Video Games & Education

20 10 2006

Deanne forwarded this link for our consideration:

Group: Video Games can reshape education

By BEN FELLER, AP Education WriterTue Oct 17 em>

Scientists call it the next great discovery, a way to captivate students so much they will spend hours learning on their own. It’s the new vision of video games.

The Federation of American Scientists — which typically weighs in on matters of nuclear weaponry and government secrecy — declared Tuesday that video games can redefine education.. . .

JJ’s UPDATE: Wow, this isn’t small potatoes. This is serious, world-changing stuff. Check out the FAS here to see some real policy leadership — not just politics but vision, substance, progress, and talk about intelligent design! — and see their potentially school-shatttering “Summit on Educational Games” report here:

The major findings are:

Many video games require players to master skills in demand by today’s employers. Video game developers have instinctively implemented many of the common axioms of learning scientists. They have used these approaches to help game players exercise a skill set closely matching the thinking, planning, learning, and technical skills increasingly demanded by employers in a wide range of industries.

Unfortunately, today’s testing programs fail to assess these types of skills despite widespread agreement that these are skills employers look for in employees. In addition to developing higher order skills, educational games and simulations hold promise for:

practical skills training, training individuals for high performance situations that require complex decision-making, reinforcing skills seldom used, teaching how experts approach problems, and team-building. . .

* contextual bridging (i.e., closing the gap between what is learned in theory and its use);
* high time-on-task;
* motivation and goal orientation, even after failure;
* providing learners with cues, hints, and partial solutions to keep them progressing;
* personalization of learning; and
* infinite patience.

Several barriers inhibit the markets for education games. These include:
market fragmentation (e.g., 16,000. . . school districts), schools’ unwillingness and limited budgetsto abandon textbooks in favor of technology-based materials, negative attitudes about video games on the part of some parents and educators, and schools’ reluctance to purchase educational technologies with unproven efficacy, especially in terms of today’s education standards.

Some . . . markets may have lower barriers to entry such as homeschooling or after school programs.

Educational institutions need to transform organizational systems and instructional practices to take greater advantage of new technology, including educational games.

Many companies and industries have transformed themselves by taking advantage of advances in technology, and new management methods and models of organization. As a result, they realized substantial gains in productivity and product quality while lowering costs. No such transformation has taken part in education. Education is not part of the IT revolution.

Educational games are fundamentally different than the prevalent instructional paradigm. They are based on challenge, reward, learning through doing and guided discovery, in contrast to the “tell and test” methods of traditional instruction. Some types of games — such as complex strategy games — are not compatible with the typical 45-minute class length. Effective use of games and other new technologies is likely to be limited unless educational institutions are willing to consider significant changes in pedagogy and content, and rethink the role of teachers and other educational professionals. . .


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4 responses

20 10 2006
misedjj

“Everywhere we turn, we hear
more about visionary people
recognizing how games can help
train first responders, how they
can help prepare surgeons, how
they can help kids manage pain,
how they can help prepare air
traffic controllers and software
engineers. Does it make any sense
to you that we can acknowledge
all of this, but we can’t
acknowledge that games can help
kids learn about the American
Revolution, of the Middle Ages,
that they can help kids learn about
biology or physics, or they can
help kids understand economics?”

Doug Lowenstein, President,
Entertainment Software
Association

(boxed quote on page 12)

27 11 2006
Forget Revenge, Video Gamers Get Rich « Cocking A Snook!

[…] So much for the socialization argument! And surely this is white collar, intellectual if not artistic, creative work centered on computers, complex logic and sophisticated business operations requiring people skills too–that’s hard to diss by any traditional measures of life success. Plus, video gaming is far less physically hazardous than any pro sport, not nearly as traditionally tawdry as making a living shooting pool or playing poker, no steroids (or worse) being bought, sold or ingested as part of its pro culture. […]

8 10 2007
JJ

From today’s NYT story, “Thou Shalt Not Kill, Except in a Popular Video Game at Church”:

“Teens are our ‘fish,’ he wrote. “So we’ve become creative in baiting our hooks.”

4 11 2007
JJ

Here’s a Wired magazine article making the same case for video games as excellent real-life education and career prep.

It’s learning to be – a natural byproduct of adjusting to a new culture – as opposed to learning about. . .This process brings about a profound shift in how they perceive and react to the world around them. They become more flexible in their thinking and more sensitive to social cues.

The fact that they don’t think of gameplay as training is crucial. Once the experience is explicitly educational, it becomes about developing compartmentalized skills and loses its power to permeate the player’s behavior patterns and worldview.

In this way, the process of becoming an effective World of Warcraft guild master amounts to a total-immersion course in leadership. . .

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