Gaming, cognition, and education - Part 3
Scott McLeod, J.D., Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Educational Leadership at the University of Kentucky. He also is the Founding Director of the UCEA Center for the Advanced Study of Technology Leadership in Education (CASTLE), the nation’s only academic center dedicated to the technology needs of school administrators, and was a co-creator of the wildly popular video series, Did You Know? (Shift Happens). He has received numerous national awards for his technology leadership work, including recognitions from the cable industry, Phi Delta Kappa, and the National School Boards Association. In Spring 2011 he was a Visiting Canterbury Fellow at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. Dr. McLeod blogs regularly about technology leadership issues at Dangerously Irrelevant and Mind Dump, and occasionally at The Huffington Post. He can be reached at scottmcleod.net.
Today is Day 3 of my week-long series related to gaming, cognition, and education. Remember that I am approaching this issue with the following question in mind: Why is it that kids who can't sit still in class for five minutes can be mentally locked in for hours at home playing video games? If you're new to this series, check out the previous posts:
My guide for this series is Dr. Jim Gee at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, author of What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy. Today's topics are ongoing learning, regime of competence, and probing.
7. Video game participants are constantly learning, unlearning, and relearning
In most video games, particularly role-playing games, participants must continually unpack prior learning and undo previously-routinized behaviors in order to learn new skills that allow them to progress and be successful. In other words, participants cannot function on 'autopilot' for long before the video game requires them to do something different to reach a new and higher level. As Gee notes
Several educators have argued that this cycle of automatization of skills through practice, rethinking this automatization when faced with new conditions in order to learn new skills and transform old ones, and then perfecting these new skills through further practice that once again leads to automatization is the very foundation of intelligent practice in the world. . . . A cycle of automatization, adaptation, new learning, and new automatization is a sine qua non of learning for those who want to survive as active thinkers and actors in a fast changing world. (pp. 69-70)
8. Video games continually and appropriately challenge learners
Video games are structured so that learners constantly operate at the outer edge of their competence. Participants are continually challenged but the challenges are not so difficult that learners believe they are undoable. Gee refers to this as the regime of competence principle. Lev Vygotsky, a famous developmental psychologist, called this concept the zone of proximal development - the area in which students are ready to grow. Video games are similar to teachers in that they take the role of what Vygotsky called the 'more knowledgeable other,' the entity that helps students bridge the gap between their current ability and new capabilities. In education, we often call this scaffolding - the idea that learners can progress to new skill levels with structured, individualized, just-in-time assistance. Video games are very adept at scaffolding participants' learning. One of the reasons that video games are so compelling / engaging / 'addictive' is that participants are continually faced with new challenges that are neither too easy nor too difficult. This motivates them to move forward because the next step is always in sight and is perceived as being achievable.
9. Video games foster active, reflective investigation
Gee points out that most good video games require learners to
- probe the virtual world by exploring, looking around, moving items, clicking on something, etc.;
These four stages reflect how expert scientists approach their tasks and embody the process by which children and adults learn when they're not in school. In other words, this probe-hypothesis-reprobe-rethink process is "central to how humans learn things" (p. 91). This model of learning is underutilized in schools, however, as curricula and other pressures often result in a focus on memorization of facts rather than on teaching students how to discover, decode, and test patterns of thinking and meaning. The latter, of course, is an essential skill for individuals living in an everchanging global society.
Questions of the day
- How do the concepts discussed above map on to K-12 education?
Gaming and education resource 3
Here's the schedule for the rest of the series:
- Thursday: multiple routes to success, contextualized meaning, multimodal learning
A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration likely violated the reporter's Fifth Amendment rights when it stripped his press credentials earlier this month.
- Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
- The judge described the ruling as narrow, and didn't rule one way or the other on violations of the First Amendment.
- The case is still open, and the administration may choose to appeal the ruling.
Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.
- America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
- Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
- Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
The definition of a kilogram will now be fixed to Planck's constant, a fundamental part of quantum physics.
- The new definition of a kilogram is based on a physical constant in quantum physics.
- Unlike the current definition of a kilogram, this measurement will never change.
- Scientists also voted to update the definitions of several other measurements in physics.
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