Currently Albuquerque, New Mexico parents are in an uproar over a PC game designed to teach math to students at Madison Middle School--one of three Albuquerque Public Schools that's using the high-action PC game which is fully-funded by a grant from the Department of Defense.
According to the school's science department head Gary Bodman, the game--DimensionM (multiplayer) from Tabula Digita-- is "something that [is] just like a 21-century flash card," covering math subjects ranging from basic properties to algebra.
Doesn't sound harmful, right? After all, it's backed by the government. It's also not designed to replace the teacher, but rather to reinforce what the students have already learned in class. They get to use jetpacks, shoot a green goo gun (ripped from UT series), and endure plenty of math-charged action that is apparently doing the trick.
But local Albuquerque parents don't see it that way. They're complaining about the game's action-oriented content, and are starting a crusade to get it banned from the schools.
"We are feeding the addiction of these children to video games," said one parent. "They were all excited … because of the violence."
One comment from a student could be a prime example of the parents' concern. "I don't like to leave," the student said. "If I could have a choice to play this night and day, all summer, I would play it every day." On the other hand, the student also said that he had no idea what prime numbers were until he got a chance to play DimensionM.
"What the recall is, is not the prime number they were talking about, but rather getting through to the enemy," the same parent retaliated.
Despite recent protests, DimensionM has been around for many years, played by students all across the nation. There are even large-scale tournaments where students get together and battle it out in the name of math. Starting a crusade against the game may be a little moot at this point.
"Anything we can do to meet the kids on their own grounds and educate them is to our advantage," Bodman added. Interested parents and educators can download a demo that is playable on the Internet.