May 16

Teaching and learning inside games. Reflection 5.1

This module considers a range of issues particularly how games are perceived and how they can be adapted to the learning environment. It is important to consider the relationship between teaching and the pedagogical affordance.

Shaffer (2006) presents the opinion, with which I concur, that students can transfer what is being learned and experienced in playing a game to other aspects of their lives. However the ongoing challenge is how to do this most effectively.

  1.  How useful do these appear in attempting to evaluate games and game-like approaches?

In considering O’Brien, D. (2011). A taxonomy of educational games. In Gaming and simulations: Concepts, methodologies, tools and applications (pp. 1-23), I consider this as a very useful move towards “helping educators assess digital games based on the features that are relevant to instructional design and educational research” Any information which helps educators who recognise the pedagogical value of games, but who are struggling with effective implementation, is useful. Understanding how some types of games are different from others can help educators to understand how and when games can be beneficial to learning.


taxonomy of games

I believe that Table 1- The taxonomy of educational games would be a useful resource for educators to align their game choice with outcomes and to clarify how the students will be thinking when they engage with a game. This could also be useful to help educators consider what cognitive functions and skills a particular genre of game could potentially develop.

Retrieved from

2. How do these children see the game? Do they see it as playing to win or something else?

The Minecraft is fun video highlights how children perceive this game and the most obvious positive they raise is that they “like to build things” The ability to manipulate a context, creatively contribute and experience that sense of agency seems powerfully engaging. The children seem confident and willing to collaborate and seek help. The fear of failure and taking risks seems to be reduced in this game environment which empowers them to process the information they have and apply their knowledge to resolve their problems. They are not playing to win…competition of that sort does not feature at all!

3. Consider the presentation and audience for this ‘game’ and their media habits.


A classic example of game player adapting games to play games within games according to their entertainment interests. This particular video seems aimed at a younger audience however the remediation and inter textual references open the initial game up to a broader audience. As a non Minecraft player I found it incredibly difficult to follow the presenter. There is a high degree of assumed knowledge about game jargon and the mechanics of game play. I therefore assume that this game would serve a relatively small niche market however I assume most Minecraft players would be able to engage quite readily. Tacit knowledge is shared through the common experience, common language and through the extended gamers’ world of forums and videos like the one presented.

The game environment has successfully developed that curiosity which we try so hard to create in formal education, where the player is actively seeking beyond the immediate game environment to build knowledge and skills. So if we want to harness that power, one of the challenges is to engage parental acceptance of digital games.


4. What are the social and cultural barriers to acceptance in your context? Do parents or workplace colleagues conceive learning is possible inside a game? How would you overcome negative opinions?

In my context of a senior secondary college, parental attitudes are less influential than they would be at the younger ages. In this particular age group and given that we are a trade college which is not aiming for strong academic results or tertiary entry scores, parents are more inclined to accept a more “relaxed” approach. The commonly held perception of games as unlikely tools for education is not much of a barrier because our parents are more focused on engaging their children who have usually been disenfranchised by main stream education. The focus in our organisation is on student engagement, reaching individuals through differentiation and a customised/ personalised program, so I am fortunate not to have to justify my decision to use game design or game based learning. However I am sure in a different context parental attitudes would be highly influential on both their child’s perception of games and on policy makers who would be influenced by the attitudes of parents.


O’Brien, D. (2011). A taxonomy of educational games. In Gaming and simulations: Concepts, methodologies, tools and applications (pp. 1-23). Hershey, PA: . doi:10.4018/978-1-60960-195-9.ch101

Shaffer, D. W. (2006). Epistemic frames for epistemic games. Computers & Education, 46(3), 223–234.doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2005.11.003



Posted May 16, 2016 by moraig in category INF541

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