Posts tagged Gaming for learning
A very interesting article was recently published in The Age Green Guide entitled Games ‘valuable learning tool’. Written by Jason Hill, the article says, ‘Education experts say computer games boost a range of skills in children’.
April 9, 2009
Education experts say computer games boost a range of skills in children, writes Jason Hill.
Computer games can be a positive learning tool for children as young as three, according to Australian education experts.
Patricia and Don Edgar, authorities on children’s media, education and social trends, recently wrote a paper for the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority in which they argue that there is growing evidence that games are effective and valuable learning tools.
Skills developed from games include comprehension, decision making, multitasking, collaboration, concentration, leadership and communication.
Dr Patricia Edgar says it is not surprising some parents fear the impact of games on their kids, because many “fear the unknown” or are concerned about violence.
“Anyone with children knows how absorbed and passionate about games kids can become,” Dr Edgar says. “Parents worry about something that takes over their kids’ lives as games do – games which they can’t see much point to.”
Dr Edgar, whose latest book is titled The New Child: in search of smarter grown-ups, encourages parents to “sit with kids, let them explore and learn”.
“Parents have to put in the time. Then they will know the content of the games, and their involvement will help the kids to learn.”
Dr Edgar believes games can also have an important role in the classroom, although more research and investment is needed to produce educational games that enable kids to learn at their own pace and collaborate with others. The games also need to be fun, she argues.
“Kids always learn best when they are entertained. Entertainment should not preclude education, but somehow we have this notion that if something is educational it has to be serious and can’t be fun.”
Dr Edgar says some educators have had their distrust of new media vindicated over the past decade as “the entertainment industry has commercialised childhood and turned kids into consumers producing material for its merchandising potential”.
“(But) I think we are about ready for a change in these values, which could lead to some healthy, profitable, educational entertainment to bridge the divide.”
She believes it is a positive step that libraries are now offering computer games, both for their learning potential and for attracting children to the institutions.
Lalor Library in north-eastern Melbourne has enjoyed success through introducing consoles such as the Xbox and Wii into the library, as well as networked PC games. Branch manager Felicity Macchion says her priority in introducing gaming three years ago was to offer disadvantaged community members access to new technology, and she has been thrilled with the results. “Implementing video-gaming into the library environment has increased memberships, borrowings and has created an enjoyable atmosphere for all ages.”
Earlier this week, the State Library of Victoria hosted an event enabling gaming newcomers to get hands-on with the latest releases and discuss how the games can be used positively in public institutions such as libraries and schools.
For several years the library’s Experimedia section has featured locally developed games.
For the latest gaming news, visit www.blogs.theage.com.au/screenplay
As per the previous post Getting video games on the school agenda and the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development’s video games trial games are well worth investigating as part of a total pedagogy that caters for today’s children and encourages engagement and attendance.
For anyone who showed an interest in using video games for educational learning, there seems to be a plethora of information around about libraries, schools and gaming. You may have to refer to one or more of these sites to get gaming on your school agenda. Here is a selection of those sites.
The American Library Association has a website named ‘The Librarian’s Guide to Gaming’, which is ‘an online toolkit for building gaming @ your library. There is a lot of information on the site which includes ‘tools and resources’, ‘best practice’ and ‘evaluation’.
Helen Boelens recently let IASL members know about some more video game research that was being carried out. She says, “The research is being carried out by a researcher at the CLU (Centrum Leermiddelen Studie Utrecht – Centre for educational tools Utrecht), together with Kennisnet, which is a Dutch national foundation which supports the use of ICT in education in the Netherlands. The CLU is affiliated with the University of Utrecht, a university which has a strong faculty of education. The study which is being carried is about the effect of serious gaming on young people of upper secondary school age (16 years of age and older) and how these games can be used as educational tools, as part of their education. This research is presently taking place. A final report will be published when the research has been completed.”
Some other discussions about using computer games in schools include Computer games explore social issuesby Kara Platoni. “Students have to win PeaceMaker, a simulation of the Middle East peace process, twice — once while playing as the Israeli prime minister and once as the Palestinian president.”
Patricia Edgar (the founding Director of the Australian Children’s Television Foundation) and Don Edgar have written an excellent paper on the topic of Television, Digital Media and Children’s Learning for the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority which promotes the use of all types of media in learning and teaching.
School change and video games by Mark Wagner, Ph.D. looks at school change through video games.
Learning to game and gaming to learn: videogames in education is a wiki with a lot of links to research that has focused on the relationship between video games and school learning.
Videogames as learning engines by David Warlick is another presentation that looks at the correlation between video games and learning.
Education authorities in Scotland have been leading the way in gaming for learning. Check out Derek Robertson’s Consolarium for more information about how games are being used in schools.