We’re not fooling them any more…

Posted by Laura on Apr 8, 2016

I this there have been some really interesting ideas put forward in both the article and the video about the use of gaming in education and the link between the two.

In the video Matthew Peterson introduces his way of visual learning through gaming. I found his idea of wordless games that are intuitive and encourage exploration to be more like puzzles. Some may argue that puzzles are one type of game however, I feel that perhaps this could be a simple re-branding of something we’ve seen before and something students have been bored of before. I also have questions about how far this kind of wordless learning can take you. As he points out, part of the learning journey is talking about what you have learned and what comes afterwards, but can all of the concepts of higher mathematics really be explained without words. I know for sure I have read some maths papers and merely reading the numbers make no sense, it is in fact the running commentary that tells the story of the topic and deepens my understanding.

I also found many of the “games” on Manga High very disappointing. To pass them of as puzzles or games I think is very misleading when in reality they seem to be a series of questions to be answered against the clock. Really what is the difference here between doing this on a computer and reading a questions out of a textbook of from a sheet and answering it in a timed situation?

Here I think lies part of the problem with gaming in education. For so long the idea of what educational games are or could be have been clouded by traditional methods, brought up from textbooks and twisted to fit with a interactive, digital platform to fool children into thinking that it’s something other than the norm. Developers have been relying on the “Ooh, it’s on a computer, it must be exciting” reaction of students that was certainly standard a decade ago. I wonder though, in this age of computers where nearly everyone in the UK has a home computer and most have in their pockets a device more powerful than the first space explorations if simply the fact that technology is playing a part is enough. I don’t think it is. Students are done with technology for the sake of it. They see what we are doing when we regurgitate material in digital form and try and pass it of as something new. They see it and they are tired of it.

This is why I think there is a lot to be said for Gee’s ideas about the learning that takes place whilst gaming. We know from the new curriculum that problem solving will take a bigger part in student’s learning and I think this should be viewed as an ideal opportunity to not only readjust how gaming and education can work together, but to completely rewrite the book.

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