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Video Games and Learning: Teaching and Participatory Culture in the Digital Age

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Can we learn socially and academically valuable concepts and skills from video games? How can we best teach the "gamer generation"? This accessible book describes how educators and curriculum designers can harness the participatory nature of digital media and play. The author presents a comprehensive model of games and learning that integrates analyses of games, game cultu Can we learn socially and academically valuable concepts and skills from video games? How can we best teach the "gamer generation"? This accessible book describes how educators and curriculum designers can harness the participatory nature of digital media and play. The author presents a comprehensive model of games and learning that integrates analyses of games, game culture, and educational game design. Building on more than 10 years of research, Kurt Squire tells the story of the emerging field of immersive, digitally mediated learning environments (or games) and outlines the future of education. Featuring engaging stories from the author's experiences as a game researcher, this book: Explores the intersections between commercial game design for entertainment and design-based research conducted in schools. Highlights the importance of social interactions around games at home, at school, and in online communities. Engages readers with a user-friendly presentation, including personal narratives, sidebars, screenshots, and annotations. Offers a forward-looking vision of the changing audience for educational video games.


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Can we learn socially and academically valuable concepts and skills from video games? How can we best teach the "gamer generation"? This accessible book describes how educators and curriculum designers can harness the participatory nature of digital media and play. The author presents a comprehensive model of games and learning that integrates analyses of games, game cultu Can we learn socially and academically valuable concepts and skills from video games? How can we best teach the "gamer generation"? This accessible book describes how educators and curriculum designers can harness the participatory nature of digital media and play. The author presents a comprehensive model of games and learning that integrates analyses of games, game culture, and educational game design. Building on more than 10 years of research, Kurt Squire tells the story of the emerging field of immersive, digitally mediated learning environments (or games) and outlines the future of education. Featuring engaging stories from the author's experiences as a game researcher, this book: Explores the intersections between commercial game design for entertainment and design-based research conducted in schools. Highlights the importance of social interactions around games at home, at school, and in online communities. Engages readers with a user-friendly presentation, including personal narratives, sidebars, screenshots, and annotations. Offers a forward-looking vision of the changing audience for educational video games.

30 review for Video Games and Learning: Teaching and Participatory Culture in the Digital Age

  1. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    Read for transmedia independent study. Lots of good advice based on experience, and references I'll have to check out.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Judy Elquist

