Gaming to re-engage boys in learning: Ali Carr-Chellman on

Posted by: Matthew Trost

At TEDxPSU, Ali Carr-Chellman pinpoints three reasons boys are tuning out of school in droves, and lays out her bold plan to re-engage them: bringing their culture into the classroom, with new rules that let boys be boys, and video games that teach as well as entertain. (Recorded at TEDxPSU, October 2010 at Penn State University, PA. Duration: 12:30)

Watch Ali Carr-Chellman’s talk on where you can download it, rate it, comment on it and find other talks and performances from our archive of 800+ TEDTalks.

Comments (15)

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  • Charles Xander commented on Apr 12 2013

    The primary issue with our education system in its girl-centric notion of listening rather than doing. There is an excessive emphasis on pointless coursework rather than subjects like science or math. Logical subjects and sports are what most boys are attracted to and our education system has devalued them. Boys learn by doing; they want want agency, input, control over what they are doing.

    The marginalization of boys is far more damaging than one is lead to believe. You are killing innovation, scientific advancement and progress.
    We’ve known since the beginning of more than a decade of cognitive science research that males are more resourceful, have higher IQ on average and they think more with their grey matter (which is essential for logical thinking). At higher IQ brackets, it’s almost exclusively dominated by men. This is why most mathematical, scientific and artistic geniuses are men.

    In gender-neutral aptitude tests, males on average score 70 points higher in Maths, Physics and Engineering (Benbow, C.P. 1998). At scores above 700, the ratio can be as high as 16:1, males:females (Geary, D. 1996). More reference: (Schiff, W. and Oldak, R. 1990), (Galea, L.A.M. and Kimura, D. 1993)(Voyer, D. et al. 1995), (Collins, D.W. and Kimura, D. 1997), (Kimura, D. 1999), (Baron-Cohen, 2000-2012).

    Nobels are won by the brilliant and the inventive. Even Einstein got mediocre grades in schools.

    We need to rekindle the boys and in doing so, rekindle human advancement.

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  • commented on Jan 31 2011

    Separated schools for boys and for girls ?

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  • Eileen Paulin commented on Jan 25 2011

    Oh how I hope that many parents of young boys have the opportunity to watch this talk. My son is now 22 years old, and I am seeing this about 15 years too late.

  • Horst JENS commented on Jan 20 2011

    I like this video.
    Good games do not necessarily have to cost a lot (for the consumer), there is a growing amount of open-source games to be found in the internet, often re-makes of classical “good” commercial games made by fans.
    Lot’s of educational games that i know do not suffer only by small development budget but by not being interesting at all: it’s often basically a text book inside a “game” box – how much fun ist that ?
    Good games can teach you a lot about classic school topics. More important, good games can make you interested in such topics. For example, take the classic “civilisation” (or freeciv) game series – never intended to be an educational games. Imagine what an history teacher could do by including this game into his courses !

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  • Mimi Meredith commented on Jan 14 2011

    I find the zero tolerance policies to be one of the most short sighted approaches our educational systems have taken in generations. Why schools be administered from a platform of common sense, civility (teaching it and modeling it) and understanding? But lest I get off on that rant, let me add there were many, many other points in this TEDtalk that resonated with me as well. As the mother of two boys and a girl, I can testify to the differences with which they embrace the current education model and to the ways they were/are treated by it. I attribute chapters of my boys success specifically to outstanding (mostly male but a few great women who happened to be moms of boys!) teachers who gave them a place they were understood. If the gaming improvements (Call of Duty and WOW meets Jump Start Third Grade–what an awesome collaboration!) can be part of the solution, let’s get started!