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Good Video Games and Good Learning
 

Good Video Games and Good Learning

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A while ago I came across James Paul Gee's paper 'Good Games and Good Learning' www.academiccolab.org/resources/documents/Good_Learning.pdf and the profound nature of the points he was making have ...

A while ago I came across James Paul Gee's paper 'Good Games and Good Learning' www.academiccolab.org/resources/documents/Good_Learning.pdf and the profound nature of the points he was making have stayed with me since. The other day I returned to this paper as a result of a blog post I was writing, as well as professional learning I was conducting with schools and I was struck by how much Gee's work still resonates. As a result, I decided to put together a presentation based on Gee's ideas.

Each slide outlines one of the fourteen essential ideas at work in Gee's piece. In keeping with the principles of zen presentation, I wanted to keep text to a minimum, but the visuals I was finding in my Creative Commons search on Flickr fell short of evoking the playful tone I wanted in the presentation, so I decided to create my own. Using the layers, cloning and image adjustment tools in GIMP, I put together the images you see here.

Obviously, there's a fair bit of whimsy happening here - the idea of the iconic Master Chief (from Bungie's Halo series) appearing in every slide like some sort of virtual Hitchcock amused my easily-amused brain. And there's a certain amount of irony to the pictures. I am aware that selecting a character from gaming's most maligned genre may not help my cause - to raise awareness of the relevance and power of gaming in education. However, I think the irony is so apparent (especially in Slide 16) that most people will see it.

I am not arguing that schoolrooms should be filled with kids playing Halo - there are far too many other games worth considering in an educational context to go down that road. It is worth noting, however, that the Halo universe extends well beyond the realm of video games. There are books of Halo, fan art, fan fiction, cosplay (see below) and it has played a pivotal role in bringing Machinima into the light.

I must add that in my time playing Halo Reach with my older son this week, I have been astounded by the strategy and coordination required to succeed in the co-operative modes. We have been playing Campaign and Firefight on Legend - the AI in both these modes is frightening. Enemies will flank and use cover, retreat if overwhelmed, and take advantage of weakened opponents. You cannot survive in these modes without constant communication and a willingness to adopt new strategies as the game shifts its challenges around you. Add to this Forge, the brilliant game design component where players can construct levels they can take to the world, and one can begin to see reasons why Master Chief's inclusion may not be so ridiculous after all.

It's worth noting that none of the images of Master Chief have been ripped from the game itself. All his depictions are a result of cosplay, an emergent strain of the gaming world where individuals go to extraordinary lengths to design and display costumes based on their favourite video game characters. I'll explore this meta-activity in an upcoming post on my Contemporary Learning blog (http://contemporarylearning.globalteacher.org.au/).

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    Good Video Games and Good Learning Good Video Games and Good Learning Presentation Transcript

