We are going to talk about Musical Video games in this presentation, but I want to talk about a few other, less “fun” and less positive issues first.
The International Student Assessment (PISA) report, ranked the United States 14th out of 34 OECD countries for reading skills, 17th for science and a below-average 25th for mathematics.
House Education and Labor Chairman George Miller (D-Calif.) gave the country's school system an F."Average won't help us regain our global role as a leader in education. Average won't help our students get the jobs of tomorrow. Average is the status quo and it's failing our country," Miller said in a statement following the release our our average rating.
Every school day, more than 7,200 students fall through the cracks of America's public high schools. Three out of every 10 members of a graduating class, 1.3 million students in all, will fail to graduate with a diploma. The effects of this graduation crisis fall disproportionately on the nation’s most vulnerable youths and communities. A majority of non-graduates are members of historically disadvantaged minorities and other educationally underserved groups. They are more likely to attend school in large, urban districts. And they come disproportionately from communities challenged by severe poverty and economic hardship.
It’s not just education in general that is failing, music education appears to be at the forefront of the assault on courses that are not directly involved in high-stakes testing. (The work of my graduate student Don Shade has highlighted some of the perceived impact of testing that has left Music education in this country in crisis. His review of literature found the following): A study of music education programs in California, Researchers who surveyed 1,123 music educators in 13 districts involving 31 schools found that between fall of 2000 and spring of 2006, the number of students enrolled in music dropped from 820,000 to 520,000. The California Department of Education Demographics Unit produced data reporting that during the five-year period from fall 1999 – spring 2004, while California’s public school student population increased by 5.8%, the number of students involvement in music education classes declined by 50%. This decline represented a loss of 512,366 students statewide.
For years now the national music education community has sought remedies for this crisis. Music educators realize that they need to be relevant or they will be extinct. The main suggested remedy is expansion of courses – alternative approaches, if you will, and as is the title of the text I edited on this topic. The primary ideas that stem from this way of thinking is and expansion of courses provided to students, such as courses and ensembles focused on world and popular musics; expansions of general music courses based on musical doing, thoughtful listening, physical movements, and instrument playing. While this has been the catalyst for change, I now question if it is change enough? I fear if we stop here, with these subtle acts of subversion, we may end up with the mentality of “More ensembles, just “different”, and more general music, just “different”.
I believe expansion of the curriculum good for the profession and may very well get student’s enrolled in music classes, make music programs more valuable in individual school buildings and, make school music, to some degree, more interesting to modern students. However, it is not the “newness” of these different kinds of classes that will lead to true rejuvenation of school music, it is the change in the paradigm of music learning and teaching, that will make the biggest impact. Something that is naturally inherent in these kinds of curricular changes, but has yet to become the central focus of change.Several have paved a way for thinking differently about the process of learning and teaching, but I believe it’s just the first step in dramatic, near polar, change that must occur if we want to be relevant in children’s lives. In the strongest of these alternative ensembles and courses there is a shift in teaching and learning, resulting in more than cosmetic change or the music sung or played or studied. These are the classrooms where teachers are facilitators and students have control and create their own learning.
What kind of deep change am I talking about – a game based paradigm of teaching and learning. One that profoundly effects the player and has real world results that cause social change. Here is one such example from outside of music. It was released in 2011. SHOW VIDEO…..This game has gone on to win the 2011 Best Apps Ever award and has saved the struggling village of KapirAtiira in Uganda, from absolute poverty, starvation, and malaria deaths. They are now building wells, schools, and a sustainable infrastructure. The game is now expanding to other villages.We’ve all played games like this before, but nearly any of us had any idea that a simple platform idea such as a “Farmville” could save peoples lives. It easy to understand that as humans, helping people feels good – seeing the evidence of your contributions, which is part of what this game does, is amazing – but why are people really playing the game? Would they be play it if it wasn’t a good game? NO. So what makes it a good game? what makes it worth playing? What makes it worth peoples free time, their attention and their money? Do these questions sound familiar? They are the same questions we need to be asking ourselves if we want to build a sustainable future for music education in the schools. What is good about it? What makes it worth peoples time, their attention and their money? It’s beyond simply feeling “good” because people should genuinely care about the arts and an arts education, but it’s not because “,music makes you smarter” either. That’s like saying contributing to end world hunger makes you a better humanitarian – that’s not why people give. The reason music should exist in the school is because people can’t live without it, and to make it this relevant in the school to most people has to do with the deepest layers of how it is presented/created how the music is actually taught and learned – which is all we really have as music educators anyways.(This means something to the world. What do we mean to the world when we participate in musical doing? What value does a classroom music experience have in terms of really meaningful life endeavors.)How do we do this in a music classroom? Now – don’t give me wrong, giving feel good and we as teacher and musicians give all the time – to our communities, to our schools, to our students- the question I am proposing is how do we get the
I have spent the past few years thinking heavily about these weighty issues. Today’s presentation is an example of one way I foresee the revolution of music education’s relevancy in schools and in lives of children.
