Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Chapter 3 - ZPD and Frustration
I just finished reading chapter 3. Again I, I don't really deny that games can help students learn. The research that has been presented so far are in fixed environments with controlled settings - perhaps even "special" that lends itself to different behaviors. Is this feasible in the general school setting? Would Natalie have been successful with the presence of the boys she usually flirts with? My point is not to downplay the effectiveness of these techniques as much as to say that isolated solutions don' t help the general problem that Shaffer acknowledges, "Most schools [and a lot of teachers] in the United States today celebrate declarative knowledge over procedural knowledge." Addressing this problem does not require isolating students from each other or special programs. ' Schaffer left out a component of ZPD, which is frustration. When people are presented with tasks that are too hard, or beyond their ZPD, they experience frustration and potentially give up.
In the first chapter I was really glad to see mention of the game Civilization, which was one of my favorites going through high school and college. I skimmed ahead to find something I could apply to Civics and found Chapter 6 which discusses SimCity and Urban Science. I'm now disappointed because while the chapter goes into detail about the deficits of SimCity and touts Urban Science, the latter is not available. I wound up on the Epistemic Games website to find that these monument games "were designed to be tested not distributed." So, fantastic...there is isolated research on the effectiveness of video games that only exist for the purpose of that isolated research.