World and the people in it are digitally evolving, but school systems are not
Static classroom is passive, unengaging, meaninglessPaulo Friere’s “banking” concept of educationcriticizes the traditional school system. He draws attention to the vacant practice of teachers “depositing” meaningless information for students to robotically report back.Michel Foucault points out that today’s classrooms still operate the same way they did when school systems were first established in the 1800s, which he comparesto the prison system.With the modern emergence of digital technology, specifically video game technology, implementing it in education systems can address problems of the traditional school system and revolutionize the static classroom.
Marc Prensky uses the term “digital natives” to refer to today’s students—the generation that grows up immersed in technology(ILLUSTRATION)Our traditional school systems aren’t designed to effectively teach digital natives
Discoveries about neuroplasticity are finding that the brain is continually replenishing brain cells and reorganizing itself in response to stimulation, such as stimulation from digital media usage. This means the digital natives are processing differently due to growing up engrossed in digital media consumption. One study compared children’s success in comprehending stories through books, radio and TV. They found that children derive more information from visual components than verbal ones. Similar studies also found that combining both visual and verbal components simultaneously is ideal for the way children’s brains comprehend informationWhen I surveyed Marist students, I found that 70 percent of the surveyed students expressed that they would be more or much more inclined to pursue academic learning in elementary and high school if video game technology was involvedThis is a reflection of the digital natives’ tendency to migrate towards digital technologies that cater to the kind of stimulation they grow up immersed in. Researcher James Paul Gee refers to video games as a type of “multimodal text”—one which involves multiple modes such as images and words, thus satisfying the way brains of digital natives learn. Also, video games can force different parts of the brain which ordinarily do not work together, to work together, which permits higher-level thinking
When open-endedly asked what their main criticism of today’s education system is, many Marist students responded that students are forced to passively memorize seemingly random, useless information simply to take a test rather than comprehend anything meaningfulLearning information in isolation—the way traditional school systems typically do—is what makes the knowledge seem random, useless and meaningless.That’s why the information would seem more relevant, useful and meaningful if learning was situated in what Gee calls a “semiotic domain”—or in a context that involves different modes, invites reflection based on experience, and allows interpretation and application to the real world. This allows for deeper processing.
Focus should also be put on the process of solving a problemThey have to go through the 3-step problem solving model of preparation, production and evaluationGee identifies the similar process of probing, hypothesizing, reprobing and rethinking(EXAMPLE)First we probe the virtual world, looking for clues and figuring out the contextThen we hypothesize what something might mean, like how this device is creating portalsThen we test out our hypothesis by reprobing, noticing things like how one of the portals will need to be placed in a strategic location so you’re not stuck in the roomSo through trial-and-error and recalling other knowledge, we rethink the hypothesis based on feedback until it works
Another unique video game element is that they are individually tailored to increasingly challenge each player’s unique ability level without making it impossibleAlso, video game technology enablesstudents to interactively access locations, time periods and situations that would ordinarily be impossible or difficult to access.When asked which learning method they would prefer as a means of learning about a subject, half the Marist students surveyed chose hands-on labs, workshops, visits, etc., while the other choices were approximately evenly distributed Kinesthetic learning practices such as hands-on-labs and visits are not always realistic in education systems thoughHence, video games can bring virtual simulations and field trips to the classroom, allowing students to engage in the hands-on, student-directed exploratory process.
As you’re all aware, there is oftena lack of engagement, motivation and excitement among students in the static classroom. Conversely, video games are designed around these elements. The primary objective of game developers is to keep the players coming back by engaging them; whereas, the primary concern of educatorsis to instruct materialAlso, video games fulfill the psychological need satisfactions that drive human motivationAnd they additionally engage players by rewarding them, and constantly notifying them of potential rewards, which activates dopamine in the brain
So in light of all these avails, some researchers and educators are beginning to develop guidelines and explore ways to implement video game technology in educationDevelopers should tailor games to the curriculumAnd low-level educational genre games that merely are a digital version of the easy, repetitive, non-contextualized practices should be avoidedInstead, complex educational games and even commercial games involving high-level thinking should be usedThere is also skepticism that this technology would replace teachers, but video game technology in education actually won’t be effective unless there are instructors who can guide the students into making the right connectionsLots of examples of success stories regarding the use of video game technology are coming about. With enough research and support, maybe the future of education can finally eliminate the problems of the static classroom through the many unique avails that video games can offer in education.
Video games and education
Video Games and Education<br />How video games can revolutionize the static classroom<br />By Liz Jasko<br />
The Static Classroom<br />Thesis: “Effectively implementing video game technology in education systems can address problems of the traditional school system and revolutionize the static classroom.”<br />
“We basically learn to take tests without actually gaining any knowledge” -a Marist student<br />The Learning Focus<br />new<br />traditional<br />new<br />traditional<br />
The Thinking Process<br />3-step problem-solving model (Huffman)<br />Preparation<br />Production<br />Evaluation<br />Probe, Hypothesize, Reprobe, Rethink Cycle (Gee)<br />Probe the virtual world<br />Hypothesize about what something might mean<br />Reprobes the world with hypothesis in mind<br />Rethink original hypothesis based on feedback<br />“You literally learn by playing. It’s the way you’re thinking that matters.” (Johnson)<br />“The learner is at the center of the meaning-making process.” –Labbo & Place<br />
...More Unique Video Game Elements<br /><ul><li>Individually tailored
Ability to access simulated labs, visits, etc.</li></li></ul><li>Motivation & Engagement<br />“The goal of keeping users (i.e. learners) engaged is, of course, not the primary concern of educators. Their goal is to instruct, to get the material across” -Prensky<br />Designed with purpose to engage<br />Satisfies need satisfactions (Przybylski et al.)<br />Reward-seeking system<br />
Effectively Implementing Video Game Technology in Education<br />Tailor games to curriculum<br />Avoid low-level educational genre games<br />Develop complex educational games<br />Have teachers guide focus<br />Examples of Success Stories<br />Portal (Wabash College, Indiana)<br />British Museum Online (River Dell High School)<br />Civilization III (study, Lee & Probert)<br />