Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Computer games can teach schools some lessons

Date:
March 2, 2010
Source:
Arizona State University
Summary:
If schools adopted some of the strategies that video games use, they could educate children more effectively, according to experts.

Some parents might see video games as an impediment to children keeping up with their schoolwork. James Gee, however, thinks video games are some of the best learning environments around. He says that if schools adopted some of the strategies that games use, they could educate children more effectively.

"Commercial video games, the ones that make a lot of money, are nothing but problem-solving spaces," says Gee, the Mary Lou Fulton Presidential Chair in Literacy Studies in the Mary Lou Fulton Institute and Graduate School of Education at Arizona State University.

Gee shared his expertise on games and learning in a symposium, "First-Person Solvers? Learning Mathematics in a Video Game," on February 19 at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting.

Gee was one of the first scholars to examine the educational potential of video games. In 2004 he wrote one of the earliest books about how games use good learning principles -- What Video Games Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy. This year he comes out with a new book, Women as Gamers: The Sims and 21st Century Learning. The book is co-written with Elisabeth Hayes, also a professor in the Fulton Institute and Graduate School of Education.

Gee says that video games optimize learning in several ways. First, games provide information when it is needed, rather than all at once in the beginning.

"We tend to teach science, for example, by telling you a lot of stuff and then letting you do science. Games teach the other way. They have you do stuff, and then as you need to know information, they tell it to you," he explains.

Games also provide an environment that Gee calls "pleasantly frustrating." They are challenging but doable. "That's a very motivating state for human beings. Sometimes it's called the 'flow' state," he says.

Many game developers also invite players to modify their products through "modding." The developers share the software and encourage players to create new levels or scenarios.

"Think about it. If I have to make the game, or a part of the game, I come to a deep understanding of the game as a rule system. If I had to mod science -- that is, I had to make some of my own curriculum or my own experiments -- then I'd have an understanding at a deep level of what the rules are," Gee says.

Assessment is a controversial issue in education today. Typically, assessment happens through standardized testing. In games, however, learning and assessment are tightly married. The game gives constant feedback and collects information about players' performances. For example, the massive multiplayer online game World of Warcraft, with 15 million players around the world, is completely standardized. The company that created the game has collected incredible amounts of information about the players and put it into completely statistical terms. Gee adds that integrating assessment and learning is less expensive than supporting a separate testing industry.

The idea that educators can learn from the gaming industry is becoming increasingly popular. For example, in November 2009, President Obama announced a campaign to improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. As part of the campaign, the Macarthur Foundation and several technology companies have launched a competition to develop video games for teaching science and math.

Educators do not need to use actual computer-based games to incorporate these educational principles, Gee says. "This type of learning that games do I call 'situated learning,' because you're situated in an actual problem-solving space. Situated learning can be done with or without a game. Good teachers have always done it."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Arizona State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Arizona State University. "Computer games can teach schools some lessons." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100219204405.htm>.
Arizona State University. (2010, March 2). Computer games can teach schools some lessons. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100219204405.htm
Arizona State University. "Computer games can teach schools some lessons." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/02/100219204405.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Computers & Math News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Apple Releases 'Shellshock' Fix Despite Few Affected Users

Apple Releases 'Shellshock' Fix Despite Few Affected Users

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Apple released a security fix for the "Shellshock" vulnerability Monday, though it says only "advanced UNIX users" of OS X need it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Do Video Games Trump Brain Training For Cognitive Boosts?

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) More and more studies are showing positive benefits to playing video games, but the jury is still out on brain training programs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Facebook Ad Platform Goes Where You Go On The Web

New Facebook Ad Platform Goes Where You Go On The Web

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) Called Atlas, the platform allows advertisers to place ads based on Facebook info on sites outside of Facebook. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google Tightens Requirements For Android Manufacturers

Google Tightens Requirements For Android Manufacturers

Newsy (Sep. 27, 2014) Phonemakers who want to use Google’s software in their devices will have to stick to more stringent requirements. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins