Readers React

History classes don't need to be 'gamified'

To the editor: The article describing some students at Venice High School playing games to access world history saddens those who believe history need not be "gamified," put online to download and reduced in scope to stimulate thought and engagement in classrooms. ("L.A. Unified adopts free history curriculum from Stanford University," Nov. 26)

To the generalist, the lesson presented — in which students play the role of history detective — appeared captivating. A keen eye, however, would recognize that a lesson presented for nearly five days has to come at the expense of learning many other standards and eras. Without a textbook, who would know that other eras were deleted and not being taught?

History methodology revisionists argue that "less is more," and they are right with respect to deepening engagement. But unfortunately they often inadvertently diminish content and scope in service to their hip methods.

Sadly for students, educational fads often repeat themselves as history does: the first time as a tragedy and the second time as farce.

David Tokofsky, Los Angeles

The writer, a former California Teacher of the Year, was a member of the Los Angeles Unified School District Board of Education for 12 years.

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