What joy!!! Definitely a welcome presence!
Henry Jenkins is the Director of the MIT Comparative Media Studies Program and just a MUST READ!
I’ve just read his post “Fun vs. Engagement: The Case of the Great Zoombinis” where I was introduced to Scott Osterweil’s at The Education Arcade and his captivating podcast.
It’s so good to see discussions and research about learning and games beyond ‘just’ simulations. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for simulation games, but I do believe there is a clearer learning power in actual gameplay. And ofcourse this has been a topic for a long time – I guess I just understand the language so much better!
“What we did when we started designing Zoobinis was to try to think about our own experience with the mathematics of the game and try to access our own learning of it — trying to remember what it was like to encounter the subject in school or thinking about how we’d use the subject in our daily lives and try to identify times when we had been playful with the concepts in the past. In fact, most of us when we are trying to master something we find ways to be playful to it and in accessing our own playful approach to the material what we were really doing was finding the game that was inherent in the mathematics. Instead of putting math in the game, we tried to find the game in the math” – Osterweil
Brilliant!!! Absolutely brilliant! Jenkins has a great thought as well:
“I often imagine the teacher coming into class to review the previous night’s game play: “Think about level 7. How did you beat it? Here’s what you were doing” and then scratching out the formulas on the blackboard. “Now go back and try that level again and see if it gets easier.” We see educational games as closely integrated into a more elaborate instructional process. We certainly can learn things by playing games — and we can learn things independently on our own. Many of us would say that the most important stuff we learned growing up took place outside the classroom. But, we think that learning through games is going to be most powerful when we encounter the content on multiple levels and where informal and formal learning intersect”
Right on!!! This is the way to go, if you ask me! Excellent way to encourage engaged learning!