Gaming, cognition, and education - Part 6
Today is the last day 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 discovery learning, learning transfer, learner as producer.
16. Gamers are discovery learners
Virtually every role-playing game requires participants to actively investigate the learning environment. As noted previously, this active learning aspect replicates real-life learning contexts and deepens overall knowledge and proficiency. Unlike many K-12 classrooms, video games rarely tell learners anything overtly. If games do, it's usually planful and related to something small. All of the big discoveries - the conceptual breakthroughs - are left for the learner to discover in a structured, scaffolded way. Educators have long recognized the value of guided, inquiry-based learning methods, particularly for problem-solving, even if they have rarely implemented such methods on a large scale.
17. Gamers have many opportunities for learning transfer
One of the key outcomes that educators try to achieve with students is the transfer of learning from one context to another. In rapidly-changing societies such as ours, the ability to transfer and/or adapt existing knowledge and skills to new situations is an essential requirement for life success. Video games give participants many opportunities to practice already-acquired skills and to transfer their learning to new and different challenges. To succeed in video games, learners must not only exhibit near transfer (i.e., replication of prior learning to new, fairly similar, situations) but also far transfer (i.e., adaptation and modification of prior learning to substantively different contexts).
18. Gamers are producers and insiders, not just consumers
Like other modern technology tools (e.g., digital cameras and camcorders, podcasts, blogs, wikis), many video games allow learners to be producers of original content, not just consumers of pre-packaged material. Some of the most popular role-playing games (e.g., Second Life, EverQuest) have very sophisticated economies built upon user-created content. These video games have tools that allow for rich, individualized customization of the learning environment by participants. This stands in sharp contrast to the "one size fits all" instructional model that we see in many schools and classrooms, where teachers and textbooks are the insiders and "the learners are outsiders who must take what they are given as mere consumers" (Gee, 2003, p. 194). Control of the learning path, and perhaps the learning environment itself, can be powerfully motivating and engaging for learners.
Questions of the day
- How do the concepts discussed above map on to K-12 education?
Gaming and education resource 6
On Monday, I will wrap this all up and present a tool that can be used to help teachers and administrators discuss (and maybe reframe) their beliefs about gaming.
Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."
- Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
- Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
- Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
An innovation may lead to lifelike self-reproducing and evolving machines.
- Scientists at Cornell University devise a material with 3 key traits of life.
- The goal for the researchers is not to create life but lifelike machines.
- The researchers were able to program metabolism into the material's DNA.
Some evidence attributes a certain neurological phenomenon to a near death experience.
Time of death is considered when a person has gone into cardiac arrest. This is the cessation of the electrical impulse that drive the heartbeat. As a result, the heart locks up. The moment the heart stops is considered time of death. But does death overtake our mind immediately afterward or does it slowly creep in?
- A huge segment of America's population — the Baby Boom generation — is aging and will live longer than any American generation in history.
- The story we read about in the news? Their drain on social services like Social Security and Medicare.
- But increased longevity is a cause for celebration, says Ashton Applewhite, not doom and gloom.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.