Let’s do this quickly through 5 specific points
This is the image of a game player who is about to fail. You can see his eyes opened wide, he’s taking in a big breath, you can imagine his heart is pounding - he’s not going to make it. Resent research shows that to truly learn a task you need to fail at it 50 times. This appears to be an extremely high percentage of the time, but if you reflect back on your rehearsing through the years you can see how quickly the repetitions can add up. That said, the average rate of failure in video games is 80% of the time.I believe the study of games, which is really the study of modern learning is the key to renewal of music education, education in general and, not to be overly dramatic, it can and will change the planet and solve the world’s problems, if we let it.Speaking specifically first to music education. A “game based paradigm of learning” will cause the reconstruction of music classes from the inside out – not the outside in which is the trap we can easily fall into of simply replacing one kind of music class with another one – such as mariachi for orchestra. It can cause change in any music classroom, regardless of title, type, or timbre. Implementation of a game based paradigm will not only revitalize music in American schools, but also reignite student interest in school as a whole. What we really need to do is stop focusing so much attention of what we teach and start focusing on how we teach. This may also sound familiar, but shouldn’t education be constantly reinventing itself, just as culture does.
James Gee states that for humans, learning is like food and sex it’s a deep pleasure. The paradox is how does school kill that instinct. In terms of evolution, if you have no capacity to learn you wouldn’t be with us, because learning at it’s best is a joy and a pleasure, just asin this picture of on the verge of an “epic win”. It’s really only in schools that people can find it a pain. But we know joy in learning can be revived because the commercial gaming industry and other popular culture idioms have found a way to make learning profitable. In the right setting you recover this primordial pleasure that humans find in learning.
Games are serious business. In 2010, more than 57,000 gamers were listed as co-authors for a research paper in the prestigious scientific journal Nature. The gamers—with no previous background in biochemistry—had worked in a 3D game environment called Foldit, folding virtual proteins in new ways that could help cure cancer or prevent Alzheimer's. The game was developed by scientists at the University of Washington who believed that gamers could outperform supercomputers at this creative task—and the players proved them right, beating the supercomputers at more than half of the game's challenges.
We often think of immersive computer and videogames—like "FarmVille," ‘Guitar Hero" and "World of Warcraft"—as "escapist," a kind of passive retreat from reality. Many critics consider such games a mind-numbing waste of time, if not a corrupting influence. But the truth about games is very nearly the opposite. This is the game Portal which is a first person puzzle platform based on Newton’s laws of momentum redirection.In today's society, they consistently fulfill genuine human needs that the real world fails to satisfy. More than that, they may prove to be a key resource for solving some of our most pressing real-world problems.
Who is playing games?Well, Farmville, at it’s most popular point, had a player population of Germany, the 15th largest nation in the world - 1.2 % of the world was playing it.
Hundreds of millions of people around the globe are already devoting larger and larger chunks of time to this alternate reality. Collectively, we spend three billion hours a week gaming. In the United States, where there are 183 million active gamers, videogames took in about $15.5 billion last year. And though a typical gamer plays for just an hour or two a day, there are now more than five million "extreme" gamers in the U.S. who play an average of 45 hours a week. To put this in perspective, the number of hours that gamers world-wide have spent playing "World of Warcraft" alone….. (next slide)
….adds up to 5.93 million years – the length of human civilization on this planet.
Current Research reveals that 63% of two years olds are playing video games. By the time the average American graduates from high school at the age of 18 they will have played approximately 10,000 hours of games in their lifetime, which is a very interesting number as 10,080 is the average number of hours an American child will be in school by the time the graduate high school. What we have happening in this country, is a completely separate track of “out of school” education occurring – and that is gaming. Gaming, in most households, is not required – it’s completely a matter of choice. Learning by choice – isn’t that what we want in all classes at school?
What does a good game do for us?In a good game, we feel blissfully productive. We have clear goals and a sense of heroic purpose. More important, we're constantly able to see and feel the impact of our efforts on the virtual world around us. As a result, we have a stronger sense of our own agency—and we are more likely to set ambitious real-life goals. One recent study found, for example, that players of "Guitar Hero" are more likely to pick up a real guitar and learn how to play it. When we play, we also have a sense of urgent optimism. We believe whole-heartedly that we are up to any challenge, and we become remarkably resilient in the face of failure. Although a gamer spends 80% of their time failing, they don’t giving up, they stick with the difficult challenge and use the feedback of the game to get better. With some effort, we can learn to apply this resilience to the real-world challenges we face.Games make it easy to build stronger social bonds with our friends and family. Studies show that we like and trust someone better after we play a game with them—even if they beat us. And we're more likely to help someone in real life after we've helped them in an online game.
