Wouldn’t be nice to hear about some breaking news that is actually some good news? Check out this news release below by Columbia University, the New Learning Times and Modern Pinball NYC.

But first, have a look at the video.


NEW YORK, NY – BREAKING NEWS – Columbia University embraced Modern Pinball NYC’s education program and pinball physics class trip with an exclusive video produced by Columbia and disseminated to teachers and professors in their Teachers College. (Link to video below.)

Modern Pinball was recently the subject of an episode in “Seen In NY” – a series focusing on NYC-based education projects that are innovative and forward thinking. Seen In NY is produced by The New Learning Times (NLT), a Columbia University online publication that features current developments and future possibilities in education that make learning more accessible and powerful. It provides daily coverage of the transformation of learning opportunities in the information age for those shaping the future of education.

Steven Zahler, who developed the unique education program at Modern Pinball NYC that he co-founded, works with teachers to create a hands-on field trip for students, where they open up real working pinball machines to examine the changing technology, electromagnets, circuits, electricity, and physical properties operating above and below the playfield. It’s a way of hiding science in the game, he explains. And as predicted, once the students understand the properties at work, playing and learning become a lot more focused. . . and a lot more fun.

Featured in the video are ESL Teacher and Coordinator Debra Rymer and her two classes. In the words of Ms. Rymer, “I took 15 enthusiastic 4th and 5th grade students to Modern Pinball for a lesson on Pinball Physics. Before the trip, we read about simple machines, magnets, and gravity. When we got there, the kids ooohed and ahhhed as the pinball machine’s glass came off and they got to see inside as Mr. Zahler explained electromagnets, circuits and electricity to them in brief terms. Then, they got to pick from over two dozen machines to play for themselves before and after a pizza lunch. On the bus ride home, they wrote down the title and theme of their favorite machines and described them in specific terms, telling why they liked those particular machines. Our extension activity will be to design a pinball machine on paper. What a great, fun day. Thanks to all the folks at Modern Pinball NYC for their flexibility and hospitality.”

Modern Pinball is a registered vendor of the NYC Department of Education and hosts educational class trips for all grade levels. In October, they hosted the prestigious New York University (NYU). “I am so grateful to Ms. Rymer and her wonderful students for being a major part of this groundbreaking effort,” Zahler said.” During their first visit, Ms. Rymer provided her lesson plan and together we were able to create a custom curricula for her class that was informative, fun and engaging.”

Mr. Zahler went on to discuss Modern Pinball’s more recent education initiatives. “I can tell you the future of education is bright at Modern and we’re just getting started. We’re developing new programs and are proud to welcome Steve Marsh as one of our educators.” Mr. Marsh has a PhD in Science/Engineering (materials), was a research scientist for over 10 years with the Navy, won a science fair with an electromagnetism-based project and taught undergrad and grad level in college. Mr. Marsh is now a patent attorney working on pinball patents. Mr. Zahler added, “Steve and I hosted a couple of class trips together and it’s really amazing to see how engaged, excited and curious the students become with his demonstrations of pinball parts and discussion of real-world concepts.” On a final note he added, “This is truly an exciting time to be involved in pinball. With pinball enthusiasts around the country helping kids by developing grassroots programs such as Pinball Edu and Pinball Outreach Project (POP), the time is now to use what we have in order to benefit our communities.”

The New Learning Times (NLT) provides daily coverage of the transformation of learning opportunities in the information age for those shaping the future of education. NLT is produced at the EdLab at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Learn more about Modern Pinball NYC’s pinball physics class trip and watch the video at:

Fun With Bonus is the home of the semi-coherent, misguided ramblings of professional and amateur pinball players.

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