The MindShift Guide to Digital Games and Learning started as a series of blog posts written by Jordan Shapiro with support from the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and the Games and Learning Publishing Council. We’ve brought together what we felt would be the most relevant highlights of Jordan’s reporting to create a dynamic, in-depth guide that answers many of the most pressing questions that educators, parents, and life-long learners have raised around using digital games for learning.
Games based learning is currently a hotly debated topic in education and is a fertile field of study (Holmes, 2011; Abrams, 2009). Many schools are exploring ways in which games can be embedded into the curriculum, to enhance learning through deeper engagement and higher levels of motivation (Miller & Robertson, 2010). This paper explores the use of game consoles to support learning for young students (ages 8-11) and evaluates their recent success in primary education.
"A lot of talk, press, and focus in this era of learning is on common core standards and 21st century skills and literacies. What is often neglected is the importance of building social emotional skills within the classroom."
Parents and teachers who trust little Muffy and Junior with their shiny iPads don’t have to worry about how access to shoot-‘em-up video games will rot their precious little gifted and talented program minds. Instead, they can download some of the following alternatives to help them build up their brilliant brains that will totally go on to win Nobel Prizes someday.
Video games can be used to educate through repetition and feedback, but they can also have some less-than-positive side effects. Learn about how video games can improve the educational experience as well as hinder it.
Edward Castronova, perhaps most well-known for his analysis of EverQuest's economy, speaks at TEDxBloomington about how we should "Pay as much attention to your game literacy as you do to literature, art, music, and film, because it's an important thing." He exhorts us to "go play more games", "play hard games" and "play games hard." Be a gamer, because you can learn. Motivation, engagement, and the imaginative process are discussed. He also discusses gamification and game-based learning.
"Games designer, author and researcher Jane McGonigal sees a future in education where MOOCs, live events and ordinary gamification initiatives all blend into a new way of learning, creating “extreme learning environments” full of opportunities for play and creation.
"McGonigal’s address Thursday at EDUCAUSE showed off many new types of games that are already well on their way to creating the future she described.
“We normally think of games as being fun, kind of trivial, maybe something to pass the time, but what if we thought about them as a platform for inventing the future of higher education?”
“The big idea with this school is we began to say, ‘What would happen if we could design a school that, as a system, was designed around the intrinsic qualities of games and play?’” Salen said. “This doesn’t mean video games fill the classrooms, although there are certainly instances of that. But instead, it’s an approach to learning that draws on all the qualities of how we know games really support learning.”
Even though older adults might still carry a negative association with video game consoles and devices, today’s technology is vastly different than it was 20 years ago. Apps have exploded on the scene, and while there are plenty of time wasting games available on the market, today’s offerings also include a wide range of affordable apps that enrich learning and allow for quick on-the-go play. Whether your child is waiting for the doctor or relaxing on a long car ride, the following apps are some of the best games that pack an educational punch.
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