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Great Matt Chat as usual. Very interesting to see you expand the boundaries of Matt Chat to include things not explicitly about videogames. Clearly the "Choose-Your-Own-Adventure" series is not a videogame series, but there's absolutely crossover appeal.
Did you do the CYOA "book montage" video clip yourself, or was that professionally done by the publisher? It was just very slick!
Pretty much all the "geek" kids read these "Choose Your Own Adventure" books back in the day, including myself. If you played D&D, you also read these books, with almost no exceptions that I recall. In fact, it didn't even occur to me that these were educational tools; they were just great fun to read!
Inspired by the CYOA series, I even wrote a few simple ones myself back in the day, and even wrote a computer version on the Atari 8-bit. I could write "literature," but I couldn't program an adventure "parser" system, so the CYOA format made for an easy transition to the computer with my limited programming skills.
Okay... now for the more philosophical side of Mr. Montgomery's interview. I think there's a significant portion of kids who are otherwise underachievers that can be reached by Montgomery's approach, and I've believed it as far back as I remember. This ties into Matt Barton's recent thread here on Real vs. Virtual, which asks the question "how do we make the 'real world' more fun, and more productive as a consequence?" School is primarily rote learning, which is generally boring enough, but the American public school system compounds the problem by gearing the learning pace towards slower learners.
Alas, I think it's too late to save American kids on the whole. It will be up to dedicated parents to keep their own kids up to par, but it seems our society pushes "celebrity" far more than it does achievement. Montgomery's philosophies and books are noble, righteous, and admirable, but there is an extreme uphill battle at best. In the mean time, whole generations of kids (and not just in America) are being lost to the rote-learning-only grind.
I'm sure Mr. Barton, being an instructor himself, will wildly disagree (perhaps to the point of offense) with my dismal assessment of the results of our public school system, but that's how it appears to me.
I could say more, but you get the idea.
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