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What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan; 1 edition (May 16, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1403961697
  • ISBN-13: 978-1403961693
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,220,681 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"[Gee is] a serious scholar who is taking a lead in an emerging field."--Scott Carlson, Chronicle of Higher Education
"Am I a bad parent for letting [my child] play video games at 4? Not at all, according to Gee."--Jim Louderback, USA Weekend Magazine
"Rather than be reined in, today's successful game designers should be recognized as modern masters of learning theory..."--Mike Snider, Cincinnati Enquirer
"...an astoundingly insightful manifesto on teaching and learning..."--Michael Hoechsmann, McGill Journal of Education
"Gee astutely points out that for video game makers, unlike schools, failing to engage children is not an option."--Terrence Hackett, Chicago Tribune
"Gee...says the most challenging games prod players to push the boundaries of their skills and to adapt..."--Shannon Mullen, Asbury Park Press
"These games succeed because, according to Gee, they gradually present information that is actually needed to perform deeds."--Norman A. Lockman, USA Today
"...Gee suggests that...schools...are 'in the cognitive-science dark ages.'"--Jeffery Kurz, Meriden-Wallingford Record-Journal


"Gee.says the most challenging games prod players to push the boundaries of their skills and to adapt.." (Shannon Mullen Asbury Park Press )

"Gee astutely points out that for video game makers, unlike schools, failing to engage children is not an option." (Terrence Hackett Chicago Tribune )

"These games succeed because, according to Gee, they gradually present information that is actually needed to perform deeds." (Norman A. Lockman USA Today )

About the Author

James Paul Gee is one of the most well-known professors of education in the United States. He teaches at the University of Wisconsin, Madison and is the author of several books.

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Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

It is imperative for people interested in these things to read this book.
Jack Sindoni
This book, "What Video Games Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy" by James Paul Gee is a very good book.
Joey Wreck
There are so many poorly written or incorrectly written sentences that should have been caught and corrected.
Jason

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

70 of 74 people found the following review helpful By Miles Jacob on May 16, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I read through the entire book today, enthralled that an academic of the same generation as my parents finally "got" what made videogames (focusing on action, adventure, and rpg games) a fascinating medium both for players and creators. Furthermore, the author was then able to apply this knowledge to his area of expertise, educational theory. I knew videogames could be art, I knew that as simulations they could be political, but I never quite saw what seems to me perfectly obvious now, that good videogames of almost every variety teach us how to think and learn, and that they do this much better than our school system.
This book should be loved by anyone with a strong interest in videogame theory or educational theory, as it impressively doesn't simplify either area to fit the demands of the other.
I also applaud the organization of the book, as each section centers around a few key concepts of educational theory which are repeated in the appendix giving everyone who has read the book an easy way to recall the '36 learning principles'.
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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Marjee on November 9, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a science teacher, I have asked myself (as Gee points out...many teachers and parents do) why it is that the same students who sit listlessly in my classroom will go home and spend upwards of 8 hours engaged in frusterating video-game play.
Gee effectively answers this question and makes a strong case in favor of video games being more akin to agents of learning (like recreational reading) as opposed to mindless entertainment (like really dumb movies).
Videogames are an interesting window through which we can study issues such as learning theory, motivation, and development of expertise. Fellow game players will recognize themselves in Gee's descriptions of what makes games so compelling, and nonplayers will be surprised by how far games have come since PacMan. I recomend this book to parents, administrators, and anyone else interested in education.
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57 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Will Jordan on January 31, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The book is primarily a criticism of 'traditional' school-based learning methodologies, using observations of children playing video games and the author's own play sessions as representative examples of the 36 principles of good learning he describes. He uses primarily 3d shooters and RPGs as his examples of 'good' video games (meaning that they encourage learning things about and within the world of the game). The author defines and conceptualizes his principles of learning and contrasts it with the school-based education process, noting the vast differences between the two. On this topic of criticism of school-based education, the author makes a strong argument.
His second argument, that these principles missing in school are demonstrably present in video games, is very vague and unfulfilling. The author often stresses elements of learning that can easily be found everywhere in life and social activity and in other forms of media, not just in video games. One point he makes in the middle of the book about incremental difficulty and the player's dynamic 'regime of competence' was a good topic consistent with video game design (although easily found in other places, such as golf handicaps), but it was not good enough to warrant his emphasis on video games in the other ~150 pages of the book. He repeatedly mentions that kids enjoy playing video games but don't enjoy learning in school and suggests that school should be like playing a video game, but he leaves it at that.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jack Sindoni on August 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
Video game sales exceed the movie industry's annual box office draw, now by a significant margin. The popularity and sophistication of today's video games demonstrate an important modern phenomenon. This is the admixture of information and entertainment. Many people-particularly young people-now get their "news" from non traditional sources-often associated with entertainment. Players of video games elicit information about their world from video games. War games, action adventures, sports games, even role playing games actually (even if sometimes inadvertently or as an unintended result) teach.

As the author of this book points out, they have to. Otherwise, players would not learn to play quickly enough or well enough to become proficient enough to enjoy the game. Furthermore, players must learn unobtrusively. They have to learn without it seeming a chore-and they certainly are not going to read or spend a lot of practice time. Given how important sequels are in the video game industry, failure to learn and to enjoy a first game results in lost sales for many games.

What Gee is really getting at is "just in time learning" and "learning in place." When you juxtapose the sorry state of our public school system with the importance of video games as a milieu for learning, gaining experience, and obtaining information, you see this is a serious subject.

It is imperative for people interested in these things to read this book. This book is well written. The author has a feel for the subject because he has a passion for gaming and a sincere interest in "gamers"-who, to him, are "students."

I have read a number of Gee's other works-aimed at academics, and I am very happy to see that this book is accessible to a popular audience.
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