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Games, not schools are teaching kids.
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Tue May 30, 2006 1:29 pm Reply and quote this post
Quote:
The US spends almost $50 billion each year on education, so why aren't kids learning? Forty percent of students lack basic reading skills, and their academic performance is dismal compared with that of their foreign counterparts. In response to this crisis, schools are skilling-and-drilling their way "back to basics," moving toward mechanical instruction methods that rely on line-by-line scripting for teachers and endless multiple-choice testing. Consequently, kids aren't learning how to think anymore - they're learning how to memorize. This might be an ideal recipe for the future Babbitts of the world, but it won't produce the kind of agile, analytical minds that will lead the high tech global age. Fortunately, we've got Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Deus X for that.

After school, kids are devouring new information, concepts, and skills every day, and, like it or not, they're doing it controller in hand, plastered to the TV. The fact is, when kids play videogames they can experience a much more powerful form of learning than when they're in the classroom. Learning isn't about memorizing isolated facts. It's about connecting and manipulating them. Doubt it? Just ask anyone who's beaten Legend of Zelda or solved Morrowind.

The phenomenon of the videogame as an agent of mental training is largely unstudied; more often, games are denigrated for being violent or they're just plain ignored. They shouldn't be. Young gamers today aren't training to be gun-toting carjackers. They're learning how to learn. In Pikmin, children manage an army of plantlike aliens and strategize to solve problems. In Metal Gear Solid 2, players move stealthily through virtual environments and carry out intricate missions. Even in the notorious Vice City, players craft a persona, build a history, and shape a virtual world. In strategy games like WarCraft III and Age of Mythology, they learn to micromanage an array of elements while simultaneously balancing short- and long-term goals. That sounds like something for their r鳵m鳮

The secret of a videogame as a teaching machine isn't its immersive 3-D graphics, but its underlying architecture. Each level dances around the outer limits of the player's abilities, seeking at every point to be hard enough to be just doable. In cognitive science, this is referred to as the regime of competence principle, which results in a feeling of simultaneous pleasure and frustration - a sensation as familiar to gamers as sore thumbs. Cognitive scientist Andy diSessa has argued that the best instruction hovers at the boundary of a student's competence. Most schools, however, seek to avoid invoking feelings of both pleasure and frustration, blind to the fact that these emotions can be extremely useful when it comes to teaching kids.

Also, good videogames incorporate the principle of expertise. They tend to encourage players to achieve total mastery of one level, only to challenge and undo that mastery in the next, forcing kids to adapt and evolve. This carefully choreographed dialectic has been identified by learning theorists as the best way to achieve expertise in any field. This doesn't happen much in our routine-driven schools, where "good" students are often just good at "doing school."

How did videogames become such successful models of effective learning? Game coders aren't trained as cognitive scientists. It's a simple case of free-market economics: If a title doesn't teach players how to play it well, it won't sell well. Game companies don't rake in $6.9 billion a year by dumbing down the material - aficionados condemn short and easy games like Half Life: Blue Shift and Devil May Cry 2. Designers respond by making harder and more complex games that require mastery of sophisticated worlds and as many as 50 to 100 hours to complete. Schools, meanwhile, respond with more tests, more drills, and more rigidity. They're in the cognitive-science dark ages.

We don't often think about videogames as relevant to education reform, but maybe we should. Game designers don't often think of themselves as learning theorists. Maybe they should. Kids often say it doesn't feel like learning when they're gaming - they're much too focused on playing. If kids were to say that about a science lesson, our country's education problems would be solved.


James Paul Gee, a reading professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is the author of 'What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy'.

Contributed by Editorial Team, Executive Management Team
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Wed Jun 07, 2006 8:16 am Reply and quote this post
I wonder what kids learn by GTA, high jack cars? Drive cars?

Oo

Contributed by Jakob, Executive Management Team
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Tue Jun 13, 2006 2:37 pm Reply and quote this post
Andurion wrote:
I wonder what kids learn by GTA, high jack cars? Drive cars?

Oo


Every game has got problem solving skills in it, even GTA.

Also, this may also be due to the fact that school's dont educate people, but most just show people how to pass exams.

