Deconstruction and Takeaways (games)

Approximate Reading Time: 2 minutes

5 Lessons Professors Can Learn From Video Games –

Technology – The Chronicle of Higher Education

Nice article.

via 5 Lessons Professors Can Learn From Video Games – Technology – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The author suggests we might be in the “third level” of video games inside the ivory tower, one where people are

recognizing that games are often not the best tools in an educational setting, but when they are, they should carefully balance substance and sport.

At that level, it’s possible to deconstruct video games, looking for takeaways that professors can try in their own teaching, whether or not they ever pick up a joystick or click “play.”

I have some comment son each of those parts:

Not the Best Tools

I would give some argument to the use of “often” to describe how often games are *not* the best tools – I’d say they ARE good, if not the best tools far more often than implied here. Problem is, just like making that blockbuster movie or best selling novel, we still don’t really know how to do that, and we CERTAINLY don’t know how to create a recipe (read: instructional design model) for doing it.

Come to think of it, stories are probably still one of the best tools in an educational setting, but they suffer from the same issue that games do:  hardly anyone knows how to make a really good one. There’s the rub: in game design just as in story creation (or film-making, television, music, you name it) there isn’t much point in doing it – especially for education – UNLESS you are going to do it well. Since there are still very few people who can do it well (that may always be true), then, I guess I have to come around to agreeing with the author of the article and admit that games may often not be the best tools.

The irony is, that that’s true of ALL instruction. Regardless of the technology or (OK, I’ll cave and use Clark’s term here) vehicle used to ‘deliver’ the instruction, if it isn’t done well, it is wasted.

Deconstruction and Takeaways

The other piece of this was really nice to see: that we could learn about how to do good instruction by studying games. You see, that’s a BIG part of what I did for my thesis. A big part of it was about looking at good commercial games to discover something about how they teach, because, whether you value what is being learned or not, all games teach.

I also found some takeaways, including some of the same things this article mentions:

Give frequent and detailed feedback.

Narrative can answer the question “Why are we learning this?”

Don’t be afraid of fun.


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