Design and Education: Video Games and Uses in Education

Site: National association of Educators of Art
Conference in April in Baltimore

We see that educators and game designers share some common
characteristics, Both are tasked with an interesting second order design problem:
How to create spaces that ultimately exist for people to do interesting things.

An Outline of the Topics covered by

Learning by Design: Good Video Games as Learning Machines
James Paul Gee

Empowered learners
1) Co-design – meaning created by players
2) Customize- Many Diffused paths to completion
3) Identity- communities of practice- negotiate
4) Manipulation/ Distributed Knowledge – “smart tools”

Problem Solving
4) Well Ordered Problems – build on prior knowledge and skills
6) Pleasantly Frustrating- “Flow”
7) Cycles of Expertise- Acquire skill -> confidence -> results
8) Info on demand and just in time
9) Fish Tanks – simplify system
10) Sandbox- no risk?/ risk & reward

12) Systematic Thinking
13) Meaning as Action Image -From Abstract to Personal

Discussion Outcomes

1.) Do you agree that video games trigger learning, why or why not?

The group gave an unanimous response that games trigger learning. Christy
gave an anecdote about seeing a news teaser that stated a new study that
“discovered that boys who play video games verses those who do not, will do
more poorly in school.”
The news blurb was then questioned on it’s context and the possible rigor of the academic research.
The Role of Early Childhood Education and Socio-Economic Background were discussed as important
Jane McGonigal’s recent Ted Talk was mentioned.
In the Talk: Having pleasurable increases in difficulty, info on demand AND just in time information.

Jane McGonigal – ARG (Alternative Reality Games) TED Talk on how games can change the world
Began to point games into solving real world puzzles

New Project involves the World Bank. This raises questions about the integrity
of the project and whether this is still in line with previously espoused rhetoric.

2.) Are games ever considered as work like learning?
WOW endgame involves many daily tasks and archeivement gathering. MMO Guildmasters often have
many job-like tasks in managing the guild and raiding. Wow Goldfarmers and Second Life content
makers have specific game centric jobs. There are Starcraft Tournements that generate income.
Learning is also a type of work.

3.) Do people get more out design experiments if they are participating or
Each of these activities, participating and observing offers different levels of interactivity and outcomes
from the activity. Part of this is related to the learning styles of the students as well as what the
students are looking to gain from the activity.

4.) Can deep understanding of an interest in a specific topic create, “abstract and general
themes” that students are able to use in other contexts?
Our group again came to an unianimous agreement about the transferability of skills and knowledges
even when

5.) What types of games do you consider “good” games?
Me: A Game that is “Finished.” A Game that doens’t contain broken mechanics, incomplete features
or nonsensical plot or bad User Interface. The actual genre is less important to me than a complete
experience, because a really great experience can make genre secondary.
Garret: An engaging, immersive game.
Matt: Something that takes you out of your environment.

6.) Do you think we can learn from games and from what kind do you think promotes
learning the greatest?

Isa’s group:

Argumented that the barrier between engagement in games and class structure,
should be changes such that classes become as engaging as games.

What does fun mean? What is a game if you remove fun? Often the
mantra is stated that “If we make Learning Fun, then kids will want to learn.”
What if it is placed on its head? If You are learning, then it is fun. Or
at least pleasurable.

“Guns, Germs and Steel” by Jared Diamond- Non-fiction book Based around the game
of Civilization. Georgraphy and Resources, without Jingoist “My Culture is better than yours”

Violence in Media and Games- Refuted in article. Gamers who are exposed to real violence have no
interest in re-enacting video game violence.
Are gamers looking at sandbox type games in an environment where all of the other people
present are NPC’s. Does this lead to a breakdown of Empathy, or DeHumanization of your game environment.
Can the game be a means of engaging in violence, and actually reducing violence in gamers?

Umut’s Group:

Addressing the possibility of having multiple games types for learners.
Different games for different learning styles. Perhaps it is not possible to find one game for all students.

Possibility of testing for learning types comes up as a method of determining
what types of games could be introduced to students.

Future of Parsons as an interface problem:
If the school was entirely online: How would you solve the problem as different people
need to experience the materials in different ways.

HW: 1-1.5 Page proposal for Social Media network that could be used for a classroom setting

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