We’re So Demanding

and that’s a good thing…

I still remember the meetings and planning for the end of the world.

I think that it was in the release of Window XP that Microsoft included versions of Solitaire and Minesweeper.  When we first got a computer with XP installed for evaluation, we couldn’t get away from it.  The cards, in Solitaire, were so incredibly well designed and displayed on the screen.  Plus, the animation at the end of the game when we won could keep us fascinated for hours.

But back to seriousness, we had to review the applications that would be installed on the image and then deployed to a system.  Do we include these games or not?  How would we ever get students on task?  Will teachers and administrators do their jobs or would they be aiming for high scores?  It was just a silly conversation.

What brought all this back to mind this morning was reading this story “The best blackjack apps for iPhone“.  Isn’t Blackjack just the game of 21?  That led me to wonder what’s happening in the Solitaire world.  “Solitaire Online”  Good gravy.  Have we lost our collective minds by taking awesome childhood games and putting them online?

Then the programming mind in me clicked in.  

“We just don’t create Solitaire.”  

“We create a better Solitaire experience.”

and we’re all the better for the great design and programming minds behind this.

Those of us who are long in the keyboard remember Visicalc.  In a world where we loudly proclaim “game changer”, this truly was a game changer.  It changed everything I ever thought I knew about marks recording, for example.  I could immediately sit with a student and do the math – “What if I don’t hand in this assignment?  How much would 100% on this test change my overall mark?”.  I even wrote an article about how to set up a gradebook in Visicalc.  Now, the basic premise is standard logic for many elementary school students.  Plus, they’ll create pie charts to visualize the results.  I couldn’t do that with the technology of the time.

Why is this important?

In a world of self-proclaimed life-long learners, how many are ready and prepared to throw out the old and embrace the new?  Pick any discipline and compare the start of the art today to how it was done even five years ago.  We are demanding, constantly pushing forward and it’s a good thing.  If you subscribe to the notion of a growth mindset, sit back and take a look around you right now.  Are you practising it with your deeds?

A couple of post scripts…

1)  You can still get Solitaire, Mindsweeper, and Hearts for Windows 8!  Get them here.

2)  Technology may not always get you where you need or want to be.  There’s more to playing games than playing the game.  Brandon Grasley visits the classics here.

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2 thoughts on “We’re So Demanding

  1. Minesweeper and Solitaire are educational games. We used to call them “mouse practice” though of course that was back when mice on computers were a new thing.

    Like

  2. Pingback: OTR Links 04/15/2015 | doug — off the record

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