    • Based on the work of James Paul Gee (University of Wisconsin) www.academiccolab.org/resources/documents/Good_Learning.pdf Good Video Games and Good Learning
    • Players either inherit a strongly formed character or build one themselves. Identity
    • Games talk back. Nothing happens until a player acts. Interaction
    • Players are producers, not just consumers. Production
    • Players are encouraged to take risks, explore, try new things. Failure is not a bad thing. Risk Taking
    • Players can usually customise a game to fit with their learning and playing styles. Customisation
    • Players have a real sense of ownership over what they are doing. Agency
    • The problems players face are ordered so that earlier ones lead players to form hypotheses that work well for later, harder problems. Well-Order Problems
    • The problems players face require them to learn something new and integrate this learning with their old mastery. Challenge and Consolidation
    • Games give information just in time – right when players need it and can use it. Just in Time
    • Games situate the meaning of words in terms of the actions, images and dialogues they relate to. Situated Meanings
    • Good games stay within but at the outer edge of a player’s sphere of competence. Pleasantly Frustrating
    • Good games encourage players to think about relationships, not isolated events, facts and skills. System Thinking
    • Good games encourage players to use exploration and lateral thinking to re-conceive one’s goals from time to time. Think Laterally
    • The core knowledge needed to play some games is distributed across online groups, as well as intelligent virtual characters. Distributed Knowledge
    • In multi-player games, players often have to master their specialty and contribute it to a common endeavour. Cross-Functional Teams
    • Players are given opportunities to perform before they are competent. Performance before Competence
    • Master Chief sets SXSW straight by chvad_sb http://www.flickr.com/photos/chvad/3357347485/sizes/l/in/photostream/ Dragon*Con Parade 2010 - Halo Master Chief by ZarrSadus http://www.flickr.com/photos/zarrsadus/4958334888/sizes/l/in/photostream/ MasterChief by comiquero http://www.flickr.com/photos/comiquero/946962395/sizes/o/in/photostream/ Master Chief Captured the Flag by megadem http://www.flickr.com/photos/megadem/3748497112/sizes/l/in/photostream/ Halo 2 Team by megadem http://www.flickr.com/photos/megadem/164949358/sizes/l/in/photostream/ Halo 2 Sniper by megadem http://www.flickr.com/photos/megadem/164949536/sizes/l/in/photostream/ DSC_0034 by shine_blitz_on http://www.flickr.com/photos/10789705@N05/4645436288/sizes/l/in/photostream/ DSC_9761 by kejadlen http://www.flickr.com/photos/kejadlen/1258802094/sizes/l/in/photostream/ IMG_0052 by Major Nelson http://www.flickr.com/photos/majornelson/1438854781/sizes/l/in/photostream/ IMG_0049 by Major Nelson http://www.flickr.com/photos/majornelson/1438854621/sizes/l/in/photostream/ Master Chief - SDCC 2007 by GoofyGoof http://www.flickr.com/photos/bgyss/1014264431/sizes/l/in/photostream/ Attribution All pictures were licensed under a Creative Commons Licence
    • HALO by hobby_blog http://www.flickr.com/photos/hobby_blog/2168990490/sizes/l/in/photostream/ Halo reach Master Chief's Weak Spot by Weefz http://www.flickr.com/photos/weefz/4974912843/sizes/l/in/photostream/ Blue by bdjsb7 http://www.flickr.com/photos/bdjsb7/1078538527/sizes/o/in/photostream/ Master Chief by Kevin McShane http://www.flickr.com/photos/lobraumeister/4873955015/sizes/l/in/photostream/ Dragon*Con Parade 2010 – Halo by ZarrSadus http://www.flickr.com/photos/zarrsadus/4958335578/sizes/l/in/photostream/ Dragon*Con Parade 2010 – Halo by ZarrSadus http://www.flickr.com/photos/zarrsadus/4957741651/sizes/l/in/photostream/ IMG_0079 by Major Nelson http://www.flickr.com/photos/majornelson/1438855557/sizes/l/in/photostream/ IMG_8657 by gamerscoreblog http://www.flickr.com/photos/gamerscore/1437000272/sizes/l/in/photostream/ IMG_8676 by gamerscoreblog http://www.flickr.com/photos/gamerscore/1437006528/sizes/l/in/photostream/ IMG_8679 by gamerscoreblog http://www.flickr.com/photos/gamerscore/1436141309/sizes/l/in/photostream/ IMG_8673 by gamerscoreblog http://www.flickr.com/photos/gamerscore/1437005762/sizes/l/in/photostream/ Attribution All pictures were licensed under a Creative Commons Licence
