Gaming, cognition, and education - Part 4
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 4 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 multiple routes to success, contextualized meaning, and multimodal learning.
10. Video games allow learners to follow their own paths
There is more than one path to success in most role-playing video games. The path that some players follow, or the choices that they make, can be different than the paths and choices of others and yet still lead to the next level. Those paths may take longer, or some choices may be better, but eventually each player gets to the next stage. By playing and replaying levels repeatedly in ways that are not boring, players can revise and refine their paths to success. Video games allow for individualized learning toward common outcomes.
11. Gamers make meaning within embodied experiences
Because video games have the capacity to create complex, experiential simulations, participants' learning is situated within learning environments that are fairly authentic, at least within the paradigm of the game framework. In other words, learning is not decontextualized, like a multiple choice item or writing prompt might be, but instead is rooted within the ongoing development of the skills, knowledge, and behaviors necessary to be successful in the game environment. For example, instead of reading about a blacksmith or watching a video about a blacksmith, gamers learn by actually being blacksmiths. Participants' understanding is thus deeper because it is embodied within simulated (and often very real) experiences.
12. Learning in video games is multimodal
Most educators know about the theories of multiple intelligences and learning styles. The basic idea is that students learn differently and have different strengths. Teachers thus should try to facilitate multiple paths to learning and attempt to create different ways for students to show their mastery of content material. Most video games seamlessly integrate three of our five senses: sight, sound, and touch. If we ever figure out a way to implement Smell-o-vision or Odorama with our computers (click here to learn more about digital scent technology!), participants also may experience different smells while gaming. Because they can simultaneously utilize images, text, sound, interactions, abstract design, and so on (Gee, 2003, p. 210), video games are better able to simulate real-life experiences than can printed text, audio, or video. This makes learning more authentic, more engaging, and more compelling.
Questions of the day
- How do the concepts discussed above map on to K-12 education?
Gaming and education resource 4
Here's the schedule for the rest of the series:
- Friday: subset of real domain, bottom-up basic skills, just-in-time information
Firefighters in California are still struggling to contain several wildfires nearly one week after they broke out.
- Hundreds of people are still missing after three wildfires spread across Northern and Southern California last week.
- 48 of the 50 deaths occurred after the Camp Fire blazed through the town of Paradise, north of Sacramento.
- On Tuesday night, a fourth wildfire broke out, though it's mostly contained.
We know the dangers of too little sleep. Now for the other side of the story.
- Western University researchers found that sleeping over eight hours per night results in cognitive decline.
- Oversleepers suffer similar difficulties on certain cognitive tests as those who sleep under seven hours.
- Not all the news is bad: One night of oversleeping results in a cognitive boost.
Protected animals are feared to be headed for the black market.
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