Entering the Arena – Game On!

Not learning is not me, I have to be constantly learning and so I have started a MOOC on Games-based learning.  I am very interested in this area of education as educators strive to reach new heights in technology innovation.  We’ve been playing games for centuries in one form or another but they have not received due recognition in the education arena.

Like the person who is still yelling after the sudden cessation of loud music at a party, DGBL proponents have been shouting to be heard above the prejudice against games. But now, unexpectedly, we have everyone’s attention. (1)

The quote above sums it up… games are here!  I don’t have much experience with online virtual gaming worlds but the population of users in Second Life, World of Warcraft and Minecraft are growing rapidly.  Games on Facebook are viral as well with a suite of games from Zynga such as Words with Friends and Hanging with Friends, as well as other games like Song Pop and Draw Something.  Facebook has also entered the world of virtual gaming with Sims, Farmville to name a few.  The growth of gaming is obvious.

So, what do I hope to learn in my quest on Games-based learning (GBL)?  I hope to learn about the principles and practices that rule over GBL and how they can be applied into course design to engage and motivate students more.  I hope to learn more about playing in the world of GBL as well and am pretty sure I will get hooked so watch out lol…

This is a great presentation that I watched from Dr James Paul Gee on Games for Change and its full of quotable goodness.  There is also a great Slideshare presentation that addresses what serious gaming is.

I love this advocacy statement below too:

Computer video games are an emerging instructional medium offering strong degrees of cognitive efficiencies for experiential learning, team building, and greater understanding of abstract concepts. (2)

Rice, who pens the above quote in his paper ‘New Media Resistance: Barriers to Implementation of Computer Video Games in the Classroom’ goes one to detail common barriers in the take-up of GBL in education.  They can include, but are certainly not limited to: few pedagogically appropriate games, a lack of understanding between different games, the dense nature of gaming interfaces, and of course the idea that gaming is fun and therefore not learning.

There may still be much to tackle in the run to get a ground-breaking GBL goal, consistently integrating aspects of GBL into more teaching and learning opportunities but its on the up…its heading towards Mayfair, and then its past Go… so game on! 🙂

1. R. Van Eck, “Digital Game-Based Learning: It’s Not Just the Digital Natives Who Are Restless,” EDUCAUSE Review, Vol. 41, No. 2.

2.  Rice, J. (2006). New Media Resistance: Barriers to Implementation of Computer Video Games in the Classroom. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association. San Fransico, CA.


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