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?


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