Choose: Education OR Fun. Apparently, you can’t have both.

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I’ve talked about this before (Trading off between Education and Fun??? SRSLY?, and FUN Should NOT be an ‘F’-Word). I even wrote about this in my book.

The "Serious Games Continuum"

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.

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Choose: Education OR Fun. Apparently, you can’t have both. — 1 Comment

  1. Pingback: A Stellar Example of Ed vs. Fun: Virtual Frog Dissection | The Becker Blog

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