Gaming in Education

Jun 29, 2012 by

Knowing that I am interested in modifying games to fit a child’s needs, A friend sent me this link.

Game-Based Learning to Teach and Assess 21st Century Skills

 While I agree with most of what Andrew Miller has to say I think there are some key points that need to be questioned.  First a skilled teacher is needed to determine the proper balance between gaming and other methods of teaching to maximize learning, otherwise splinter skills are inevitable .  Second, as far as I know students are not going to be playing games in college for grades or in the work place for evaluations.  They need to understand this and realize that the rules and methods will change in those settings.  Students will be set up for failure if they believe playing angry birds or halo will translate into a career (however in this day and age not entirely impossible for a few).  Third, I don’t believe for a second that Andrew Miller is implying that all will be right in education with a lot of or even a little game playing.  He is suggesting that game playing can reinforce or help to develop some needed underlying skills.
What I am not happy with as a speech therapist is that most video games are very solitary and there is little social interaction.  There is also no way to modify video games to a child’s specific needs or to aid in development of a skills.  I know many have levels you have to achieve but you can’t break apart specific skills if needed.
As a parent and as a SLP I know that often children become obsessed with video games.  Most are exposed to them from an early age (these days through their parents).   Also as a parent I’m not sure I like the idea of commercial video games used in schools.  However, more than once I’v seen teacher plop a kid in front of a computer either as a reward or to keep them busy, observing that the computer game they’re playing has little or no educational value
I know I can take just about any game and modify it so it has some educational value.  I’ve been doing it for years.  Why not video games.   So before making harsh judgement against certain video games and educational value, perhaps I should play a few.

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