Jenny Reeder

I choose my own interactivity…
April 9, 2007, 2:24 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’m a huge believer in interactivity. I buy into Web 2.0 and its blessings on the twenty-first century. I love the idea of opensourcing and networking. But I also like to pick and choose my own interactivity. I was intrigued with Laura’s reaction to the readings and site visits. I posted my comment to her blog here. I liked what Karin had to say about transferring skills used in Myst design to virtual museums.

That said, I’ll admit it: I’m not a fan of video games. Don’t get me wrong: I love playing cards–I can play a mean game of Nertz and I’ll be honest: I love Canasta. I also enjoy an occasional game of online Sudoku. But I am not a believer in video games. I went into my reading of James Paul Gee’s What Video Games Have to Teach Us with this attitude, and I’m sure it colored my opinion of the book. I found myself right there with the grandfather who questioned the six-year-old playing video games–I, too, responded with “Quit wasting your time!” And I honestly never recovered. I did learn that there are several different ways to learn, and that video games can provide a different learning environment, but I just don’t buy into the transfer of cognitive skills to the classroom or into life. I want to see a study that actually transfers these skills into some other genre beyond video games.  (In all fairness, I did mention my opinion to a orthopedic resident friend of mine yesterday, and he convinced me that video games can improve motor skills for laproscopic surgery.) And maybe it’s partly because I’m just not very good at video games–my eight-year-old nephew can beat me at Mario Kart any day. But I really don’t care. I want to spend my time on something where I can see an end result beyond listing my name as a top scorer. I want to show something for my time–even if it’s an intelligent conversation. See my reactions to Maureen’s post here.

That said, I think it comes down to the fact that there are several different kinds of learners, and just as many different means of interaction on the web. I think interaction can also link academic interests, or art, or music, or quilts for that matter. There is a different niche for everyone–and video games is just one example. As for me and my time, I choose others.


2 Comments so far
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I’m not a gamer, either.

I blame it on my parents– when I was a little kid, they’d take me out to restaurants and other places and let me “play video games”– without ever inserting a quarter. How they never thought this was a bad idea for an awkward kid with poor hand-eye coordination is beyond me.

But yeah, I find it a hard format to work with, too. Myst V feels like repeatedly getting my teeth kicked in.

That said, I think there are interactive, computer-based “game” types that may be better suited for learning– not just for kids like us, who find ourselves perpetually falling into pits and getting hit with turtle shells on level one, but better in general for real, active learning. I go into this in my journal post, which should be up in the next hour or so… please, feel free to stop by and read it– I’d love some feedback.

Comment by Tad

Jenny, and Tad…I hardly consider myself a ‘gamer’, but I do see how these types of devices need to be carefully used to get history to appeal to those who to like and understand them. I remember going to the American Presidents exhibit at the American History museum a few years ago and had to stand in line to answer some poll questions. At our museum, the gallery How Things Fly has more manual activities, but people STILL line up for them. I think Jenny keyed in on the right issue…people learn in different ways. Not ALL kids play video games, and not all adults prefer to read a book. We just have to adapt our teaching and understanding of learning to be more thoughtful about how different people perceive and process historical information.

Comment by Jennifer Levasseur

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