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What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy Hardcover – May 16, 2003
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"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 )
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That's not to say that every video game on the shelf will meet the above criteria, but as James Gee points points out: many do. After all, if they don't, they're out of business. In the meantime, our educational system could really benefit from picking up a few of the techniques described in this book - ever wonder why so many "ADHD students" can't sit still in class, but then spend hours concentrated on a video game? Perhaps it's not the students, but rather the method of delivery and the content itself? The book offers 36 principles that are often found in great games, and which can help us build both better classrooms and computer games -- or, even better, classrooms with engaging computer games.
This book is NOT a methods book. You will NOT learn techniques on how to design better games or better instruction. But you WILL learn how video games encourage deep learning (i.e., a deep understanding of the game and how to be successful) and develop critical thinking skills that players use to become successful at playing a specific game AND video games in general. You will learn that game designers deliberately develop deep learning and critical thinking skills, NOT to make players experts in zombies or war, but to set them up to be successful at playing the game and to have a great game playing experience. That gamers foster learning that develops self-esteem and self-efficacy through game play. Gee will also share his opinion of how the educational system might incorporate these elements in the classroom to foster critical thinking and deep learning of subject matter.
If you don't play video games, this book will give you insight in to the kind of learning that is deliberately encouraged in video games.
If you DO play video games, you'll develop an understanding of why the games you play are designed that way.
If you design instruction (or video games) you'll now have a framework and a vocabulary you can use to design and discuss those elements that make learning engaging and effective.
This books makes a great case for the principles of learning embedded in video games which are very very relevant in our knowledge intensive world.
It is no surprise that recently the corporate world is beginning to talk about "gamification" and "user experiences".
Highly recommended to anyone who cares about our education system!
He makes excellent points that I, and I am sure others, will relate to. Learning through hands-on experience can be so much more rewarding and long lasting, and the scenarios which video games players find themselves working within, activate situated cognition and social learning. In other words, Gee shows us how video games help players learn how to pick up on patterns, learn through the situations they engage within, and operate within a social network where they can synthesize their skills and strategies as a main character in the drama of the game. What I have learned from reading this book is how transformative video game learning can be as compared to passive or outside experience of, for example, listening to a teacher lecture, because players can actually become one of the characters and therefore activate higher levels of learning.
He does mention the issues of violence and gender (how women are depicted) in video games (an area of concern for parents and educators), and in that chapter he briefly provides readers some research based evidence to consider on the effects of violence and gender issues on players. I understand that he is asking readers to re-consider pop culture's sometimes overblown concerns of video gaming, and take a good look at really what is really going on in video games.
It is a fascinating read and it has caused me to reconsider the hours my teens spend on their video games. Although balance is neccesary, I am priming myself to not be so judgemental in my thinking that they are just "wasting their time" and not being productive. There is more going on than I ever realized!