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This review is from: How Computer Games Help Children Learn (Hardcover)
In this book, Shaffer takes the conversation about games and their relevance to society in general, and for children's learning in particular, to a new level. In a world where standardized thinking is rapidly being encapsulated in machines or outsourced, he says, education ought to be about providing young people with opportunities to learn innovative ways of thinking.
Which is where computer games come in: these games "are significant because they let us think in new ways" (p.191).
While touring a variety of video and other games, the book is centrally concerned with a new kind of game called an "epistemic game." In these games, players physically take on professional roles, like that of an engineer or architect, and use computers (and mentors/peers) to identify and solve problems - to think - like professionals.
In each of its six chapters, the book explores a specific epistemic game, such as Digital Zoo (about engineering), through a particular professional dimension, such as the specific "Knowlege" or "Values" of an engineer. (Promising commercial games are discussed along similar lines at the end of each chapter as well.) As a result, the book moves easily back and forth between personal stories and impressive studies, helping readers connect solid research on game playing with important learning theories.
This book is a must read for anyone interested in games, learning, and compelling visions for how to transform education.