I am obviously very interested in games based learning and enjoy watching videos on the topic. I thought that this week I would share some of these with you. They are not really in any order, but they all tap into some slightly different aspect of games based learning, its benefits, why it works, how you can capitalise on it and so on.
Before I start the main list, I would like to just bring your attention to a video which is closely related to my last blog post: 11 Educational Games for Social Good. Jane McGonigal explains in this short TED talk, how games can make a better world. She explains that globally, we spend 3 billion hours a week playing games. She feels that this is not enough to create a better future for ourselves and our planet. Jane argues that playing games gives us four ‘super powers’ which make us into better humans. Game players are very skilled and optimistic; they know they can achieve ‘epic wins’. The problem is getting gamers to believe they can achieve real life epic wins and solve real world problems in the same way. Jane explains how we can do this.
1. Katie Salen discusses learning with games. She argues that games are important for child development and are equally as important throughout life. In the video, she explains how they can encourage 21st century skills such as collaboration and problem-solving (for more information, see ‘21st Century Skills and Games Based Learning’). They also allow us to try out different identities, explore and discover and fail in a safe environment. Katie also talks about how games work like good teachers in terms of learning.
3. James Gee discusses video games and learning. He uses examples such as World of Warcraft and Portal to explain how people learn collaboration skills similar to those in cross-functional teams and how people can become so interested in the game that they make the tacit knowledge gleaned from a game explicit and share it with others. James also discusses how games can be used alongside project based learning.
4. Daphne Bavelier discusses games and learning from a neuroscience perspective. We have talked about this in the past too (see ‘Neuroscience, Stress and Games Based Learning’). Daphne explains how games can help us focus, multitask and more. She is interested in games making our brains smarter, better, faster and stronger.
5. Ali Carr-Chellman talks about re-engaging boys in the learning process. She argues that boys in general have their own culture which does not fit into the traditional culture of schools. We have talked about this issue in the post ‘Boys will be Boys’. Ali believes that gaming could be a great way of encouraging boys to learn and mesh the two cultures in an easy and fun way.
6. This is a short video about how teacher Joel Levin uses the game Minecraft to teach young children. For more information on using Minecraft and other commercial games to teach, have a look at my blog post ‘Unorthodox Uses of Games in Education’.