Sunday, July 31, 2011
Computer Games Chapter 1
In this first chapter, Shaffer makes the case for authentic learning. An educational progressive, Shaffer argues that students "should be able to pass the test and problem solve". (my emphasis)
The Debating Game is an example of how students use argumentation and content knowledge to "role play". The use of argumentation, a necessary skill, is what makes the game authentic. Students are role playing because they are just pretending to be judges and historians.
Like Kate, as a math, science and newly minted social studies teacher, this concept of teaching and learning certainly caught my attention. This activity makes sense to me and I would like to try this.
I am not so sure that I could sell this activity as a game. My students see games as competition that provide immediate feedback and, in the case of computer games, endless "do-overs". I think the motivation would be feedback from others.
The author lists four types of gamers:
- those who like to succeed at tasks
- those who like to find out as much as they can
- those who like power
I wonder how I can move students into the "find out as much as they can" category?
Shaffer concludes this chapter, and all the others, with open-ended questions that an educator or parent might ask when evaluating a game.
- Does the feedback, points or game action, give the student an indication of their successful reasoning?
- Is the game authentic in it's learning?
This chapter caused me to evaluate my learning activities. How many are authentic learning vs learning for facts and what is the balance? I am certain that there are some facts to be learned, spelling rules, for instance, but I am just as convinced that we could do a better job of teaching students to think critically.
(Picture from http://www.bethanylife.org/)