Games!

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We talk to our phones. Our phones talk back. My phone will happily provide me with all kinds of advice and information.

My phone will also allow me to play endless games, timed and untimed, alone and in groups. I gave my advisory a free day and watched as five of them played a game together, each on their own phone, in a mysterious competition with crashing cars. The phones find each other, linking the players together.

Many readers understand this perfectly, of course.

I’m not sure how many readers understand the temptation these games pose, though. I watched as my Jehovah’s Witness, a serious boy who would not accept pagan Halloween candy because of its tainted associations, joined in the game. This boy did homework almost daily. He had been known to read the Bible when he had no work. I watched him smile and laugh as he crashed cars.

I’m pretty sure Jehovah Witness’s mom would not have approved of that day’s activity. I am also sure that this boy has played a lot of group games under the radar. He didn’t ask for any help getting set up.

Gaming does not steal nearly as many minutes from learning as texting does — it’s too obvious — but it’s still a problem. Plenty of one-player game options exist. Students have said to me, “Please, just let me finish the game. I’m almost done,” as if this is a reasonable request. Or, “C’mon, I’m close to my highest score ever!”

Eduhonesty: If we want to improve America’s test scores, we had better begin to ban or block phones. They are too tempting.