Contributed by Cube, iVirtua Active Member
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Tue Jun 13, 2006 7:33 pm Reply and quote this post
if games have taught me anything, it's good micro.  The greatest real benefit in my life is probably when I'm driving, I can see and react to things far faster than if I had never played video games in my life.
Contributed by Gprime, iVirtua Recognised Member
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Tue Jun 13, 2006 10:57 pm Reply and quote this post
Yeah, I think that reactions have been proven to improve due to computer games. That's why soldiers often train on simulators (which basically is a game) to improve reaction time.
Contributed by Andy, Editorial, Marketing & Services Team
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Wed Jun 14, 2006 5:58 am Reply and quote this post
Games teach you unique skills, hand eye coordination and all that, but it does indeed just show that Schools just teach people to jump through hoops.
Contributed by Editorial Team, Executive Management Team
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Wed Jun 14, 2006 7:14 am Reply and quote this post
Well, best person I know at CS (the one I told you about once, Sam) has crap hand-eye co-ordination. He only learnt to ride a bike at 13, and tie his laces at 14 or something.
Contributed by Andy, Editorial, Marketing & Services Team
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Wed Jun 14, 2006 9:13 am Reply and quote this post
I don't want to be a saint: the games tought me only the English.
Contributed by Chocho, iVirtua Recognised Member
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Sat Jun 17, 2006 1:46 pm Reply and quote this post
I don't really know if games taught me anything. Unlike most kids of today I actually tryed to grow up right. I followed the rules payed attention in school got my high school deploma and learned valuable job skills that will continue to help me for the rest of my life.
Contributed by Thomas Lohse, iVirtua Ultimate Contributor
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Sun Jun 18, 2006 12:19 pm Reply and quote this post
Quote:
Also, this may also be due to the fact that school's dont educate people, but most just show people how to pass exams.  


Schools teach you how to learn, and how to learn effectively. They also teach you fundamental skills, such as reading, problem solving, confidence, speaking, listening, comprehension and enhance basic knowledge. The majority of people who do not go to school will have difficulty learning, because their minds have not been stimulated and developed in the way that schools promote.

I do agree, however, that schools do show people how to pass exams. When it gets to core subjects like Maths and English Language, however, it is up to the individual's skill (which they have practised and refined in school) to decide whether the exam is passed or not. Students cannot simply 'regurgitate' anything for Maths or English (they might in a science exam, however) - focus in these exams is on the student's ability to solve a new problem, with old skills.

You will also find that many many gamers are not particularly smart - most games are made to be beaten. If a game is too hard, it will not be completed as easily, and will not sell as well. In summary, games have taught be next to nothing - I use them simply for enjoyment.

Contributed by Andy, Editorial, Marketing & Services Team
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Tue Jun 20, 2006 4:58 am Reply and quote this post
Andreyevich wrote:
I do agree, however, that schools do show people how to pass exams. When it gets to core subjects like Maths and English Language, however, it is up to the individual's skill (which they have practised and refined in school) to decide whether the exam is passed or not. Students cannot simply 'regurgitate' anything for Maths or English (they might in a science exam, however) - focus in these exams is on the student's ability to solve a new problem, with old skills.


I passed English and English Literature at GCSE with a B and a C, which was mainly due to "examination technique" and "luck". Also, Science is not a subject one can simple "regurgitate", as it (mainly physics) involves a lot of maths.

But I do agree, some gamers don't learn anything from games. It depends on the way you play them.

Contributed by Cube, iVirtua Active Member
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Tue Jun 20, 2006 9:18 am Reply and quote this post
I passed ICT A* GCSE (found out today ) and I got A in English language, I'm doing ICT for A Level and English, Geography and Physics.
I didn't really learn anything from games as such, but I am self-taught all the way in Adobe Photoshop, and computers in General, my dad is course leader on a degree course in photograhy and my family is in to business and technology. Well, I guess it is good being in the Industry, and I have contacts too, one thing you can't learn from games, social and communication skills, which are invaluable in technology and business.

Contributed by Editorial Team, Executive Management Team
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