Thursday, February 26, 2015

GOOD VIDEO GAMES AND GOOD LEARNING

James Paul Gee
Tashia Morgridge
Professor of Reading
University of Wisconsin-Madison Madison, WI 53706
jgee@education.wisc.edu

I played my first video game four years ago when my six-year-old son Sam was playing Pajama Sam: No Need to Hide When It’s Dark Outside.
In Pajama Sam, child “super-hero” Sam—mine and the virtual one—goes off to the “Land of Darkness” to find and capture “Darkness” in a lunch pail and thereby alleviate fear of the dark.
Darkness turns out to be a big lonely softie who just needs a playmate.

I wanted to play the game so I could support Sam’s problem solving.
Though Pajama Sam is not an “educational game”, it is replete with the types of problems psychologists study when they study thinking and learning.
When I saw how well the game held Sam’s attention, I wondered what sort of beast a more mature video game might be.
I went to a store and arbitrarily picked a game, The New Adventures of the Time Machine—perhaps, it was not so arbitrary, as I was undoubtedly reassured by the association with H. G. Wells and literature.
As I confronted the game I was amazed.

Read more here

Teaching Your Kid to Read? Let Her Play Minecraft


The first time linguist and game studies theorist James Gee played a video game, he failed many times over. But instead of giving up, he merrily persevered, choosing to exercise “learning muscles” he hadn’t worked out since his grad school days. “Lots of young people pay lots of money to engage in an activity that is hard, long, and complex,” he realized. Games were evidence that humans love learning. But why do they seem to love it more during Minecraft than in the classroom?
Read more here