Gaming for learning and for many other things as well according to the articles and posts this week.
Jane McGonigal spoke about having “epic wins” by utilising “collaborative online environments” via games such as World of Warcraft. These often put players (students) on the same level with the same values and same rules, forming bonds and trust where this often would not happen out in the ‘real’ world. How many ‘loners’ do you see at lunchtime who come to the library to sit in separate areas and read. Yet put them on a computer next to another student playing the same game and they are engaging with each other about scores, strategies, and new sites. Image what could happen if we were able to get the ’21 billion people playing a game that matters to save the world’ as Jane suggested – I wouldn’t be surprised if Jane didn’t come up with it herself.
I must admit that this week’s topic was not one that I was particularly interested in at first, but after reading the articles, then listening to the Elluminate presentation (sorry I wasn’t able to make the live session) and following some of Rhonda’s links from the Ning I feel more comfortable and informed about the use of gaming in the classroom.
Some of our teachers are already using games within their classrooms within programs such as ‘Mathletics’ and ‘Stop Disasters’. I have to admit that we have always resisted allowing students to ‘play’ online games in the library and direct them to a ‘computer games club’ run at lunchtimes by a couple of teachers. I shall pass on many of these links to our teachers, as they look at how to ‘engage’ their own students and create ‘integrated classrooms’ and ‘enriching curriculums’.
Now I’m off to play with my ‘Galaxy Invader 1000’, which generated much discussion at a recent family gathering and cries of “I remember playing with that when…” and “my turn next” amongst not only the children but adults too!