Video Games in the White House

In stark contrast to Stoll’s critique on how using computers to “make learning fun” will never be a positive education tool/is an excuse to make learning easy/will not help future generations get jobs/etc., this article gives news of a video game revolution traversing both educational and occupational fields.

The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy’s senior analyst, Constance Steinkuehler, is working to with “video game mechanics to immerse players in history, science, civics and health, among other areas”.  She studies the “civic potential” of video games – moving beyond just encouraging new types of motivational learning for students.  Unlike the more abstract benefits of video games that we have explored (concepts of trial-and-error, tripartite identity, instructional benefits), this office is looking towards making an even more explicit connection between video games and real world research and academic fields.  Science, for example, can be explored through games such as Foldit, which combines puzzle-solving and protein structures to have the “gamer” unfold and analyze different structures.  The implications are far and wide for how games like this could be beneficial, but especially that “the most elegant solutions could help scientists develop cures for Alzheimer’s disease, AIDS and cancer…”.

Its exciting to think games are being developed and tailored to very real jobs, research, and educational fields.  There are real rewards to be gained from how these interactive tools can change academics, and it would be interesting to see how Stoll would react to this news.

– Katie

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