Gaming V Learning

Howard-Jones tackled the issue of whether there is a clear manifestation in the brain when a person is either researching the internet or playing games and has proven that it is so but whether the impact is negative or positive, it would most certainly necessitate more research to be carried out to prove either way. Additionally he has clearly illustrated the way the brain act under different conditions in terms whether there is reward or not.

Let suppose the same experiments were carried out on chess or a scrabble player either during a competition or simply playing for fun. Are we to expect that their cognitive function and dopamine to be very different from those who are playing online games or researching the net?

‘Telling me and I will forget. Showing me and I will remember. Involving me and I will understand’ It seems the ancient Chinese understood the difference between content-driven media and problem-solving/choice driven media even back then. In this respect online games have an advantage in teaching over the traditional role of a teacher. This idea is being put into practice at the Quest to teach school in New York and seems to be doing well:, also school in Florida is taking the idea of educational gaming very literally, by using a bespoke computer game to teach American history:

Bespoke computer game to teach American history:

By far Gee’s ideas are interesting and constructive. The differences between the content driven media and media driven by choice are well defined:

Kids are often skilled and drilled apart from any meaningful context this supported by Jerome Brumer that a learner even at early age is capable of learning any material as long as the instruction is organised appropriately.

Schools can be too challenging if kids are not allowed to practice enough to attain mastery and rarely let kids design or redesign the curriculum in contrast to what was advocated by Lev Vygotsky on internalisation i.e. Knowing how the mastery of skills occurs through the activity of the child within society and appropriation when the child takes a tool and makes his own. Sam added that urgent optimism – if one is on the verge of an epic win it encourages the one to get on with it right away. Could we encourage the same ‘urgent optimism’ in children outside the gaming world? If they knew that they were on the edge of understanding something new, would that encourage them to press forward with the topic to achieve their educational ‘epic win’?

Sam and Mike think games like the immersive ones Jane McGonigle helped design do encourage people to think about massive real world problems and ways of combating them. Sam actually played Superstruct ( when it ran back in 2008, though she didn’t get quite as involved with it as she would if they ran it again now. It did encourage her to research what she might be able to do in the face of a global apocalypse. So a game did at least make her think about how she would deal with a problem. Sam playing an educational game:


I on the other hand believe McGonigal’s claims are wild: by playing online games, the world problems such as poverty, climate change and saving the world from Armageddon would be resolved. The most I can accept that individual players can commit to a cause and collectively could put pressure on their governments to deal with certain issue as has happened in Egypt

Games are not new notion there has always been games such as survival camps, playing soldiers etc. the only difference that more people have access to online games in the comfort of their homes on a computer screen in a virtual world away from solving global warming or the financial crisis (Sam added). The original enterprise was to escape one’s reality and it is still valid today.

If she was advocating that some games such as educational Quest Atlantis would lead to people learning significantly more, recalling more concepts and also leading to higher engagement, collaboration and enjoyment than I might think her presentation is creditable. Her presentation is simply a marketing ploy to publicise online games

Games give people the belief in themselves to go out and solve massive problems, but only the problems in the games. What if this enthusiasm and self-belief could be harnessed in the educational system?


Digital Collaboration


What a Hash…… Tag #########

Thoughts about the learning space we used #Twitter#

In our initial discussions, Sam came up the idea that we had our digital communications on Twitter. We all agreed not entirely realising what we were getting ourselves into.

Sam had a little experience of Twitter and had set up/started a tweet for us all and waited very patiently for myself and Mo to get ourselves into gear. (#mmstsk2) She was also using an app (Tweetdeck) which makes Twitter much easier to use. She also could send tweets via text, so she can tweet even when she
doesn’t have internet access

Myself and Mo were complete novices at Twitter and had own individual difficulties with this particular learning/communication space.

Mo initially had difficulties opening an account as demonstrated by his email as follows:

Hi all,

I have tried to twitter but I get an error “The security certificate presented by this website has expired or is not yet valid”. So I have decided to email you my ideas.

After much perseverance he managed to sort the problem, and managed to tweet some points and ideas.

I managed to open an account reasonably okay but my initial tweets were a total failure as I didn’t realise that I could only tweet so many words and that I had to include in my message the particular ‘Hash Tag’ #mmstsk2 so after much swearing at the computer screen I gave in and asked Sam for advice the next day at Uni.

My thoughts on Twitter: I struggled with the fact that you could only type 140 characters in a tweet, so if I wanted to write a lengthy message I had to tweet multiple times to get that idea across. Many times I tweeted messages and left off the ‘Hash Tag’ #mmstsk2 and then had to revisit the tweet, delete it and rewrite it including the Tag.

This maybe down to me being an utter novice to this media space but I found it to be a tad frustrating to say the least!

Ironically we did most of our communications by that old fashioned E-mail method! This was, admittedly, not really discussing the particular articles but conversing our ills with Twitter (Michael and Mo that is) or expressing problems Michael had finding time to do any ‘Tweeting’.

I personally (Michael) don’t think this was the best learning space media for this particular task because all the message paines are separate i.e. it’s quite difficult to follow a conversation between multiple persons. I think it’s really designed for one person to keep followers informed of their own thoughts and happenings. I also mentioned earlier that there is a very small limit of 140 characters per tweet and also missing ‘hash tags’ from ‘tweets’ causing me problems personally.

I now feel that I have knowledge and experience of ‘Twitter’ which is a good thing in itself, learning and experience is always a positive thing to take from life! I’m not certain that I will use it again in the future but can take comfort in the knowledge that if need be I’ll have a good idea of how to use it.

Next time I think I would use a more straight forward simple messager service such as Yahoo messanger, Facebook, skype or similar. All of which I have a little more experience and feel they would be more suitable for a task like this.

A summary of key points arising from our digestion discussion:

To view our “Twitter” conversation click on the image below.

Twitter post

Twitter Post Conversation you twit

With the Mimi video myself, Mo and Sam all seem to be in agreement. Mimi seemed to sound all nice and intelligent as i’m sure she is but she never came up with any sollutions. She seemed to drone on some what! Still Michael still enjoyed watching the video, slight crush going on there….. never mind!

The Flight From Conversation

Sam and Michael felt that we had experienced similar situations in real life that had been mentioned in the The Flight From Conversation article. There definite truths with in the article but it seamed to me to be a very negative article trying to point out only the negatives of modern communications. It definitely reeked of doom and gloom ”16 year old boy hoping to one day learn to have a real conversation” how seriously can this be taken? the article ‘slightly’ aired on the bias of old fashioned communications.

Toward peeragogy

We were all in ageement that the Toward peeragogy was interesting because this is exactly the sort of thing we are doing and actively being promoted to do and being reasonably successful at doing on our PGCE course. We are having our lectures, given assignments and trying to learn from each others knowledge and experiences. Nice!

Listed below are some interesting articles/videos related to peerogagy /