Assessment 2: INF541 Online Reflective Journal Blog Task 2

How might games be used to develop a more socially inclusive classroom or workplace using Gee’s viewpoint?

Gee, J.P. (2005). Good video games and good learning. Phi Kappa Phi Forum,  85(2), 33-37. http://dmlcentral.net/sites/dmlcentral/files/resource_files/GoodVideoGamesLearning.pdf

 

Gaming often has this portrayal of being an isolating activity, teenagers in their bedrooms spending hours playing PS4/XBOX/PC games, only emerging when food is required or they have to get up to go to school. This popular myth is being challenged by a range of scholarly work highlighting the impact of gaming for learning and creation of socially cooperative learning environments. These gaming environments are breaking down the stereotypes through the demonstration of 21st-century skills that they offer.

 

The Four Cs of 21st Century Skills. (Lippl, 2013)

 

Gee (2005) puts forward that good games incorporate ‘good learning principles’ (p.34), which reflect sound pedagogy and links to the modern skills we are trying to teach in the classroom. Gee’s principles are extremely valuable to investigate and explore in his article Good video games and good learning’

 

My experience of gaming is fairly limited and completely as an individual player, rather than in any online/cooperative gaming environment. This is where my challenge lies in figuring out the role of gaming in my classroom and how it can possibly create this socially inclusive space for students. My own experience around gaming has evolved with discovering the power of failure in games like ‘Assassin’s Creed’ and ‘Uncharted’; and as Gee points out that failure is a good thing (2005, p.35), and my early failures have been used as Gee puts it, a way to find the patterns, and to gain feedback to overcome the obstacles (p.35). That is one of the big issues in the classroom that we do not encourage failure and actually work against it at all costs. Dan Haesler (2017) recently did a small twitter poll snapshot that shows how often we actually are allowing students more than one chance.

Twitter Poll (Haesler, 2017)

The question at hand on how we can encourage more failure, but at the same time creating socially inclusive classroom with games, can only take place if teachers are allowed freedom with the curriculum and be allowed to take risks. Kafai & Burke (2015) noted that playing games highlight the personal, social and cultural dimensions of constructionist learning, and this can according to Ives (2015) “not only be a constructivist view of learning, where learning emerges from experiences, but also a connectivist approach where learning is strengthened and enhanced when nodes of knowledge (players) connect and diffuse knowledge”.

 

The digital games which require the creation of “cross-functional teams” (Gee, 2005), where these are people with different functional expertise working towards common goals, are extremely beneficial in developing an inclusive classroom. It allows students of various abilities, interests, expertise, and passions to come together in a collaborative effort to solve problems and overcome obstacles. These are so-called Affinity Spaces, where experiential learning can happen, where novices and masters work together, knowledge is shared and collectively the group develops towards an end point.

 

The issue as Gee notes is that “challenge and learning are a large part of what makes video games motivating and entertaining”, but schools are generally not known for places where students enjoy learning. The challenge remains that we need to look at each game with a pedagogical framework on how we can create these socially inclusive learning environments that can engage students. Each one is unique and can offer endless learning opportunities.

 

References

 

Gee, J.P. (2005). Good video games and good learning. Phi Kappa Phi Forum, 85(2), 33-37. http://dmlcentral.net/sites/dmlcentral/files/resource_files/GoodVideoGamesLearning.pdf

 

Haesler, D. [@danhaesler]. (2017, Mar 16). How many times will you allow a student to re-take an end of unit assessment before you report on their ability in said unit? [Tweet]. Retrieved from https://twitter.com/danhaesler/status/842247117896785921

 

Ives, M. (2015). Digital Games: Cross Functional Teams and Collaboration. [Blog] Knowledge Networks & Digital Innovation Blog. Available at: http://thinkspace.csu.edu.au/mattives/2015/03/22/digital-games-cross-functional-teams-and-collaboration/

 

Kafai, Y.B. & Burke, Q. (2015). Constructionist gaming: understanding the benefits of making games for learning, Educational Psychologist, 50 (4). DOI: 10.1080/00461520.2015.1124022

Lippl, C. (2013, December 16). The Four Cs of 21st Century Skills. [Image]. Retrieved from http://zulama.com/education-trends/four-cs-21st-century-skills/#.WM-vGHSGPBI

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