I wasn't terribly concerned with. Ultimately, though, this book was a pleasure to read, and was complex enough to warrant multiple readings. What's covered in here would probably be useful for parents, educators, game developers, entrepreneurs, cultural anthropologists, marketers, and anyone who, like me, once played these games as a kid.