Video games engage players in many of the core facets of learning, but at what price?
Source: Video Games in School
The editors at Best Masters in Education decided to research the topic of:
Video games are educational at heart
– 1.) Continually pushing players competency utilizes the zone of proximal development
– –Zone of proximal development–
– –Doable but evolving challenges push the student to develop–
– 2.) Critical thinking is required
– –Level one: you have no clue how the game works.
– –Step one: formulate hypothesis about how world works.
– –Step two:Test
– –Step three: Revise and repeat
– 3.)Extreme focus contributes to memory retention. And video games draw you in.
– 4.)Emotional interest helps student learn. Ditch the boring book, get students involved.
– 5.)Visual learning is most effective.
Are games that are about learning to think in innovative ways. These games put you in the driver’s seat for simulations of real world, whole brain learning.
– 1.)SodaConstructor  places players into hypothetical engineering and physicsist situtions. Players design a creature with controls for gravity, friction, and muscle properties. Alternative designs are compared in relation to problems presented.
– 2.)Peacemaker  Places players as the Palistinian president or the Isreali Prime Minister under calm, tense or violent circumstances. After dealing with trade agreements, suicide bombers, or missile strikes, the player’s choices are assesed through opinion polls from the affected countries.
– It’s not outcome we’re after. Clicking at random does the brain no good. We want students to learn to make decisions.
– Leaderboard, rankings, badges: stimulate a social and emotional reward that drives our deepest levels of engagement and problem solving.
– Fun (point to actual gameplay in center of screen): Before we go to school, we learn through play. We simulate the real world, or analogous situtions to discover what rules matter, what the problem is, and how to solve it.
– Collective intelligence: collaboration allows for the learning of soft skills, organization, as well as the solving of problems of massive scale.[for example, the creation of entire scale model worlds on minecraft, the creation of mods for shooters, or the challenging of a very powerful A.I. creature by an army of players in World of Warcraft.]
– Difficulty: Non-cognitive skills such as patience and discipline are developed in harder games. Such skills are greater indicators of success than pure IQ.
– Attention grabbing: A recent study confirmed that while primary school boys typically read below grade level, they read above grade level in gaming situtions. When allowed to choose what they read, they rapidly scanned text to figure out the ins and outs of an exciting game.
– Plot: Storytelling to catch a friend up on in-game developments.
– Bloom’s taxonomy is one of the best indicators of valuable instruction.
– Let’s see how video games measure up…
– Blooms taxonomy most general level: (1)Comprehension, (2)Application, (3)Knowledge, (4)Evaluation,(5) Synthesis,(6) Analysis.
– More specific level: (1)Explain, relate, describe, paraphrase, confirm, convert, match, infer, discuss, estimate, predict.
– (2)apply, modify, build, construct, solve, report, sketch, produce.
– (3)Draw, identify, locate, label, select, write, outline, list, recite, name, state, record, repeat.
– (4)solve, critique, criticize, appraise, assess, conclude, justify, judge.
– (5)combine, compose, design, generate, invent, plan, formulate, originate, devise, revise, hypothesize.
– (6)analyze, sort, catagorize, investigate, compare, debate, differentiate, examine.
– Super Mario Brothers: (1)(3)(6)
– Simcity: (1)(2)(3)(4)(5)(6)–(1),(4),(6) to lesser extents
– Sodaconstructor: (1)(2)(3)(4)(5)(6)
– Video games in school are touted for students’ not even knowing they’re learning. But is that what lifelong education is really about?
– “Unless you’ve experienced the climbing of the mountain, you can’t really know how to appreciate the view.”
Memory and Attention
– The brain selectively remembers, choosing the the most stimulating moments of the day. But what if students only remember gaming, and not the school? –New stimuli attracts the brain, introduce new stimuli every 10 minutes, or lose someone’s attention. <–schooling [end of spectrum] –Or continually introduce new stimuli, and they can be sucked in for hours. <–gaming [end of spectrum]
– They’re both useful, but only when balanced.
Stages of critical thinking:
– 1.)Unreflective thinker: Lacks knowledge that high level thinking requires assesssing thinking and thinking habits and improving them. Without being aware that application of good thinking habits is required, thinking habits are applied sporadically and arbitrarily.
– 2.)Challenged thinker: Aware that there are flaws in thinking patterns, application of concepts, best practices, but are not aware of many of their own.
– 3.)Beginning thinker: Sporadic monitering of thought.
– 4.)Practicing thinker: Beginning to apply universal habits for checking thinking. Can understand some egocentricity and sociocentricity.
– 5.)Advanced thinker: Can think well across important dimensions of their lives, but not all of them to same extent. Insightfully share pros and cons of their own point of view.
– 6.)Master thinker: Knowledge of the quality of their own thinking is outstanding. Rarely egocentric or sociocentric on important matters.
– The best thinkers learn about learning. Video games not framed in ways forcing students to think about efficiency, breadth of understanding, and approach to game success will not contribute to higher level thinking.
Difficulty with time management
– Adjectives: Intense, relentless, action, thrilling, instant, rewards.
– Problems with video games (addiction) exhibit similar symptoms to ADHD. Unsurprisingly, the previously listed stimuli are particularly potent distractions for students with ADHD.
– With ipads and gaming in schools, the American pediatric association’s recommendation of 1-2 hours in front of a screen a day becomes impossible.
– Video games can create bad habits, and don’t necessarily help to improve many students’ thinking. However, they’re also used to train surgeons, pilots, astronauts, and soldiers. As with most tech advances, it’s all in how you use it.