Press-Republican

Columns

May 13, 2012

Technology can be double-edged sword

The main title immediately caught my eye: "The Hyperaddictive, Time-Sucking, Relationship-Busting, Mind-Crushing Power and Allure of Silly Digital Games." But the alternate title, "Just One More Game ... Angry Birds, Farmville and Other Hyperaddictive 'Stupid Games'" clinched the deal.

I had to read the article in the April 4, 2012, edition of the New York Times Magazine by Sam Anderson (http://tinyurl.com/blmp3hn).

I was hooked because I've always had this love/fear relationship with games, and especially computer games. The attraction came from the addiction, and so did the fear.

In 1982, I presented a paper at the National Education Computer Conference in Kansas City entitled "A Call for the Study of Computer Games," in which I attempted to make a positive case for them — they improve eye-hand coordination, thus improving the chances of your son growing up to be a fighter pilot — and to try to categorize them according to their structure (learning games for teaching, reading or math; board games like chess and checkers; adventure games like Dungeons and Dragons, etc.). Nowadays, there are games and simulations that are smarter, faster and prettier.

Back then, the most interesting and exciting computer games existed in video arcades in malls. I fed many a quarter into single-purpose computing machines that allowed me to play Space Invaders and Asteroids (Pac Man never grabbed me). As computer technology improved and became less costly, these and newer games migrated to personal computers made by IBM, Radio Shack, Apple and Microsoft.

By this time, I was wary of the seductive power of computer games. As a graduate student in the mid-'70s at the University of Massachusetts, I designed and developed a Computer Managed Instruction system pretentiously named "ACCOLADE" — An Alternative Curriculum for Computer Literacy Development. Definitions of "computer literacy" can range from "the ability to tell a computer from a horse" to "highly developed skills in the art of programming, plus broad and deep knowledge in the areas of history, applications, social issues, hardware and software." I chose the latter.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • clute_cropped.jpg When children are put at risk

    Adults who deal drugs, commit domestic violence and other crimes with kids present are guilty of yet another crime, writes columnist Penny Clute.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • ouellette.jpg Web doctor always gets it right

    I have access to the collected medical knowledge of all recorded history at my fingertips, columnist Steve Ouellette writes.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Airport projects can benefit local economy

    Using a local workforce keeps wages and spending in the community if it can be done in a cost-effective manner, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Producers can recycle tubing

    Project allows maple-syrup makers to conveniently dispose of their used tubing in an environmentally friendly way, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg Easter with doubters and the 'nones'

    Should more pastors ask this blunt question: "Do you really believe Jesus was raised from the dead?" wonders religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Canadiens are Canada's team

    The National Hockey League playoffs are underway, and for Canadiens fans, many of whom likely reside in the Montreal "suburb" of Plattsburgh, it is a time of hope and joy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • little_mug.jpg There's no saw like an old saw Kaye and I laughed ourselves silly the other day as we tried to top each other with our own sayings from childhood, columnist Gordie Little writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Denenberg_Stu1.jpg Privacy concerns make a comeback

    There's a growing concern amongst the millennials, columnist Stu Denenberg writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg Several options exist for downtown

    Pedestrian mall just one idea that could be good for city's economic future, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Government can't create success on its own

    It takes a grass-roots community effort of people working together to assure future accomplishment, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

Peter Black: Canadian Dispatch

Lois Clermont, Editor

Cornell Cooperative Extension

Richard Gast: Cornell Ag Extension

Bob Grady

Guest Columns

Peter Hagar: Cornell Ag Connection

Health Advice

Ray Johnson: Climate Science
Gordie Little: Small Talk

Terry Mattingly: On Religion

Steve Ouellette: You Had To Ask

Colin Read: Everybody's Business

Pinch of Time