Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The intersection of video games and education

I'm finding more evidence lately to support the concept of using video games in education. Two years ago, approximately, at a video game conference in San Jose, I talked to vendors about the idea. At that time, I found it hard to generate interest, but things could begin to change. I had been interested in the idea of an Everquest, or Final Fantasy- like game filled with all types of educational content. It would be an endless learning environment, where lines between subject areas could be crossed and students would be allowed to be as creative as necessary to achieve game objectives. Through clever programming, standardized test content could be embedded in such games. This article shows both the positive and negative aspects of this type of learning.
"Experts in pedagogy and game design began the conference by discussing specific attributes of video games that lend themselves to learning applications and went on to examine areas of knowledge and skill development to which game features could be applied."

"The decision environments provided in gaming are great training for all sorts of high-performance teams," said Jan Cannon-Bowers, an associate professor at the University of Central Florida and formerly senior scientist for training systems for the U.S. Navy. "Though gaming provides a good medium for instruction, good instruction must transcend the game."

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