This week we focused on the idea that the world of gaming and virtual worlds can ‘blur’ from home life into school life for many students or perhaps transferring learning from one context to another. I’ve always perceived gaming and virtual worlds to be a negative impact in our lives for two reasons:
- We zone in on what we are doing and shut out everything and everyone around us
- Rather than have a virtual garden or home, why not take a look at and care for the one we already have.
Now it is obvious that there is more to it than this. The fact is that when we are gaming we develop a set of skills, values and motivation that can be applied to other areas of life and learning, as Jane McGonigal highlighted in her presentation (TED, 2010), including:
- Through gaming we develop a sense of trust and working collaboratively to develop and succeed
- There is a motivation to achieve and succeed in what we are working towards
- There is a level of contentment in being productive rather than doing nothing
- There is a desire to be a part of something and achieve
All of these attributes can be transferred for use in the classroom, in other activities. The desire to achieve and be part of something, students getting involved because they obtain satisfaction in productivity, working well collaboratively and developing a sense of trust and respect for teachers and their peers all contribute to a positive classroom environment. These skills, for example, can all relate to a class game of soccer or T-ball as well as working in groups to make a movie or drama skit.
Working with Sploder cemented for me that these skills, values and motivation were present in the world of gaming and therefore made me believe that there are benefits in using gaming and virtual worlds in the classroom. For example, the ability to persist in designing my game demonstrated the need to try various options, be creative and learn to navigate the program, but eventually motivated me to successfully achieve a basic game. It also highlighted the advantage of gaming and virtual worlds in that they provide the ability to modify and adjust features to suit the abilities of the user, allowing all students to participate (Howell, 2014). The more confident I got, the better the features I added. As well as developing motor skills, it can also benefit creativity and the development of problem-solving skills.
Ultimately, it comes down to finding a balance between applying these digital resources as well as others in order to satisfy learning and build our future generations’ digital fluency.
Howell, J. (2014). Teaching with ICT: digital pedagogies for collaboration & creativity. Melbourne, VIC. Oxford University Press.
TED. (2010, February). Gaming can make a better world. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/jane_mcgonigal_gaming_can_make_a_better_world