Kerry- Lee Beasley’s article Games-What exactly are kids learning? is an interesting read, pointing out that students can develop their literacy skills, creativity, critical thinking skills and social skills, through gaming. I wonder how long it will be before parents, educators and school administrators accept that carefully chosen games, included in the curriculum, can have good educational outcomes.
In his article “Why playing in the virtual world has a lot to teach children” Tom Chatfield points out that modern games don’t just offer “…a sullen and silent unreality” but players “are immersed in a world where they can experience difficulties, obligations, judgments and allegiances.” These are important experiences to be had but I wonder if young people are vulnerable to becoming too attached, or even addicted to, their games and what they have to offer.
This comment of Tom Chatfield appeals to me “A virtual world is a tremendous leveller in terms of wealth, age, appearance, ethnicity and such like – a crucial fact for anyone who isn’t in the optimum social category of being, say, attractive and affluent and aged between 20 and 35. It’s also a place where “you” are composed entirely of your words and actions…” Maybe this is what Jane McGonigal is thinking when she asks the question ” Why do we become the best version of ourselves in games?”
My only experience of “gaming” in the classroom is with using Mathletics. Students, particularly 7′s and 8′s love it. The lessons are usually noisy and the kids are excited, motivated and engaged. I have no doubt that games like Mathletics can enhance student learning learning.
I’ve really turned into a Web 2.0 junkie and want to share with you a program I found called Xtranormal. The free offerings can be accessed by downloading ” STATE” which allows you to make the movies on your computer. This has 1 scene, 2 actors and lots of sound effects. Teachers can have access to much more of the program by creating an account linked to a school. This program could be useful in the classroom for students to be creative, to understand speech and emotion in movie making, to be aware of movement in a 3D space, to learn about camera angles, script writing, story telling, IT skills….etc. Once familiar with the program perhaps they could think about designing a simple game.
I’m sure there are many more educational reasons to justify having fun with this program. I uploaded my video to Vimeo..hope it works.