BBC: Games find home in the classroom

FutureLab is a UK organization trying to "accelerate educational innovation" through the use of technology.

Here’s a BBC story about it:

Video games could soon be transplanted from their natural habitat to the more academic atmosphere of the classroom.

With violent titles continuing to top the charts, gaming
and learning have not always sat well together but the tide could be
beginning to turn.

Recent research by the London Institute of Education concluded that games have a valid place in the classroom.

"Games teach life skills such as decision making, problem solving," said Martin Owen, at Futurelab.

Mr Owen said games could also help children make quick assessments of situations and learning by trial and error. …

What FutureLab is doing certainly sounds like valuable research, especially if it gives some strong data (finally) on how/if computer technology really can improve education.  This games effort sounds like a lot of puffery, though (at least from the BBC story) — "feedback from students has been positive", it satisfies "children’s desire to rise to a challenge."  That doesn’t sound like much in the way of evidence that learning is improved.

Computer TakeBack Campaign

This campaign seeks to improve the recycling practices of computer manufacturers (Apple in particular).

From an AP story about it:

Environmentalists with the Computer TakeBack Campaign are planning a
yearlong campaign to protest Apple’s lackluster recycling efforts.
Despite drizzle on Tuesday at the annual Macworld Conference &
Expo, activists passed out leaflets and erected a giant banner
proclaiming, “from iPod to iWaste.”

Environmentalists said they’re targeting Apple
because the hardware and software company makes it difficult to replace
batteries in its digital music players, and it charges many consumers
$30 to recycle their unused or broken computers and laptops.

know consumers won’t pay 30 bucks to get rid of something they think is
junk,” said Robin Schneider, executive director of the Austin,
Texas-based Texas Campaign for the Environment. …

Related: here’s a Computer Recycling and Reuse FAQ from TechSoup.