Gaming, cognition, and education - Part 6
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 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.
New research links urban planning and political polarization.
- Canadian researchers find that excessive reliance on cars changes political views.
- Decades of car-centric urban planning normalized unsustainable lifestyles.
- People who prefer personal comfort elect politicians who represent such views.
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
Science and the squishiness of the human mind. The joys of wearing whatever the hell you want, and so much more.
- Why can't we have a human-sized cat tree?
- What would happen if you got a spoonful of a neutron star?
- Why do we insist on dividing our wonderfully complex selves into boring little boxes
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