Another dot in the blogosphere?

Posts Tagged ‘educational gaming

Here is a teacher who is attempting to integrate video games that are designed more for entertainment than for education into the curriculum. Based on his tweets and blog, I am aware that Tom Barrett does the same. I wish there were more teachers like them!

I do the same in teacher education, except this year I have one less formal opportunity to do so.

I normally facilitate a core ICT course for teacher trainees and integrate educational gaming into it over two separate semesters. This year I am facilitating it only once as I have another course on my mind and hands right now.

But as that door closes, another might open. In the middle of the year, I might be able to reach Normal-Technical in-service teachers via mobile and Web 2.0 pedagogies workshops. I might add game-based learning to the mix!

Pixel Poppers has an interesting approach on how we might use of videogames in education. The thesis of that informally written article is that some play to perform while others play to master.

The author argues that those who play to perform (or those who play games that encourage performance) become reliant on extrinsic forms of motivation like praise. On the other hand, those who play to master are more intrinsically motivated.

Instead of arguing about this dichotomy, I’d point out that games often have the potential to promote both. Of course they are limited by how they are designed, but they can be used socially and educationally for other purposes. Let me give you two examples.


Video source

Role-playing games (RPGs) require players to go on missions or quests. But some gamers create machinima instead. My son loves the Wii LEGO series of games, but he finds some quests tough. So he enters the non-quest areas to tell stories with the characters or to experiment with their abilities. In both examples, the players leave performance mode (as defined by the article) and enter mastery mode or storytelling mode.

The outcomes and uses of games are not fixed. What educators might focus more on is how to take advantage of online games or off-the-shelf games to promote things like online collaboration and digital storytelling. Gaming experiences or phenomena can provide contexts for talking about issues or concepts in math, geography, history, etc. In other words, educators might consider using the language and culture of gamers to teach them real-world concepts.

After all, if you don’t reach them, you can’t teach them.


Video source

I just discovered this YouTube video. I might just use this the next time I facilitate game-based learning in the ICT course.

Scientific American has an article titled Getting It Wrong: Surprising Tips on How to Learn. They might be surprised, but I am not. Educational gamers might refer to this as productive failure or safe failure.

The elements mentioned in the article are what gamers experience all the time. Challenging tests, trial and error, learning and strategizing from error, experiencing/trying before reading texts/manuals, etc.

The article describes word-pair experiments that, while well-established, lack context. Gamers have context: The game scenarios. So whether you are playing games or using gaming strategies, you might just get your students to get it wrong in order to get it right!

I have led my ICT classes through another game-based learning module. After a bit of tinkering, I think I have something I can suggest to my colleagues.

This semester I included a different presentation at the end of the module: My favourite Prezi presentation platform!

prezi_educational_gaming

Most of my teacher trainees have been actively blogging about their gaming experiences. If you asked me for one that stands out, it has to be Verin’s reflection after the second gaming session. She linked some of James Paul Gee’s learning principles after experiencing gaming from a student’s perspective. Putting on a teacher’s hat, she came to this conclusion:

It is not necessary to engage in games, per se, to be involved in game-based learning in the classroom. This is because we should look at the strategies behind them and incorporate them into our teaching.

Exactly!

Speaking of blogs, a friend on Facebook sent out a notification that the Jurong Regional Library is having a gaming session. See the Rambling Librarian’s blog entry for details.

Straits Times online featured this article on gaming:

2009-10-05-youth_stuck_on_gaming

I guess only negative or sensationalistic headlines grab eyeballs. Youth are “stuck” (as in addicted or immobile) and this “raises fears”. This isn’t news, it’s olds. The layperson already has this perception and ST is telling them what they want to read or hear.

If ST really wanted to report the news, report it when the results have been properly analyzed. Or link it to opportunities such as Singapore’s game development, participation in cyber competitions or educational gaming. These highlight Singapore’s reputation and savvy as well as the educational ground we can break in this area.

ST highlights fears but I am already aware of them. Folks at this forum are livid about the article. I see opportunities and pursue them instead. The layperson might see 27 hours a week wasted on gaming. I see 27 hours of informal and meaningful learning initiated by the learner!

BTW, I only have access to the digital copy above and don’t have the full article. I neither subscribe to ST online (cough, ripoff, cough) nor a paper copy (a waste of resources). The NIE library has “lost” yesterday’s newspaper too. I’d appreciate a copy of the full article if anyone has it.

A colleague (Steve Zuiker) and I are planning on offering an ed-gaming elective in the 2010 Jan semester.

I’d like to build upon what I start each semester on ed-gaming in the core ICT course for teacher trainees. I agree with Steve that this elective course is an not just an opportunity for us to start something unique in teacher education, but also to accelerate the changes in thinking that are sorely needed in education.

I’d like to see gaming and other powerful and relevant ideas emerge in all learning settings. Such practices should not be hiding behind books (both figuratively and literally).

I don’t get many eyes on this blog in between semesters, but I welcome any ideas for getting teachers to integrate gaming in mainstream education.


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