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After reading another round of James Gee, I must admit, I’m STILL not convinced that video games are the ideal learning scenario. After our class discussion, I realized that we do need to understand the draw of video games–rewards, the interactivity, the multi-layered approach–and figure out how to apply that to other educational opportunities. I recognize that video games appeal to some people and that we can tap into that appeal. So I read Gee with the hope of figuring out application. Unfortunately, Gee follows the same trajectory in this article as he did in his book. The underlying idea is that classrooms force learning or dumb things down, while video games empower learners by customizing identity, manipulating tools and knowledge, and providing authenticity and a sense of accomplishment. School is still seen as the big bad, boring, punishing authority which ruins education.
Gee does provide some insight into the learning style of some websites: the trigger of deep investment and time, the cycles of expertise, the empowerment of readjustment and situational use. He does not, however, link these skills with education. He simply presents them as binary differences. Unless there is a connection, I see little value.
On the other hand, Niall Ferguson’s article, “How to Win a War,” deals more profoundly with the connection of games and the study of history. His argument was slightly more persuasive to me–that history can be revitalized with technology. However, I believe that players must have a strong base knowledge in order to really succeed. They need to know the implications of the different countries, their politics and history, in order to take control and make decisions. This requires learning outside and previous to the game experience. Go school!
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