One issue that keeps coming up as we talk more and more about new media and what to do with it in the classroom is the issue of the nature of the classroom itself. It’s a fun idea, something to throw around. What is it? How is it constructed? What sort of space is it and how much latitude do we have to play with it, especially within American education.
Some might say that the world is a great lecture hall and that all the objects that make it up are things with which to learn, from tadpoles to user interface, and thereby have a useful purpose.
Is the classroom gamelike; that is, does the classroom display characteristics of game. I don’t mean game as in the “frivolous” but games as strictly rules-based situations contrived for a given outcome. Most situations involve some sort of “reward,” a pay off, hence demand strategic thinking to get that reward. We need to get to the elavator before the crowd does, so we finish work a little early and then dash for the hall. Finishing work is the “tactical maneuver.” Strategy is the overall plan.
Does the way people behave in the classroom involve “game-like” approaches, playing for a particular result? If we achieve the result, did someone learn?
Okay. You’re right. The classroom is most definitely being played as a game, including seating arrangement, (face front in rows or semicircular for discussion and inclusion within group) student choice of seat (up front, middle, last row, each means something strategically), instructor choice (seated behind desk, on top of desk, within semicircle, standing at lectern), atmosphere (windows, doors), tools (desks, chairs, computers) etc. It’s all a part of a game, and the habits of a classroom are the same, under some restrictions by authority, as those we practice outside.
Now you will be planning to teach a course which will be a game, within a game, to a roomful of gamers.