Many people in Education seem to believe that fun and education are at odds with each other.
It’s discouraging that this fallacy is so tenacious.
I got an offer in the mail today to answer a challenge to create an “idea for how interactive technology and game-based learning can improve teaching and learning”. I won’t name the source because it is not my intent to single them out. I have no desire to embarrass anyone. Here is the line that caught my eye:
…games could be as engaging as launching birds at pigs
and as educational as reading a textbook…
Yes it’s true that Angry Birds is a lot of fun. I’m not sure it should be touted as the epitome of engagement – a big part of what makes it so much fun is that it asks very little of the player – it doesn’t take long to do a round, and you don’t need to know anything (not really). On the other hand, it’s definitely worth looking at some of the things that make it so good: the audio, the interface is easy to understand, the gameplay is clean and accurate, …. We can learn from that, but there are other games I would use as examples of engaging – Portal maybe, or Skyrim.
But that’s not my big beef. My BIG beef is the second part: as educational as reading a textbook. Really? REALLY?!
I guess if people believe that textbooks are the epitome of “educational”, then the Ed-Fun continuum is not a surprize.
We have a long, LONG way to go.