Sure a gaming education sounds good, but where do we go from here?

In my recent trip to the Digital Ops, I was thoroughly intrigued with how certain types of games encouraged different types of behaviors in its players. The Ship was certainly a game that was solely played for individual gain. I found myself fumbling about trying to figure out the keys while being pummeled to death by another player with a mannequin arm. Though it seemed frustrating, I felt a certain determination to continue in the game, attempt to master the controls and most importantly – not give up. Left 4 Dead had interesting team components and was certainly a good model for team-work and leadership. All these characteristics combined made for a seemingly great educational experience in the classroom, that is, until I got overwhelmingly nauseated by the first person shooter perspective.

So far I have agreed with Gee’s principles, the learning theories and that video games possess various characteristics that make them an excellent tool for educating. I think video games allow for a sense of achievement, motivation, exploration and identity. But how can we revamp our education system to include games that every student will feel motivated to play? What games will feel fun for everyone and not just an extra chore? What is THE best game that will provide the best learning environment?

This argument feels as though we are back to square one. In my opinion there are various problems with our school system now such as lack of desire and motivation to learn by some students. How can we be sure video games would fix this problem? Additionally, our educational system is a rigid path of studying the facts and spending great lengths of time listening to lectures in the classroom. Obviously, our system now is not the best way to encourage learning for all students, but what is to say that gaming will? What about those (insane) students that may not enjoy video games? Or in terms of my experience, what if a student is nauseated by the perspective or set up of a game?

As with any problem, there is always a working solution. Video games may not be the one final solution for our educational needs, but it can certainly be of help to supplement what is already in place. We can only work with what we have so far but I think the idea of a correct game “fit” for students is an interesting concept for the future.

As a final point, I believe supplementing education with video games may have greater benefits than previously realized. A gaming education may provide a means for students with learning disabilities to better advance in their schooling. Gaming could have a great future for students with conditions such as blindness or deafness and even those with disabilities. Games may help in advancing critical learning for students of all backgrounds in the near future, we just have to figure out which games best fit the perfect learning picture.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Anthony
    Jan 27, 2011 @ 09:24:20

    Isn’t that the whole point of “good” games? They individualize the experience? I think that’s the point that even most reseach based educational systems usually miss. The whole idea of a “class” in a school room almost universally implies they are all doing the same thing, moving at the same pace. Teachers often think they are helping by simply having some lessons be auditory, some lesson be more visual, etc, but even that missing the point. Since everyone is still doing the same activities, when you do the audio, to gain some students and you lose others, and when you do the video, you gain a different set and lose still others. I’m of the opinion that any “new” education idea that doesn’t involve ways to allow students to learn in their own ways, at their own pace is simply more of the same. Until we find ways to allow individual students to learn not just at their own pace, but even giving them options as to how information is presented to them, we will continue to mainly “statistics significant” but not meaningful advances.

    Reply

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