Thursday, April 29th, 2004
One of the hot issues these days is games and education, using games to teach (sort of like using stories to teach, hm, what, narrative?) and teaching with games. Subtle distinctions? Using games to teach and teaching with games. Are these similar statements?
Games are immersive by “nature” (they want us “inside”). Therefore, they encourage virtual spaces that grab and keep you. Games have a power of immersion that teachers would love to capture in the classroom, having students so engrossed in the “moment” of the subject that they just can’t help but leave jazzed and “filled” with so much about Shakespeare that their tongues drip with sonnet honey.
Lots of games exist that are themselves “learning” environments with a specific goal: teaching physics, for example. Yet all games involve environments and codes and surfaces that demand learning or that must be learned. In games we learn because we have to. There are some games that I can’t stand: certain games that are so complex, like Wadjet, that I spend much of the time at the table amazed at my dumbness. I like fast, kinetic games where cards are slapped around and fingers bleed, gladitorial stuff. Yet, as far as PC games go, I immerse myself in the adventures.
We live in these worlds anyway. Is the classroom not just another form of virtuality?