I enjoyed a session today on Video Games in Education. On the panel were the following four people:
John Rice -IT director in Iola ISD
Donna McKethan-Director of Career Tech Ed at Waco ISD
Lee Wilson- Principal Consultant for Headway Strategies
The discussion was fascinating. It centered around how important it is to engage the students of today. Lee made a great point about how gaming has been a learning strategy throughout history. Kids have always learned through games. What has changed though is that technology has made the environment richer. One example of this is that gaming now includes a social element, which is extremely engaging for kids. Jim made the point that it is precisely the social element that is so important. He said that for the first time, video games and technology allow people to learn the way they naturally learn. I agree. Learning has always been deeper and more powerful when it is social and interactive.
Gaming allows us not only to engage our students but deliver content and get kids thinking in really meaningful ways. They can do research to help solve the problems within the game. You can lead class discussions about how students solved the problems and why one way works better than another.
I think it is important to clarify that when we talk about video games, we are talking about a new different kind of video game than what we (if you happen to be of my generation) used to play. It is time to revisit the possibilities of gaming in education. Keep in mind also that there may not be many games out there designed for education, but that will change and it will change quickly. It is also important to point out that the elements of gaming that are so important don't always have to do with technology. See my last post on gaming for more on that.
Also check out this link for a great blog on video gaming as well as a good starting point for good educational video games.