One of the most crucial elements in this game based paradigm of learning, that is very problematic with schools is, in this type of learning there needs to be a relatively low cost of failure. A video game realizes that if the price of failure is too high you won’t explore you wont take risks, you won’t try new things, you get uptight, you think in very narrow ways. So they have to lower to cost of failure. In many games you die and you go back to the most recent save, so there is a price but it’s low enough that it says to you, why don’t you take some risks. Why don’t you explore everything, why don’t you re-think your goal. Why don’t you try a new style. In a world full of complex systems that are counteracting with each other to give us more and more disaster, like our current economic state, or global warming, or cultural and military crossroads, we really want that video game mentality and theory of intelligence – you’re not intelligent because you rushed to be efficient in the goal you never rethought, you’re intelligent when you’ve explored thoroughly and you’ve thought laterally, and not just linearly, and, as in many modern games, done so collaboratively in multiplayer games where you have to compare and contrast your solutions and also bring different skills sets – much like modern science where you take the big challenges and combine scientists with different skills sets together where they learn to communicate in a common language to solve major issues like cancer or global warming. Games and the game learning paradigm are exactly where we need to be if we want music education to reach it’s potential in the schools.
Box 1 - Games are nothing new in Education and Music Education.Down Down BabyEcho ChantIn the field of music education, musical games and musical play have not only been researched heavily, they have influenced the curriculum and pedagogy of the American music classroom for over a century.Children’s playground songs and games have been studied in depth both within the United States and internationally. While many leading researchers in this field, such as Campbell (1998), Harwood (1992, 1993a, 1993b, 1994a, 1994b, 1996, 1998a, 1998b), and Marsh (2008), have investigated children’s musical expressions while at play, their investigations have focused almost entirely on children’s musical play while at “recess” or on the playground, and have focused solely on their use of singing, chanting, dancing and moving. These forms of children’s musical play have been influential in the formulization of twentieth-century music education practices. Many teachers utilize traditional children’s songs and games as raw material for developing musical skills and knowledge in the music classroom (Harwood, 1998a). Children’s aural environments have changed dramatically in the late twenty-century and the early twenty-first century as a result of migration, globalization and technology. Technology, in particular, has had an almost unlimited capacity for broadening children’s auditory field. While the body of research on children’s musical play has acknowledged the impact of media technology, such as radio and television (Harwood, 1998b), on traditional musical play, it has yet to investigate the ways in which play may be changing as a result of technology based games, such as video games. Box 2 - Video games are the media of choice for this generation.research has shown that children spend more time living in virtual worlds than they do reading, watching television or watching movies (Squire, 2004). With this increase in popularity of technology based musical games and the historical presence of musical play filtering into the music classroom, it becomes apparent that there is a rather pressing need for investigation as to the impact of these trends on children’s musical play. Box 3 - Games shape not only what we learn, but how we learn.GO TO NEXT SLIDE FOR VIDEOCollaborative learningIndividual learningFun learningBox 4 - Video games breach the gap between in-school (formal music instruction)and out of school musical doings (informal music instruction).How long will we be able to hang on?We can no longer ignore what they choose to do.How do we keep current?We look to them for answers.How can we begin to change the top down system of authority in the music classroom or rehearsal?We include teaching and learning models that are indigenous to the digital age. And, we learn to learn with them.
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It is social in natureThere is a a slight division in female and male play Apears to be no difference between work and play with the video game – as Gee has said, learning is there it’s happening and it is completely self motivated. Work and fun are completely blured.
+ How Games Can Save Music… (and the World) Ann Clements, Ph.D., Penn State School of Music firstname.lastname@example.org
5. Why Games and School are Often in Contradiction+ (Or, what we really need to work on)
+ Four Important Points Games are nothing new in Video games are the medium of education or music education choice for this generation. (Campbell, 1998; Marsh, 2008; Harwood (Gee, 2005; Shafer & Gee, 2005; Squire, 2004a, 1992, 1993a, 1993b, 1994a, 1994b, 1996, 1998a, 2004b) 1998b) Video games breach the gap Games shape not only what we between in-school and out of learn, but how we learn. school musical doings. (Gee, 2005; Squire, 2004a, 2004b) (Clements, Cody & Gibbs 2008; Clements, Cody & Stubbs, 2009; Clements, 2009)
+ Participants thoughts on the games Objectives Feedback - – Immediate or Delayed Progression Achievements Story Line Explore the Impossible Visualize the Abstract Creation
+ What’s to come… New video game to save music education… Sims Like Starting Instrument In game musical play with other players Ability to upgrade affordances based on earn or purchased chips instruments, locations, etc. Purchases made result in purchases made for real students in real music programs
Thank you!+ This presentation was supported by the TLT Faculty Fellows Program http://tlt.its.psu.edu/faculty/fellowship and the Educational Gaming Commons Engagement Initiative Program http://gaming.psu.edu/ Check out our Blog! http://blogs.tlt.psu.edu/fellows/ Clements Fellowship Project http://ets.tlt.psu.edu/wiki/Children%E2%80%99s_Music_Play