    Video Games and Learning by Kurt Squire: Book Review Judy Elquist Boise State University Video Games and Learning About the Book Video Games and Learning, by Kurt Squire (2011), is an in-depth look at improving education and learning through the use of Video Game concepts. Written for educators and video game designers, the book is a nonfiction look at the different ways that students learn when educators utilize well-designed “gaming” for richer educational experiences. The book is exactly what the Video Games and Learning by Kurt Squire: Book Review Judy Elquist Boise State University Video Games and Learning About the Book Video Games and Learning, by Kurt Squire (2011), is an in-depth look at improving education and learning through the use of Video Game concepts. Written for educators and video game designers, the book is a nonfiction look at the different ways that students learn when educators utilize well-designed “gaming” for richer educational experiences. The book is exactly what the title infers-a discussion about how people learn in video games and how that type of learning can improve our current educational system. Kurt Squire is an associate professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a regular column contributor for computer Games magazine, and Director of the Games, Learning and Society initiative which researches game design for education. He has taught at Montessori and McGuffey Foundation schools and was the research manager of the Games-to-Teach project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (Wikipedia, 2016). He has written two other books: Real-Time Research: Improvisational Game Scholarship (2010) and games, Learning, and Society: Learning and Meaning in the Digital Age (with Constance Steinkuehler) ( 2012). The foreword for this book was written by James Paul Gee who is an American and writer who is a Professor of Literacy studies at Arizona State University (Squire, 2011). He has written numerous books about video games and education. In the forward Gee discusses who Kurt Squire is and what he desires to teach about video games and learning. He states that good video games are, “... well-designed problem-solving spaces with copious feedback, good mentoring…” (p. X). He further notes that scholars like Squire know that games teach through groups with common interests and passions who are driven to design and redesign, study and critique the games. Also included in the book are numerous contributions by Henry Jenkins who is a Provost Professor of Communication, Journalism, and Cinematic Arts for the University of Southern California. He provides multiple real-world anecdotes (listed as “Features”) to illustrate concepts discussed throughout separate chapters of the book. The preface of the book is written by Squire himself and discusses his relationship with games and his reasons for researching and writing this book. He discusses current educational practices and their limitations, evidence based evolutions in learning created by game processes, the need for further research into what games truly teach effectively, and the need to educate the educators concerning the benefits to learning through gaming. As the book jacket states, the book, “..describes how educators and curriculum designers can harness a comprehensive model of games and learning that integrates analysis of games, game culture, and educational game design” (Back flap). Summary Dr. Squire begins the book discussing the ways that games already serve as mediums for learning. For example he learned geography and history through playing Pirates! The theme of learning about multiple subjects and how they affect each other is a theme throughout the book. This type of learning is stated as developing a feel for how systems work and is listed as “systemic thinking” (p. 5) which helps with problem solving and dealing with variables. This type of gaming also encourages short, medium and long-term goals that overlap in action. When players attempt differing approaches to the game, new lessons are learned and patterns are recognized. Throughout the first two chapters, Dr. Squire discusses “participatory cultures” meaning that, as individuals and groups play games, they develop identities that they otherwise may not assume, negotiate values and confront failure. They also develop more “savvy” about the games and, as Dr. Squire puts it, …”they ramp up the game’s complexity so that the game and players literally co-evolve” (p.13). This open environment, participatory type of learning is examined at length throughout the book as experiments involving gaming in educational settings are discussed by Dr. Squire. Numerous entertainment games with educational value are examined at length including SimCity (Sim) and Civilization (Civ). These games are seen as “good educational games” because they allow for a visual learning experience, use existing knowledge to reach goals, promote systemic understanding, use sophisticated game design techniques such as overlapping goal structures, have multiple ways to play, pique players’ interests, encourage social interaction of different types and inspire creativity allowing players to grow from users to producers. The use of these games, even though they are for entertainment, promotes learning on a deep level. Dr. Squire addresses his teaching experiences in both the Montessori and McGuffey schools. He praises the Montessori approach to teaching as allowing for free thinking and self-directed learning. This is associated with game-based learning because both require a commitment to interest-driven learning where teachers act as coaches rather than as “content dispensers and police officers” (p. 59). He discusses game-based pedagogies as similar to Montessori learning toys because they both guide students through cycles of discovery including action, observation, and feedback. Both encourage understanding in “self-correcting” (p.57) ways as the students learn strategies, failure and revision. The participatory learning of Montessori and McGuffey schools are further seen as a way in which traditional schooling may make positive changes. Dr. Squire feels that students should be encouraged to create communities to further their own interests through “collective intelligence” (p. 69). Games are identified as a cultural practice that encourages participation and systemic thinking. MUDs, or multi-user dungeons