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Education Games

How To Fix The Shortage of K-5 Scholastic Chess Facilitators 128

theodp writes The good news, writes Michael Thomas, is that wired kids are learning chess at an unprecedented rate. Young children learning chess from tablets can quickly become more knowledgeable than their parents. But the bad news, laments Thomas, is there is so much demand for scholastic chess that there are not enough experienced chess facilitators to go around. Could technology like RFID-tagged chess pieces or services like be employed to referee second-grader chess matches, Thomas wonders, or are more well-meaning-but-not-necessarily-expert human facilitators — a la T-ball coaches — the answer?
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How To Fix The Shortage of K-5 Scholastic Chess Facilitators

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 13, 2014 @11:15PM (#47446269)

    Every minute playing chess would be better spent learning about algorithms, computer programming, or biology.

    The last thing any parent or teacher should do is encourage playing chess at any serious level. It's like encouraging people to compute logarithms or trigonometric functions longhand on paper; there's some initial benefit in learning some abstract ideas, but then it's just mechanics. And the same is true for chess, and computers have established this in a dramatic way, by showing that simple but fast and deep searches with very simple heuristics can beat any human who has ever lived. A $0.50 pocket calculator can bet any human at the sine function game!

    The argument made in that article that chess is somehow good for the goals of "STEM" makes me laugh out loud, but simultaneously weep that the idea was proposed with apparent sincerity...

  • by quietwalker ( 969769 ) <> on Sunday July 13, 2014 @11:58PM (#47446459)

    Do we really need to promote chess playing to a group of imaginative, energetic children who have just barely grasped the concept of role-taking, and are only barely ready to understand - much less compete in - competitive or team sports? Did they do something to earn this sort of punishment? Are these sort of felons?

    Don't get me wrong; I was in a "Chess and Tactical Games Club" when I was in Highschool. We played warhammer 40k with minatures, star trek combat on a hex map that looked like a starscape, and recreated WW2 naval battles in the gym with wood blocks, marked ropes and protractors, played Risk and Axis & Allies. We even played a few economic simulator games.

    However, I can't remember playing a single game of chess. This is largely because playing a game where a turn took an hour and a half was more fun than playing chess, and that's coming from a highschool geek back when the term meant something.

    My guess is that there's only a perceived shortage of k-5 scholastic chess facilitators, rather, if the number is higher than 1, we probably have more than we ought.

  • by Paradise Pete ( 33184 ) on Monday July 14, 2014 @04:49AM (#47447191) Journal

    The argument made in that article that chess is somehow good for the goals of "STEM" makes me laugh out loud

    I have to agree with this. I was a successful player as a student; my high school team won the national championship, I won an individual state championship, and before this article I had no idea there was even anything called a "chess facilitator."
    Chess was not in any way a "gateway to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics." Other than the satisfaction and enjoyment of the chess itself, the one other thing it did for me later was give me a couple of big breaks in my career, as I unknowingly (at the time) impressed somebody during some casual games.
    Anything I learned about "science, technology, engineering and mathematics" I learned in spite of playing chess, not because of it.

Never worry about theory as long as the machinery does what it's supposed to do. -- R. A. Heinlein