Games are the new School
"Games development is slowly becoming a central and one of the largest global industries. Right after our basic human needs, where satisfaction and esteem start, and self-actualization follows, right there you will find games. It’s not news that games promise entertainment, and looking at cubs playing you can easily deduct the relationship between play and development, but it is becoming clearer that games are the key to learning and education...."

You are invited to share you view.

http://ortals.wordpress.com/2009/06/15/gamesnewschool/

Thanks.

Tags: education, games, learning, teaching

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I'm huge on the idea of games and education merging for many reasons. First and foremost is the amazing (sad perhaps) thought that kids do more thinking in games (both video and physical) than they do in most classrooms.
I agree that games are important to help solidify concepts and encourage more learning. I am taking a "teaching mathematics' course and we play around with manipulatives LOTS. I already feel like my math skills are coming back and I certainly wish I had learned about math with the help of manipulatives when I was in elementary school!
Today's games challenge students to think critically and creatively. These are the highest levels of Bloom's Taxonomy. As Kev says, it's sad that kids do more thinking in games than they do in most classrooms. It's not sad that they have to think in games; it's simply sad that schools have taken so long to borrow gaming theory to promote high quality learning.
Thank you for your comments. This is really important.
I wonder, how do you see games and education merge better?
I think the main reason kids might be thinking more in games than in the classroom is because the games, fantastic as they might be, are closer to the perceived "real life" than the classroom. Since kids today are more exposed to real life, and earlier than in the past, they seek "real life" challenges and that what triggers their thinking.
What do you think?
I agree. It's gives students more motivation to know what their working on is applicable to real life, it makes them want to take more ownership. Also a lot of games are multisensory, so it engages them more acutely. I'm quite impressed with Ollie Bray's innovative approaches to integrating technology in the classroom, where he uses Guitar Hero which spawns several different learning activities.

Here's more about Ollie's project:
http://blogs.msdn.com/teachers/archive/2009/03/02/award-winning-inn...
http://www.agent4change.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=a...
Thanks for the links. More reading material for me... :-)
Well, I'm on about page 30 of the book I started writing on the subject last Summer so I'll try to avoid restating the whole thing.

There is something to be said for games feeling "real" for sure but the fact is games are entirely unreal! A game is never more than a simulation which, by definition, is not a real experience. People do more thinking in games because they are actively involved in them - real or not. Motivation is key. Games are fun, fun is motivating, therefore we are willing to dedicate brain cycles to them.

Last night I was playing a variation of Uno with a friend of mine. I've played this game before and had some fun with it but nothing out of the ordinary. Last night though I played with someone next to me for the first time. My brain was lighting up more than it has in weeks (this variation of Uno actually requires strategy and quick thinking, not like the usual game) as I tried to keep up with the strategy of the game.

Why did I work harder this time than last time? I was simply having more fun. Games, because they are fun, can demand more from the player. We have "dumbed down" school not because kids today are less intelligent than before, in fact by most measures they are significantly moreso which, in my view, is actually the problem! I believe that intelligent brains seek out stimulation in progressively increasing amounts. As our collective intelligence grows, so does our innate desire for stimulation. Reading and bubbling answers are not particularly stimulating. The brain wants new experiences which games provide constantly.

Most school does not.
I see your point, Kev. I think I meant "real" in the sense of simulation, meaning, imitating real life situations. Of course they are not real... take FLYFF for instance. The "real" is the situations that require social interaction, or bargaining abilities, or sense of direction or use of a map or application of tools...
You are right of course - the issue is fun.
Let me ask this question:
Some people may say that our search for fun is a process of infantalizing... other would say we are simply returning to reality, after denying our natural need for entertainment. I'd vote for the latter. But then, what is it that made us deny the need for entertainment in the first place (and play "adults")? Why do some people feel ashamed or embarrassed to declare their need for fun?
Very Pertinent post, I come across a lot of information and reading material on this, and its worth think about.

As an Apple evangelist, and being fond of iPhone and iPod Touch, I see a great potential in the apps being used for kids in learning.

It is now an agreed and understood phenomenon that kids are more engaged, more disciplined and pay more attention when they have a device to play.

There are a lot of very useful educational iPhone apps for kids( K-3) which when used discretely can be very beneficial.

Shall post more links, if required.

Cheers

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