are one type of multiple user systems addressed as, “... a participatory medium that players co-create” (p. 75). Dr. Squire goes on to discuss ways to integrate gaming and education including how to build better games that allow players to be creative. He states that these games should be developed by teams including subject matter experts, educators and game designers. He also encourages testing, revision and retesting and discusses implementing gaming in a classroom with students of various learning levels, some of whom do not even attend school the majority of the time. The results were astounding with students who were considered “low achieving” becoming deeply invested in the game even assisting each other, learning together and forming bonds with other students. There were failures, including students who could not master the basics of playing the game, however, the majority developed truly systemic understanding. Through this experiment, Dr. Squire learned much about such things as “just-in-time lectures” to keep students interested in different aspects of the game to decrease failures. He felt that the teachers most important role was to facilitate inquiries. Civ is further discussed in relation to Apolyton University which is an online community of fans who play Civ and assist each other, encouraging social connections as well as self-directed learning within the community. Dr. Squire also gave examples of how learning should blur distinctions between play and work. He states that learning can be playful and that today’s schools are so limited by test chores and teacher accountability that designing new experiences for students is lost. Two themes that stood out here were that games teach performance before mastery and that knowledge is created in action. These areas are lacking in current classrooms. Dr. Squire states that the current style of education is “one size fits all” which, “... precludes learning about the world around you” (p. 203). So how to change that attitude? Dr. Squire states that the answer lies in building community partnerships. After school programs, such as clubs that encourage deeper learning through the use of gaming. The goal is that deeper learning experiences will compel teachers to innovate in their own classrooms. In conclusion, Dr. Squire discusses the need for gaming to be part of the curriculum for teachers entering the field. One problem addressed is that of the lack of traditionally gathered research data to validate these changes. He finishes by stating that the vital question is how to change our student assessment and evaluation procedures to begin the innovation of our educational system. Evaluation This book is very well written and provides questions and answers to the reader that effectively teach about gaming as a deeper form of learning. Dr. Squire’s insight into the benefits of games, including the levels of learning, social interaction and advancing further knowledge seemingly unrelated to the game (ie his example of learning geography while playing Pirate!) are enlightening. Examples of applications related to his theories and their success and failures was open and informative. Although he presents information concerning computer games that readers may not be familiar with, he does so in an engaging way, through real-life stories, examples, possible solutions and humor. As James Paul Gee states in the foreword, “He has written a book that is deep, complex, and challenging, but you will never know it, since you will have so much fun reading it” (p. X). One area that could have been addressed in more depth is that of real-world solutions to changing the current culture of education through quality game design. Dr. Squire repeatedly complains about the limitations of our current public education system (an area in which I felt he went too far) but did not offer any type of step by step solutions. Overall, his political agenda was a prevalent theme, one that was not necessary in any way to demonstrating the main points of the book. Overall I would recommend this book to anyone researching the changing world of technology, specifically gaming, in education. References Squire, K. (2011). Video Games and Learning: Teaching and Participatory Culture in the Digital Age. New York, NY: Teachers College Press. Henry Jenkins. (November 3, 2016). In Wikipedia. Retrieved November 27, 2016 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_J... James Paul Gee. (October 28, 2016). In Wikipedia. Retrieved November 27, 2016 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Paul Kurt Squire. (November 23, 2016). In Wikipedia. Retrieved November 27, 2016 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kurt_Sq...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Trever

    Only the last two chapters of this book deal with participation culture. I wish the book dealt with more in game mechanics, more teaching theory instead of specific examples. The book doesn't have many video game examples that any teacher can implement right from the book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    Wasn't what I was looking for, but contains some really exciting ideas.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Christina

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tori

  7. 5 out of 5

    Middlethought

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette Howe

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jordan Shapiro

  10. 4 out of 5

    Stockfish

  11. 5 out of 5

    Geoffrey Gawne

  12. 5 out of 5

    Laurie

  13. 5 out of 5

    Spencer Striker

  14. 5 out of 5

    Mikael

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rasmus Bidstrup

  16. 4 out of 5

    Johnathon Neist

  17. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

  18. 4 out of 5

    Cloud Kwon

  19. 4 out of 5

    Saffista

  20. 5 out of 5

    Sergey

  21. 5 out of 5

    James

  22. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Miller

  23. 5 out of 5

    Norana Cantrell

  24. 4 out of 5

    Matt Lane

  25. 5 out of 5

    ThatCarlyGirl

  26. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Ryan

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kristina Weber, Ph.D.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy Wolff

  29. 4 out of 5

    Joe Runciman

  30. 5 out of 5

    David Mills

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