Archive for March, 2008

Response to MMORPGs in Schools: The Shift Ahead

Last night, Mark Wagner posted part of his dissertation in his blog, Educational Technology and Life. He’s asked for comments from readers and here are excerpts of my responses to MMORPGs in Schools: The Shift Ahead. Wagner writes:

They urged that games be designed with “sound theories of learning and socially conscious educational practices” (p. 111). However, they also noted that the theories of learning embedded in videogames as a medium run counter to the presiding theories of learning in schools. Squire and Gee (2003) explained that games may be viewed as suspect in an era when the value of instruction is measured by standardized tests (p. 30).

I think it’s a good point that the learning theories that align and will likely rise out of video game experiences run counter in an era of standardized testing. However, I think it also runs counter to currently accepted pedagogies, which are based in part on behaviorism (Skinner’s pecking pigeons) and information-scarce landscapes. In learning environments based on biology (brain-research) and information-abundant information landscapes, video games may likely prevail and become a dominant mode of formal learning.

Author: David Warlick, 2cent Worth Blog, 31st March 2008

Full article available here.

March 31, 2008 at 4:45 pm Leave a comment

Digital Inclusion at Futurelab Research Day

The Futurelab Research Day was hard work, and all the better for it. The sessions shared experiences of projects, discussion papers and research reviews, and posed difficult questions to an audience more than prepared to offer their perspectives from a wide range of different communities. The day was thought-provoking, and I went away with ideas, not only about the topics addressed, but also about what we might need to do to prepare ourselves adequately for the tasks of planning for the future of education. I was reminded of Ted Wragg’s call for ‘intelligent action’.

Author: Avril Loveless, Flux Blog, 30th March 2008

Full article available here.

March 31, 2008 at 4:34 pm Leave a comment

links for 2008-03-31 from Wagner

Author: Mark Wagner, Educational Technology and Life Blog, 31st March 2008

Full article available here.

March 31, 2008 at 4:29 pm Leave a comment

MMORPGs in Schools: The Shift Ahead

One of my dissertation committee members asked that I address in Chapter 5 the paradigm shift necessary to implement MMORPGs in schools. I’ve chosen to include this in the concluding statement. I’ve just now finished a complete draft of the dissertation and finished composing the concluding statement. I plan to send it off to my committee soon, but I’m also dying to know what some of you might think. I’d appreciate any feedback you can offer on this concluding statement:
Shaffer, Squire, and Gee (2003) wrote that “videogames have the potential to change the landscape of education as we know it” (p. 111). They urged that games be designed with “sound theories of learning and socially conscious educational practices” (p. 111). However, they also noted that the theories of learning embedded in videogames as a medium run counter to the presiding theories of learning in schools. Squire and Gee (2003) explained that games may be viewed as suspect in an era when the value of instruction is measured by standardized tests (p. 30).

Author: Mark Wagner, Educational Technology and Life Blog, 30th March 2008

Full article available here.

March 31, 2008 at 4:22 pm Leave a comment

Canadian university faces off with digital generation

A Canadian university has instilled a culture of fear by threatening to expel a student for cheating because he set up an online study group on Facebook, critics said this week. Toronto’s Ryerson University threatened to expel first-year computer engineering student Chris Avenir last week, arguing that his study group on the Facebook networking site might encourage cheating.

Ryerson decided to lift the expulsion threat on Tuesday, but Avenir will get zero credits for the course work discussed on the Facebook forum last autumn, and the university has put a disciplinary notice on his record.

Canadian media analyst Jesse Hirsh said Ryerson’s actions send the wrong message to students, most of whom spend a lot of their time on the Internet.

Author: Reuters, cnet news.com, 20th March 2008

Full article available here.

March 31, 2008 at 4:15 pm Leave a comment

Plaudits and concern over Byron

The Byron Review

The Byron Review aims to improve the ratings system

The games industry has welcomed the recommendations of the Byron Review but concerns have been raised that ratings still need to be future proofed.

Dr Tanya Byron has recommended that the role of the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) be expanded.

BBFC director David Cooke said the body was well placed to deal with task of rating all games for ages 12 plus.

But leading industry figures have said the self-regulatory system Pegi should have been given more emphasis.

Pegi is a pan-European self-regulatory system used by developers and publishers.

There has also been concern expressed about how the online and offline gaming ratings will mesh.

Dr Byron has said that Pegi should classify online games but many titles now have both an online and offline component.

“Our key concern is that we really want a future proofed system,” said Paul Jackson, director general of the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association. “As our industry is going online so rapidly, it’s critical for us that the system works for on the shelf and online.”

Author: Darren Waters, Technology editor, BBC News, 27th March 2008

Full article available here.

March 31, 2008 at 4:12 pm Leave a comment

How To Spark Remote Learning

“Second Life,” the online world that brings players together from across the globe to socialize, shop and even fly, is developing a second career as a hot spot for learning English as a second language (ESL).

It’s a classic innovation–a novel way to use a tool created for an entirely different purpose, namely to have a good time. That’s still the reason why most players come to “Second Life,” but English-language instructors who spend time with students there say they’re combining fun and learning–and getting excellent results.

Author: Bonnie Ruberg, Forbes Innovations, 19th March 2008

Full article available here.

March 31, 2008 at 4:00 pm Leave a comment

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About

The purpose of this blog is to provide insight into the impact of computer games and pop culture, and effective ways of incorporating the positive surplus into learning experiences.

Please feel free to add comments and email me with any queries. I am also interested in relevant project collaboration.

Name: Alexandra Matthews
Location: UK

Email: info@gamingandlearning.co.uk / alex@gamingandlearning.co.uk

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