What Video Games Have to Teach us About Learning & Literacy – Part 3

Dec 30, 2012 by

This post is long overdue, as I finished What Video Games have to Teach us About Learning & Literacy by James Paul Gee more than a month ago, along with the other members of Book Club 106. It was a monumental achievement for me personally as I hadn’t ever read an “academic” text outside of required reading for courses. In fact, I haven’t read many books at all outside of required course readings for several years now. Thankfully, there were enough people out there on the Internet to encourage me to get through the heavier early chapters of this book, and finish with a wonderful, if exhaustively long, conclusion about several learning principles that can be derived from good video game design. Before diving into the final wrap up of this work, I wanted to share the two final Google+ Hangout discussions I had with a few more members...

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Learning + Video Games ≠ Gamification

Nov 2, 2012 by

For a while now I’ve downplayed the current trendiness of Gamification in learning. I couldn’t exactly put my finger on why, but there are a few ideas buzzing around my head. At times I’m put off by the heavy reliance on replacing one form of extrinsic motivation (gold stars, points, etc.) with another (achievements, points, etc.). Quite often it’s the oversimplification of game design and instructional design theories, leading many teachers to just turn learning into a cheap facsimile of a game (which has its advantages and disadvantages). By far the critique that comes to the surface most often is the desire for teachers to cling to what’s popular, rather than step back and look at the roots of what makes games, video or otherwise, so attractive as analogies and vehicles for effective instructional practice and design. And then comes along James Paul Gee and makes everything so clear; it’s not...

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What Video Games Have to Teach us About Learning & Literacy – Part 2

Nov 1, 2012 by

As part of my ongoing attempt to force myself back into regular reading habits (academic, fiction, or otherwise), I was excited to have a new voice added to the Book Club 106 discussion last week of James Paul Gee’s What Video Games Have to Teach us About Learning & Literacy. Ben Harwood, a technologist with Skidmore College in upstate New York joined me to talk about chapters 3 and 4 of the seminal title from 2002 that explores the effective structuring of learning environments through the analogy of video game design. Our Google+ Hangout was cut short due to our schedules, but I’m looking forward to an excellent video discussion this evening of chapter 5 after last week’s exploration of learning theories and just how effective we can expect learners to be if there isn’t “play time” built into regular instructional practice. You are more than welcome to watch the 45...

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What Video Games Have to Teach us About Learning & Literacy – Part 1

Oct 16, 2012 by

Last night was the inaugural discussion for Book Club 106, the loosely organized online book club that I formed last month with the goal of forcing me to actually read a book, while enjoying a nice weekly chat with other curious educators. Despite the power being out at my place for more than two hours, and the Google+ Hangout for the event starting almost half an hour late, it was a terrific conversation! Two of the other book club members attended, and while L Patrick Brewer had to duck out early due to a finicky satellite Internet connection, Johnathon Beals and I carried on a great conversation that touched on video games, Huizinga’s Homo Ludens book, social context needed for critical learning, and a host of other topics from the book. If you’d like to watch the 60 minute discussion between Johnathon and myself below (and can spare the time), I’d love to...

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Pulling Off an Online Book Club

Oct 5, 2012 by

There’s less than one week to go before the first discussion in what is increasingly my complex attempt to encourage the internet to force me to read a book. It started with the a simple concept; Ben doesn’t read books anymore (I’ve read 1 book this year cover to cover, and even that feels like a fluke), Ben wants to start reading more, so Ben has decided to put his shame out there publicly for the internet to see in hopes that some kind souls will participate in a book discussion, forcing Ben to read. Along the way I’m hoping to gain a greater understanding of how a lot of Googles various tools work in conjunction with one another, and already lamenting the huge rift between Google Apps K-12 accounts and the rest of the Google Apps ecosystem. So it was with great excitement that almost 2 dozen people...

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