Reading, writing, gaming | Education, teaching, ideas |

After 10 mindless weeks of Rat On A Snowboard, Fruit Ninja HD, Triple Town, Presidents vs. Aliens, Where's My Water? and To-Fu 2, our bored little gamins - gamers all - finally are going back to school.

What they will find there this fall are saintly but overstressed teachers, tubs of crayons, printed worksheets and dog-eared texts: relics of an analogue age, tools of instruction barely altered since the Greeks.

Among the sylphs whose cerebrums have been powered-down since June - except for the occasional click on MathBlaster or JumpStart - is my own daughter. Lizzie started second grade in Maryland on Monday, ready or not.

Confronted by this dichotomy - classical learning in the schoolhouse, an unquenchable yearning to diddle away vacation days playing video games on the iPad - a father looks to the experts to tell him about his child's digital destiny. But an afternoon with people who are doing some Big Thinking about the role of video games in elementary education leaves all of us scratching our heads.

The setting is a Washington think-tank called the New America Foundation. The session is entitled What Kids' Gaming, Tweeting, Streaming and Sharing Tells Us About the Future of Elementary Ed.

The panellists are a second-grade teacher from a Manhattan private school, a couple of fellows of the foundation, and a woman named Alice Wilder who helped to write a popular television program for preschoolers called Blue's Clues.

Via Charles Tiayon