Thursday, August 30, 2007

Current book list

Been reading "What Video Games Have to Teach us about Learning and Literacy" by James Paul Gee, and it's quite good. (A bit technical with cognitive theory, or at least that's where I think the jargon is coming from, though.) Interested in education and videogames, then this is the book for you.

Also listening to Runes of the Earth by Stephen Donaldson in the car. I have to say, it's disappointing. (It's a followup to the two Thomas Covenant chronicles, btw.) Partly, it's clearly not a book that reads out loud well, and partly, the heroine is whiny and stupid and I can't stand her. Maybe if I appreciated emo angsty indecision with occasional bursts of resolve which last about a minute before despondency descends once more into the depths of her heart...that's what it reads like.

Once I'm done with that, I'll pursue other fantasy worlds: I've got Pullman's Amber Spyglass on tap, as well as Gaiman's Anansi Boys.

I also need to get back to Lisa Delpit's Other People's Children, because it offers a strong contrast, it seems, to the "active, critical, self-directed learning" notions that seem all the rage. This book concentrates on language and literacy (as does Gee's book, somewhat) -- I think that math genuinely has some issues of its own. In particular, Gee's book very much promotes the idea of real examples over broad generalizations and abstract notions. But, in a real sense, math is the science of abstract deduction. The whole POINT is it's about those ethereal abstract concepts (like number, shape, and function). Should we teach even deduction inductively? Maybe so, but I feel the case has to be made.

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