Last Thursday, President Obama participated in a Google+ Fireside Hangout where he was asked about the influence game-producing technology has, and should have, on education. You can watch the entire Hangout above, but relevant content starts at about 27:40.
When asked for his opinion including a computer programming language requirement for students across the nation, the president vocalized his clear support. “I think it makes sense,” he agreed. “I really do.”
Part of what I’m trying to do here is to make sure we’re working with high schools and school districts all across country to make the high school experience relevant for young people, not all who are going to get a four year degree or advanced degree. I think that the concept of vocational school education got a bad rep at a certain point… those [goals] have eroded.
He explains that engaging young people with technology in video-game making increases their interest in other valuable skills.
“You look at someone like Mark Zuckerberg, and he taught himself programming, primarily because he was interested in games. And there are a whole bunch of young people out there I suspect who, if in high school, are given the opportunity to figure out ‘here’s how you can design your own games’, but it requires you to know math, and it requires you to know science, or ‘here’s what a career in graphic design looks like,’ …we’re going to start setting those programs in our high schools–not waiting until college–then you can intern. Not only to prepare young people who may choose to not go to a four-year college to be job-ready,” he said, “but it also engages kids. They feel like ‘I get this, this is not just me sitting there slouching in the back of the room while somebody’s lecturing.'”
What with all of the general political hullabaloo regarding video games these days, the president asserts that the value of games is in the technological education.
“I think given how pervasive computers and the internet is now, and how fascinated kids are with it, I want to make sure that they know how to actually produce stuff using computers, and not simply consume stuff.“