Engaging students in the classroom isn't always easy, and there's no doubt that educators for decades have tried to find creative solutions to keeping kids excited about various topics. If any such educators are looking for suggestions, the NFL apparently has one. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, NFL chief marketing officer Mark Waller believes that injecting a little fantasy football into math classes could be beneficial for all parties.
"We want to make sure that at the younger age, there's a format for fantasy and a way to play that will allow you to engage. But also use it educationally. It's a complex game, fantasy. You should be able to learn a lot, particularly around math. How many points do I need? How many points does this player get? We're also trying to work with groups to get the concept of fantasy based into the curriculum of elementary schools. If you love football and you teach them math through football, the chances are you may teach them better math and more quickly."
Personal finance and taxes would also be useful applications to explore in math class, but what fun would that be? In the same interview, Waller points to a shift in the market for fantasy football users, and how the approach to marketing it has changed. The game is now more accessible to those same kids that could be debating the merits of Tony Romo vs. Nick Foles instead of diving into super boring nonsense like Euclid's Elements and Common Notions. The bottom line: The NFL is coming for the kids, even if it has to run through classroom walls like Jadeveon Clowney through an offensive line. And it's a smart, savvy business move.
"If you looked at the fantasy ads that we’re running at the moment — and they’re not targeted at kids — the nature of the ads are lighthearted and fun. If you go back in fantasy 10 years, the core proposition was that you need to be an avid expert and know these players inside out in order to play. Now the proposition is it’s fast and easy and you can do it on a mobile phone. You don’t need to be an expert and still have a lot of fun at it."
And learn about math while you do it! All snark aside, it's a bold idea and you can't blame the league for trying. But we're probably a long way from this being anything but the toughest of sells.
Moving on, one thing that's never a tough sell is the annual release of EA Sports' Madden video game series. But excited players have already discovered a bizarre glitch during the first week of playing, one that makes a player suddenly fly into the sky after being hit, in much the same way a bad guy in Grand Theft Auto goes flying into the sky after an explosion. It's not a very realitistic move in a football game, but it's still pretty entertaining.
Jeff Gordon is also pretty good at entertaining, and wasted no time taking advantage of Instagram's new hyperlapse feature to do so, spinning around the Martinsville track with his phone riding shotgun. It's a little dizzying, but a cool idea nonetheless.
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