Sunday, August 26, 2007

Charles Nesson

I just can't help but wonder whether this Charles Nesson guy is just nuts. Maybe not, maybe he's just a fan of payola or something. He's sure making a big play for attention.
Harvard Law School professor Charles Nesson will announce an international effort to organize "poker strategic thinking societies" at universities and secondary schools around the world that will use poker as an educational tool to teach everything from basic life skills to war games at military colleges.

Being a teacher at Harvard does not preclude you from being nuts. It's something of a haven for nutcases. So let's don't automatically assume Nesson is sane and rational just becuase he has tenure at a Harvard professional school.

Poker can be an effective tool for teaching. When I used to teach undergrad courses in stat methods I'd often use poker hands as an example for simple problems in counting combinations or simple probabilities. My sister teaches 3rd grade and she tells me that some of her students use their free play period to play poker among themselves (she doesn't teach it to them, they've learned it from watching TV).

But using poker as a central organizing concept for education? I'm not so sure that falls into under the completely sane column. There is some evidence Nesson has a name as something of a gadfly at HLS.

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