Video Games and the Future of Learning

Over at the Wisconsin Center of Education Research, they have a lot of working papers, some of which focus on technology-enhanced learning. The most recent one is "Video Games and the Future of Learning" by David Williamson Shaffer, Kurt R. Squire, Richard Halverson, and James P. Gee, all of the University of Wisconsin. Here's the abstract:

Will video games change the way we learn? We argue here for a particular view of games—and of learning—as activities that are most powerful when they are personally meaningful, experiential, social, and epistemological all at the same time. From this perspective, we describe an approach to the design of learning environments that builds on the educational properties of games, but deeply grounds them within a theory of learning appropriate to an age marked by the power of new technologies. We argue that to understand the future of learning, we have to look beyond schools to the emerging arena of video games. We suggest that video games matter because they present players with simulated worlds: worlds that, if well constructed, are not just about facts or isolated skills, but embody particular social practices. Video games thus make it possible for players to participate in valued communities of practice and as a result develop the ways of thinking that organize those practices. Most educational games to date have been produced in the absence of any coherent theory of learning or underlying body of research. We argue here for such a theory—and for research that addresses the important questions about this relatively new medium that such a theory implies.

More here.

Comments

Clancy,
Good find! There are more of the group's papers up at http://www.academiccolab.org/initiatives/papers.html if anyone's interested. Gee's new paper "Why Video Games Are Good for Learning" is there, too, and addresses the question of whether video games need to be present in the classroom in order to be good learning tools.
-Alice
http://website.education.wisc.edu/gls/index.htm

Merolt.org has this resource that... "addresses the use of video games in high schools to help adress student learning of history"

http://www.merlot.org/artifact/ArtifactDetail.po?oid=1010000000000241415

Good stuff

This is possible but you have to change everything about the gaming industry. The gaming industry is making billions by selling video games to us pathetic human beings because it takes us into a fantasy world where the impossible is possible with the click of a button. People do not play any games where nothing unusual happens. The future of gaming is taking kids into the fantasy worlds if you read up on it some more. They want to manipulate the brain with extreme but dangerous experiments to let you take control over a game in your dreams. Kind of like Matrix the movie. The video game industry is going rich due to kids loving fantasy. In real life a kid will not steal a car, rob people, or shoot someone in the face with a shotgun to blow their head off. They know the consequences will be bad. In a Video Game the kids will blow someone's head off because they know the consequence is 100 points....Now say we turn that around and put it into an educational point of view. A kid will not do a quest do figure out the History of Colombus and what he discovered because the consequence is mere knowledge which is not important to children that play video games. That kind of knowledge is not what they need. The knowledge that interests them is knowledge in how to do a 10 hit combo in a video game and how to strategically defeat the enemy. Now in order for education to be turned over to the video game industry, first you would have to convince the kids that the knowledgeable video games are as good as any other game. You will have to mix up a various game type. An educational game with blowing heads up and ripping people's spines out while shooting zombies that are after you... which is hardly possible. Therefore i would suggest that you generate a couple of experiments with an educational type of game. See how it goes, see if it works for anybody and calculate the possibility and then slowly work your way up because just doing research is not good enough. This will require a lot of money, patience and a damn long time because even pacman is hard to create so you will have to make it really interesting.

Plz if you have any questions or any comments about this either reply here or email me at diamonddog@cogeco.ca , i will be waiting for a reply soon. Ty for taking the time to read my....essay i suppose

To understand the future of learning (and the role of technology therein), we have to look beyond schools to other arenas of technology innovation, disruption, and adoption/adaptation in society -- including to video games. Amen. Yet, most games (including so-called 'educational games') to date have been produced in the absence of any coherent theory of learning or underlying body of research.

Jim
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