If you read our blog post about incorporating games into the classroom, you know how beneficial hands-on active learning can be. Games can help develop a student’s capacity for three-dimensional thinking, problem-solving, and creativity. Here is one very important and meaningful game you can add to your classroom courtesy of the New York Times – Gauging Your Distraction.
This browser-based game shows how a player’s reaction time while driving is affected by a very distracting cell phone. The player uses the number keys to drive a tollroad, passing through open gates and changing lanes–all easy stuff at first. Then your cell phone starts getting all kinds of messages that must be replied to using your mouse and clicking on each individual letter on the phone’s keyboard. The result? A lot of changing lanes at the last minute and missing the open gates on the road.
When the game is over, the user gets a score page with stats and graphs on their reaction times while texting. The user can compare their stats with an average user’s reaction time. The Times also includes a very important disclaimer at the top of the screen: “Regardless of your results, experts say, you should not attempt to text when driving.”
On the results page, you can also find links to more resources for students, including a fact sheet from the National Safety Council and some very frightening statistics about distracted driving. Cell phone use while driving contributes to an estimated 6 percent of all crashes and 2,600 deaths each year! Consider adding this important–and potentially life-saving–game into your driver’s education or homeroom curriculum.