Changing the world by gaming. One kid at the time?

Recently returned from the Games+Learning+Society conferance I find myself quite motivated to think about games in a different way. Not in terms of theory or definition, but in terms of how they can be used.

Taking one step further from arguing how games can teach us something, it was great to see how games were actually used as a context for learning.  Why just argue that virtual spaces are filled with learning, when you can show it?

At risk teens: Learning with the Lich King

A project that inspired me greatly was afterschool programs for teenages where online games such as World of Warcraft to get them engaged in different types of problem solving and advancing literacies. By building upon the existing game design in which being knowledgable is supported and rewarded, these virtual game spaces become sites where kids can learn in a different way.

In many ways, these game spaces have qualities that the classroom is trying hard to construct. Such as difficulty changing based on individual performance, ensuring that tasks are “just right” in terms of challenge. The game gives distinct feedback if you are doing it right, and you can keep on trying to get it right.

By using these game spaces, instead of a classroom, the idea of learning gets reframed. The students enjoy themselves and are allowed to see learning as something enjoyable. The teens will voluntarely read up on guides and sites in order to get better at the game, and will engage themselves in how to manage resources and fellow players.

What I want to do about it?

I wish to try this out myself. Not quite sure where to start yet, but as far as I know there is nothing like this happening in Norway. So the next step would be to find some partners for this. Do you know someone?

Read more: Abstract from a session, paper based on after school program by Constance Steinkuehler. Well worth reading!

69 thoughts on “Changing the world by gaming. One kid at the time?

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