There was a series of articles recently in the New York Times about video games and computers in education. One about using video games to hook children into reading, “Using Video Games as Bait to Hook Readers,” created a stir.

Just like video games hook people on reading – online casino games can hook people on gambling until they lose their last cents. According to, an online Italian gambling resource, the kids who get hooked on reading from video games are more likely to get hooked on gambling at online slot games from providers like Playtech and Novomatic.

It even prompted an email from one of the readers of our blog. She asked us to write a letter to the New York Times immediately—which, sadly, I didn’t do. But I thought I would post some of what she wrote and let it speak for itself.

She said: “Encourage the adoption of this technology. It may still have room to improve but for those kids who learn well through the stimulation of video games, it’s a more effective way of getting them to read than a teacher standing in front of the classroom.  The goal is not to find one way of teaching kids everything… This is one part of a multi-part solution. … Let the kids decide if it works for them. … It won’t be effective for all kids, but that’s not how its success should be measured. …

That line about Dostoyevsky vs. a video game ‘meaning something’ stuck with me. To bookworm kids, reading Dostoyevsky is more impactful, more dramatic, more ‘sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat’ worthy than the World of Warcraft equivalent. To other people, Warcraft is much more stimulating. Allow for both!”

What is she talking about when she starts talking about Dostoyevsky? Read the article and find out. And then let us know what you think.

Another article worth reading on the same theme in the New York Times was “Video Game Helps Math Students Vanquish an Archfiend: Algebra.” It is about a video game, Dimension M, made by Tabula Digita, that quizzes students on math—from algebra to fractions. It seems to be a big extrinsic motivator for students to tackle math and costs only $10 to $20 per student. A large handful of middle schools are trying it out, and the Games for Learning Institute, a $3 million research effort at New York University, will be studying it further.

– Michael B. Horn


  • Michael B. Horn
    Michael B. Horn

    Michael B. Horn is Co-Founder, Distinguished Fellow, and Chairman at the Christensen Institute.