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.