Phi Beta Cons

Macabre Pedagogy

Doug Thomas, a professor at the University of Southern California, has created a video game for students aged 10-12 aiming to impart “ideas and skills not found in traditional textbooks.” As Deborah Lambert notes:

His game, Modern Prometheus, uses the story of Frankenstein to teach “ethical decision-making” by having the player “assume the role of Dr. Frankenstein’ assistant, who is forced to make a series of difficult choices that impact the game’s outcome.”
The assistants soon discovers a macabre element to the game, i.e. when they are forced into several dilemmas like deciding if they should steal body parts from a cemetery in order to help cure a widespread plague.

With all the electronic distractions around , we all understand the difficulty of getting students’ attention, not to mention teaching them right from wrong. But stealing body parts from the dead? Doesn’t the ingenious professor worry about giving kids nightmares?

Candace de Russy is a nationally recognized expert on education and cultural issues.

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