Recently on The Late Show with David Letterman, comedian and entertainer Louis C.K. criticized standardized testing and the Common Core Standards.
“My kids used to love math. Now it makes them cry. Thanks standardized testing and common core!” he tweeted .
On The Late Show, Louis continued. “The tests are written by people nobody knows who they are. It’s very secretive…. They [teachers and students] prepare for these tests for a long time. A lot of the year is about the test. Teaching to the test they call it.”
Now, using Louis C.K.’s recent statements in their talks, the Finnish company that created Angry Birds is working to make learning more fun.
Rovio Entertainment is working on the new early childhood program called Angry Birds Playground, based on the Finnish national curriculum for Kindergarten for ages 3 to 6. The program would focus more on free play and exercise, as well as technological tools and a reconfigured learning environment, all while using some of the popular Angry Birds characters.
Education expert Professor Angela Mcfarlane says that many games, such as Angry Birds, are complex and require deep learning to solve them.
“There are many computer games that require quite deep learning to master the games,” she said. “Some of that learning applies beyond games to wider life, such as concentration, problem solving, and resilience – important life skills. Anyone who has tried to play complex video games will know they are difficult.”
On Monday, executives from Rovio Entertainment spoke at an event at the Finnish Embassy in Washington, D.C. about the danger of squelching creativity through too much testing.
It is no secret that Finland looks at learning differently. Focusing more on fun learning and motivating students, Finnish schools have done away with drill strategies, national testing, and long school days. Compulsory schooling doesn’t even begin until age seven.
“In Finland, we definitely believe that it is good to get started at the age of 7,” said Krista Kiuru, Finnish minister of education and science. “We have a lot of research showing that starting school earlier does not bring better results.
“But we have quite a strong day-care system that starts at an early age,” she added. “And we have preschool starting at the age of 6. Right now, 98 percent of kids take part in preschool, and soon it will become compulsory for all kids … because we see that we get better results in elementary school when children go to preschool.”
In fact, Finland guarantees equal and universal day care for children, subsidized according to how much income a family makes. Also, day-care teachers must have a bachelor’s degree while teachers in elementary and secondary and upper-secondary school have master’s degrees.
“We have to wake [students] up in a different way,” Kiuru said, referring to using technology more effectively. “We don’t want schools to be like airlines: ‘Please turn off all your digital devices.’ Then after seven hours, you can get them back again.”
Angry Birds, in its many variations, has been downloaded more than 2 billion times.
Image via YouTube