Tag Archives: James Paul Gee

Play to Educate?

28 Feb

I have seen my brother play on xbox Live for countless hours a day. All of my friends play on xbox Live and in reality, do I think they are learning anything from it? My first reaction is probably not. But, I would be wrong.  They are learning something from playing video games. They are learning strategies and developing a different way of thinking.

Schools have developed this way of learning “content”. I put content in quotes because we think of content as information that comes out of a text book. James Paul Gee the author of What Video Games Have to Teach Us says:

“Consider, for a moment, basketball as a domain. No one would want to treat basketball as “content” apart from the game itself. Imagine a textbook that contained all the facts and rules about basketball read by students who never played or watched the game. How well do you think they would understand this textbook? How motivated to understand it do you think they would be? But we do this sory of thing all the time in school with areas like math and science” (22-23).

Let me put this in plain terms, teach students by problem solving and experience. We should not be teaching them by what some call the “skill and drill” way. Video games are problem solving machines. If you play any video game it is all about how do I get around the obstacle a head of me. Why can’t we adapt this way of thinking into our schools.

Now, I am not saying that we should play COD in the classroom. I am saying though that we should consider having more problems solving ways of learning. Why can’t students have adventures when they go to school? Did you know that the way preschoolers learn is by exploration and discovery, also known as play. Who said that adults cannot learn by play anymore? Of course you would have to adapt it to a different kind of play.

Before I start rabbling on I want to finish with one statement. America is in a creativity crisis because of the “skill and drill” method of teaching. When Newsweek wrote an article about the creativity crisis last Fall (2010) they were quick to blame video games. Video games are doing the opposite, they are exploring creativity. To read more about the creativity crisis you can check out the following links.

http://www.raphkoster.com/2010/07/12/games-and-the-creativity-crisis/

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2010/07/10/the-creativity-crisis.html

http://www.readwriteweb.com/start/2010/07/technology-the-american-creati.php