Sunday, 15 November 2009

Teaching with video games?


There's a huge debate right now about whether video games can be used for teaching. As usual the powers that be just completely miss the point. They ask the question, what value does it add?

As a digital native who's played video games since he was five I think I've learnt more from videos than just about anything else so I look at every other teaching medium and see what it lacks. So I come from a very different standpoint. I've seen 10 yeat olf dyslexic kids grasp really complex problems and solve them with beautifly simple solutions that really taught me something.

They could do this with a computer game because game design is about buiklding discoverable interfaces that humans can intuitively master with the minimum of description. Games must be easy for young kids to pick up and master yet keep a childs attention for hours.

As a growing kid, my capacity grew just like my peers so we evolved our choice in games yet what we could understand and master was limited simply by the designers imagination and budget.

What I'm saying is that games and their designers already know how to teach intricate concepts in fun exsciting ways, through limited interfaces and keep attention for a long time.

Ok, you get it I believe in video games as learning and teaching tools.

I teach tennis. Would I use it to teach tennis. I've just played the top spin tennis demo on ps3 and, yes, I would. Already the basic tutorial is teaching the very concepts I've been teaching, timing is more important than power, footwork and balance better than speed and aggression.

I've been following the fifa series since 1994 across multiple platforms. I've seen it evolve so much and what I notice is the increased realism and focous on teaching that comes from realism. By playing the game I learn in real time the basic and even very advanced aspects of tactics , training, mentality and everything else.

I also think sports and games reflect real life if you think about it in certain ways. I feel you learn life lessons, not just those specific to the games. Like how to deal with adversity, pressure and competition.

So games is the way to go in my eyes. Everything else will slowly learn to be as good
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