Advent Calendar 2009

18 - Why Video Games Are Good For You

It is crys­tal ball time again. This time we are talk­ing about the future of edu­ca­tion. The claim: Game design­ers = Teachers. The pre­sen­ter: Tim Hart. An instruc­tion­al or learn­ing tech­nol­o­gist at the University of Maine in the USA. His pre­sen­ta­tion (with the title prob­a­bly some­what inspired by Steven Johnson’s book “Everything Good is Bad for You”) is about the poten­tial of dig­i­tal games for learn­ing and edu­ca­tion. It is part­ly a rant, part­ly vision­ary. I find it well-craft­ed and com­pre­hen­sive. He begins by out­lin­ing a num­ber of good resources on his top­ic and starts talk­ing about the gen­er­a­tion V (the cur­rent­ly 5-year-olds) and their expec­ta­tion of the future edu­ca­tion sys­tem. Kids that will live and breathe Microsoft Project Natal, brows­er games, the Zii (or Cii, Bii, Oii, Yii as it is spec­u­lat­ed), min­gle with friends in the next Facebook and PlayStation Home, and expect all movies to have the lev­el of sophis­ti­ca­tion that Avatar is cur­rent­ly show­ing. On slide 30, he has a car­toon ques­tion­ing whether we should be teach­ing our kids the old-fash­ioned way it is often still done.

He goes on and cov­ers recent tech­ni­cal devel­op­ments like aug­ment­ed real­i­ty con­tact lens­es, the Emotiv head­set, and Sparkle in light of Moore’s law. He presents a bit of infor­ma­tion on the aver­age gamer from the ESA and makes his point of the finan­cial (and with that cul­tur­al) sig­nif­i­cance dig­i­tal games have. Then, he con­sid­ers our moti­va­tion to play games. As we have seen in oth­er pre­sen­ta­tions dur­ing this Advent spe­cial, this is one of the key points of games to under­stand, the com­pelling pow­er that they have and how to use this to improve our lives (in this case our edu­ca­tion). He also gives a nod to John von Neumann and the fact that one essen­tial idea behind games is strat­e­gy build­ing (which is the focus of game the­o­ry). A num­ber of his own projects show how he is work­ing with the idea of games for learn­ing. And now on to his slides.

More Links

Resources on Edutainment and Serious Games from his slides

Augmented Reality in a Contact Lens (Picture)

Virtual Maine Wiki

Serious Games in Ning

It’s Not Whether You Win or Lose, but How You Play the Game: The Role of Virtual Worlds in Education

Six Wonderful Things About Games


4 thoughts on “18 - Why Video Games Are Good For You

  1. Pingback: What Can We Learn From Computer Games? « The Acagamic

  2. Pingback: links for 2009-12-19 | edu tim

  3. You are cor­rect the title was based on Johnson’s book. I am glad that you liked my pre­sen­ta­tion. Thanks for the inter­est. I have used acagam­ic often in my class­es and am hon­ored to be includ­ed here. Keep up the great work.

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