    • Classroom by black vanilla http://www.flickr.com/photos/dhillan/3848315549/sizes/l/in/photostream/ Classroom by phoenixdailyphoto http://www.flickr.com/photos/phoenixdailyphoto/1782001450/sizes/l/in/photostream/ Boys in classroom_1093 by hoyasmeg http://www.flickr.com/photos/emeryjl/511011540/sizes/l/in/photostream/ Ensley HS classroom by Dystopos http://www.flickr.com/photos/dystopos/195707530/sizes/l/in/photostream/ Learning at Grand Central Station by tonyhall http://www.flickr.com/photos/anotherphotograph/3019104208/sizes/o/in/photostream/ DO - Learning to Look, Looking to See Hike Mountain View by vastateparksstaff http://www.flickr.com/photos/vastateparksstaff/4059396968/sizes/l/in/photostream/ Challenger Learning Center: Mission Control by Houston Museum of Natural Science http://www.flickr.com/photos/hmns/4185322626/sizes/l/in/photostream/ OU Learn About fair 2010 by hockeyshooter http://www.flickr.com/photos/hockeyshooter/4345409017/sizes/l/in/photostream/ Custer County High School, Miles City by dave_mcmt http://www.flickr.com/photos/dave_mcmt/187428751/sizes/l/in/photostream/ India - Faces - School kids by mckaysavage http://www.flickr.com/photos/mckaysavage/2230562684/sizes/l/in/photostream/ Flat Classroom Skype by superkimbo in BKK http://www.flickr.com/photos/superkimbo/3121816803/sizes/o/in/photostream/ Attribution All pictures were licensed under a Creative Commons Licence
    • classroom_9811 copy by Tulane Publications http://www.flickr.com/photos/pburch_tulane/4422201599/sizes/l/in/photostream/ Corin's Classroom by redjar http://www.flickr.com/photos/redjar/113137539/sizes/l/in/photostream/ Classroom by will likes tea and biscuits http://www.flickr.com/photos/-will-/2508927028/sizes/l/in/photostream/ Entrance of the Learning Commons, Alden Library, Ohio University by Ohio University Libraries http://www.flickr.com/photos/ohiouniversitylibraries/3507674990/sizes/l/in/photostream/ PC Workstation classroom by Moochy http://www.flickr.com/photos/moochy/56247939/sizes/l/in/photostream/ Attribution All pictures were licensed under a Creative Commons Licence http:// contemporarylearning.globalteacher.org.au / http:// geekapedia.globalteacher.org.au / http:// twitter.com /elearningnews http:// calibansend.blogspot.com / http:// calibansend.pbworks.com / Presentation by Paul Stewart Special thanks to James Paul Gee http:// www.jamespaulgee.com /
    • A while ago I came across James Paul Gee's paper 'Good Games and Good Learning' www.academiccolab.org/resources/documents/Good_Learning.pdf and the profound nature of the points he was making have stayed with me since. The other day I returned to this paper as a result of a blog post I was writing, as well as professional learning I was conducting with schools and I was struck by how much Gee's work still resonates. As a result, I decided to put together a presentation based on Gee's ideas. Each slide outlines one of the fourteen essential ideas at work in Gee's piece. In keeping with the principles of zen presentation, I wanted to keep text to a minimum, but the visuals I was finding in my Creative Commons search on Flickr fell short of evoking the playful tone I wanted in the presentation, so I decided to create my own. Using the layers, cloning and image adjustment tools in GIMP, I put together the images you see here. Obviously, there's a fair bit of whimsy happening here - the idea of the iconic Master Chief (from Bungie's Halo series) appearing in every slide like some sort of virtual Hitchcock amused my easily-amused brain. And there's a certain amount of irony to the pictures. I am aware that selecting a character from gaming's most maligned genre may not help my cause - to raise awareness of the relevance and power of gaming in education. However, I think the irony is so apparent (especially in Slide 16) that most people will see it. I am not arguing that schoolrooms should be filled with kids playing Halo - there are far too many other games worth considering in an educational context to go down that road. It is worth noting, however, that the Halo universe extends well beyond the realm of video games. There are books of Halo, fan art, fan fiction, cosplay (see below) and it has played a pivotal role in bringing Machinima into the light. I must add that in my time playing Halo Reach with my older son this week, I have been astounded by the strategy and coordination required to succeed in the co-operative modes. We have been playing Campaign and Firefight on Legend - the AI in both these modes is frightening. Enemies will flank and use cover, retreat if overwhelmed, and take advantage of weakened opponents. You cannot survive in these modes without constant communication and a willingness to adopt new strategies as the game shifts its challenges around you. Add to this Forge, the brilliant game design component where players can construct levels they can take to the world, and one can begin to see reasons why Master Chief's inclusion may not be so ridiculous after all. It's worth noting that none of the images of Master Chief have been ripped from the game itself. All his depictions are a result of cosplay, an emergent strain of the gaming world where individuals go to extraordinary lengths to design and display costumes based on their favourite video game characters. I'll explore this meta-activity in an upcoming post on my Contemporary Learning blog http://contemporarylearning.globalteacher.org.au/ . About this Presentation