Digital Games ... "hard fun" An exploration by staff and students of Belmore South Public School
Do 21 st Century students need to be exposed to a different kind of learning?
Google now indexes 24,000,000,000 pages
Today’s children will be adults in a world where computers may be 1,000,000,000 times more powerful than today Prensky (2005)
Less need to teach facts and lower order skills
More need for higher order cognitive and metacognitive skills
an education science professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, advocates that school-going children should be permitted to play video games in school.
According to Shaffer, video games will help attain a higher order of learning for today’s generation of kids who are tech savvy.
www.techshout.com/gaming/2007/13/ David Williamson Shaffer
Are Scaffer’s ideas so very radical?
Is he following in the footsteps of educational philosophers who have been advocating active, relevant learning in an interactive social setting, since before Plutarch.
Link to video of Al and Jas
"The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled." Plutarch (46 - 127) www.sgipt.org/hm/gesch/plut0r1.jpg
John Dewey (1933-1998)
Education depends on action. Knowledge and ideas emerge from experiences that have meaning and are important to learners.
Learning occurs when students and teachers create a community of learners who build their knowledge together.
Jean Piaget (1896-1980)
To understand is to discover, or reconstruct by rediscovery, and such conditions must be complied with if in the future individuals are to be formed who are capable of production and creativity and not simply repetition (1973)
Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934)
Learning is most effective in the zone of proximal development. This is a space where the child can function with just a little assistance .
Learning is a social process, teachers provide a scaffolding process to provide non-intrusive intervention.
Learners construct new ideas or concepts based upon their current/past knowledge. The learner selects and transforms information, constructs hypotheses, and makes decisions, relying on cognitive structures to do so
Seymour Papert . . . Still going strong www.connectedfamily.com/.../seymour_idit.jpg
Literature on school improvement is full of exhortations to make the content of instruction "relevant." …
if one does belong to a culture in which video games are important, transforming oneself from a consumer to a producer of games may well be an even more powerful way for some children to find importance in what they are doing.
Situating Constructionism By Seymour Papert and Idit Harel, the first chapter in Seymour Papert and Idit Harel's book Constructionism (Ablex Publishing Corporation, 1991). http://www.papert.org/articles/SituatingConstructionism.html
Games are thus the most ancient and time-honored vehicle for education. They are the original educational technology, the natural one, having received the seal of approval of natural selection. We don't see mother lions lecturing cubs at the chalkboard; we don't see senior lions writing their memoirs for posterity. The Art of Computer Game Design by Chris Crawford 1982 http://www.vancouver.wsu.edu/fac/peabody/game-book/Coverpage.html Chris Crawford http://www.etravelphotos.com/photo.php?pid=2164 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/6530827.stm http://photovault.com/show.php?cat=People/Little/gPlaygrounds?tg=PLGVolume01/PLGV01P08_18
Learn by processing information using their preferred cognitive structures
Want to participate in relevant and meaningful tasks
Student work needs to be published to an audience that is authentic for them
It is not just publishing that is important
The most important aspect of learning for students is the interactive ongoing conversation that is developed within a community that is wider than the school / educational community
Students as learners
Programs exist which make this relatively easy
Motivating and excellent introduction to programming
HOT (higher order thinking) activity
Provides an opportunity for all to experience programming in an interesting context, game making is not for all but at least students have chance to accept or reject from an informed position
Does not require a teacher to understand programming
Does need teachers who have a sound learning theory and clear understanding of today’s learners
Would benefit from Blogs and wikis being incorporated as part of the game development process
To enhance communication and collaboration
Digital Game making . . .
Digital Game making . . .
Learning skills in areas such as mathematics and literacy, writing the narrative and programming for games promotes skills transfer to the more traditional areas.
Meta cognitive skills
The reflective / evaluative self management skills employed when learning. Games encourage students to think while working on them, they reflect on how to improve on them while they are away from them. They work and rework on them to ensure they are the best they can be.
Attitudes reflected towards school, teachers and classrooms. Students who enjoy attending school learn more readily and willingly.
Transferable cognitive skills
Position, speed, acceleration
Relative & absolute value
A programming language similar to Visual Basic
Proofreading and editing
Grammar and spelling
New unidentified skills for a digital age?
… hard fun
They mean it's fun because it's hard. Listening to this and watching kids work at mastering games confirms what I know from my own experience: learning is essentially hard; it happens best when one is deeply engaged in hard and challenging activities.
The game-designer community has understood (to its great profit) that this is not a cause for worry. The fact is that kids prefer things that are hard, as long as they are also interesting.
The preoccupation in America with "Making It Easy" is self-defeating and cause for serious worry about the deterioration of the learning environment.
By engaging children in conversations about learning new games, I observe most directly the greater sophistication about learning that is developing among children—for example, by asking a child to help me learn. To do this, you have to listen sensitively because most do not have a developed vocabulary for talking about how to learn. But if you take the time to listen, you will find that many surprisingly young people have very definite and sensible ideas on the subject. You will also verify that the level of discourse and the kind of help they can give you is dramatically superior to what you hear if you try to get them to talk about learning school math. www.papert.org/articles/Doeseasydoit.html Have you listened to the children ?
Recognize that talking about games and learning is an important activity and to give it whatever boost I can. I encourage parents to engage in conversations with their kids about learning and I work at encouraging them to do this in a spirit of respect for the kids who have as much to teach as to learn in this area .
Encourage children to become game designers themselves.
The computer is a medium of human expression and if it has not yet had its Shakespeares, its Michelangelos or its Einsteins, it will. …. We have scarcely begun to grasp its human and social implications. (Papert 1990)
http://www.stager.org/homepageimages/paperteasel.gif Michelangelo www.aip.org/history/einstein/ae78.htm Einstein Aisha and Sam-James ?
I would predict that within a decade, making a computer game will be as much a part of children's culture as any of these art forms.