Posts Tagged ‘gbl’
Mention video game-based learning (vGBL) to someone and look into their eyes. Some eyes will roll, some will glaze over, some will dart about, and some will widen.
The eyes that roll or glaze over belong to the skeptics or the uninformed. The eyes that dart about may belong to those who have some idea what vGBL is and they might be thinking about vGBL concepts or issues.
The eyes that widen in surprise typically belong to parents; the eyes that widen in excitement belong to their kids.
Karl Kapp curated what is arguably a few of the best current videos by leading names on game-based learning. I embed one here on Quest to Learn.
An even better resource is Kapp’s article in Learning Solutions magazine that was a rebuttal to someone who wrote an earlier article that “games don’t teach”.
I think that these two resources go some way in educating various stakeholders on the benefits of vGBL if they are open enough to contemplate them. When they do, the mindset of games as a waste of time might eventually become a quaint belief system that is best left in the early years of the 21st century.
by A Malchik!
When I read Why Games Don’t Teach, I had three immediate reactions.
My first reaction was that it was titled to provoke and provoke it did. The comments it drew from informed readers added real value to the article.
My second reaction was: They do not teach in the traditional sense. The third was: Of course games do not teach. Teachers do.
Attempts to disqualify games, especially well-designed ones, as poor analogues of teaching might be poorly informed.
Ask a gamer what s/he learns after (not during) a gaming session and you might be surprised what they learn.
They learn more after the experience and not during because they are given the time and space to reflect. The gamers’ examples of what they learn might not be about academic content. Instead, they might cite a new skill, an alternative source of information, or a new perspective.
The teacher must design the experience and seed or draw out the learning from the gamer. If s/he does not do this, the game does not teach and neither does the teacher.
So games teach? I am convinced that the answer is yes, but not in the way you might expect and in more ways than you can imagine.
Old games were difficult because they just got harder and faster. New games are difficult because they are more like real life.
Video games, whether the old or new, entertain. They draw us in because of our instinct to learn by play. With games, the problems are fun, the information timely, the feedback immediate, and the failure recoverable, inconsequential, and necessary for success.
It is no wonder that progressive educators are examining well designed games to figure out instructional strategies.
Daphne Bevelier shares research on the impact of games on learners and game-players.
Myth: Staring at the screen worsens eyesight.
Her research: The vision of action gamers is actually better than those who do not play video games. Gamers can make out finer details and are better able to distinguish more levels of grey (better able to tell contrast?).
Myth: Gamers are more distracted because they develop attention problems.
Her research: Gamers are actually faster at resolving conflicts and can pay attention to more discrete objects or instances.
Myth: Gamers can multitask better than non-gamers.
Her research: The ability to multitask varies with the choice of media or game, not with the individual.
Myth: The effects of experimental game interventions are not long-lasting.
Her research: In one study on spatial cognition, the effects of a total of 10 hours of video-gaming were not only immediate but also present five months after the intervention.
Bevelier concludes that “general wisdom carries no weight” in the light of research.
I also loved her example of how educational games are like chocolate-coated broccoli. They are meant to be good for you, but you do not buy it because you will not swallow it.
Parents and teachers might buy the chocolate-coated broccoli games. However, the kids and learners will know better.
The trick then is to create games that kids really want to play and are also good for them. It is about creating good, really healthy chocolate.
I think there is a simpler solution. Show teachers how to take advantage of existing chocolate and get both students and teacher to consume and create at the right times.
This strategy is not about the technology. It is about the pedagogy. Good games are already well designed so you need not redesign or recreate. You just need to facilitate creative and critical use of the games.
This video has been my family’s favourite since it was released.
Warning: It might may cause laughter and it is very catchy.
Spoiler: It might not seem like it at first, but the video is actually a public service announcement.
In a similar way, I think that is what good games do. They are fun and they engage. They do not seem like they are educational. But you learn a thing or three after you play.
Here are nine reasons for dropping traditional online courses for games. Not so-called educational games, mind you. Just games, period.
- Games provide real choice
- Games are customized to the learner
- There is no next page button
- Games lock learners into their zone of proximal development
- Games encourage productive forms of failure
- Games immerse learners in context
- Games create active problem-solvers
- Games promote mastery with fun
A few weeks ago I shared how I started playing Clash of Clans with my son on our iPads. I reflected on some learning opportunities then. I have a few more now that I have played the game thoroughly.
One thing I do not really like about the game is that a much stronger village of warriors can attack mine and decimate it. But this is an opportunity to analyze my defensive strategies. I have reconfigured my village several times as a result.
As my son and I shared the same experiences, this gave me an opportunity to discuss the term “underdog“. I asked him if he knew what it meant. Initially he just pictured a smaller dog under a larger dog!
Then we talked about how we were able to successfully defend against strong attacks by being smarter. My son may not have the life experience of being an underdog, but he can now relate to what it feels like to be one (perspective-taking) and how to overcome problems (strategic thinking).
Speaking of strategic thinking, the game now provides instant video replays of how someone successfully or unsuccessfully attacked my village. I can also visit someone else’s village to see how they lay things out. These process artefacts provide insights into an opponent’s strategies and give me the opportunity to reflect critically.
When someone attacks me, I can take revenge by tapping on a button. Like all other games, we learn from failed attempts to defend or attack. The failures do not demoralize and instead motivate us to do better. The element of competition and even the need to get even drive us forward.
I can also form a clan with other players. My son and I formed an exclusive clan and we provide warriors for each other so that our armies are stronger in attack or defence. We have to anticipate what the attacking or defensive needs are, build our own capacity, and request what we need from each other. Sounds like 21st century work to me!
Whether we defend or attack, we have to analyze a stronghold for weaknesses. This is an opportunity to do gap analysis. We then attempt to fill that gap or exploit it.
I could wait for life to deliver its lessons to my son, but I am not waiting. I play mobile video games with him and together we visit life lessons in a fun and non-threatening way.
I am definitely going to use this video for any course or workshop on video game-based learning.
I had several reinforcements and takeaways after watching it.
The soundbite that I am taking away from my initial viewing is that play is not just an activity. It is a state of mind.
Oliver Quinlan, the creator of this YouTube video, titled it Learning From Games. His slide deck and a few notes are here.
In the video and slides, Quinlan provided content on four main points:
- Game-based learning
- Game-centred learning
- Game creation
There was lots of good stuff in the video. I particularly enjoyed the example of Howard-Jones’ work (2011). According to that study, the most activity in the brain occurs when there is only a 50% chance for success. However, in schooling, there is an 87% chance for getting rewards. Games designed with lower success rates are actually more appealing and generate the most brain activity than schooling!
If I had to nit-pick, I would argue that we do not just learn FROM games, but also WITH games. Learning from something has an old-school, delivery-oriented feel to it. Learning with games implies a dynamism between player, game, and related content that is more typical of off-the-shelf games.
Biology teacher, Paul Anderson, applied some video game strategies to his classes. He worked on the premises that:
- School can be fun
- Failure is OK and part of the learning process
- Learning can be structured like game levels to be challenging
The elements of his Biohazard Five class included lots of activities, a large question pool designed around mastery learning, a leaderboard, and iPads for access to Internet resources.
Best of all, Anderson shared what he learnt from his classroom experience:
- He did not provide enough scaffolding
- He did not require his students to read independently enough
- He added elements of socialization to drive the learning