Bodong Chen

Crisscross Landscapes

Notes: What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy



Citekey: @gee2003

Gee, J. P. (2003). What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy. Computers in Entertainment, 1(1), 20. doi:10.1145950566.950595


Thus, designers face and largely solve an intriguing educational dilemma, one also faced by schools and workplaces: how to get people, often young people, to learn and master something that is long and challenging—and enjoy it, to boot. (p. 1)

I argue that schools, workplaces, families, and academic researchers have a lot to learn about learning from good computer and video games. Such games incorporate a whole set of fundamentally sound learning principles, principles that can be used in other settings, for example in teaching science in schools. (p. 1)

I also argue that schools, workplaces, and families can use games and game technologies to enhance learning. (p. 1)

Let me give a few examples of the good learning principles that are incorporated in good games (36 principles are discussed in my book). Good games give information “on demand” and “just in time,” not out of the contexts of actual use or apart from people’s purposes and goals, something that happens too often in schools. (p. 2)

Good games operate at the outer and growing edge of a player’s competence, remaining challenging, but do-able, while schools often operate at the lowest common denominator [diSessa 2000]. (p. 2)

good games allow players to customize the game to their own levels of ability and styles of learning. (p. 2)

Games allow players to be producers and not just consumers. Along with the designer, the player’s actions co-create the game world. (p. 2)

Good games confront players in the initial game levels with problems that are specifically designed to allow players to form good generalizations about what will work well later when they face more complex problems. Often, in fact, the initial levels of a game are in actuality hidden tutorials. (p. 2)

At the same time, games create “a cycle of expertise” [Bereiter and Scardamalia 1989]. (p. 3)

Since good games are highly motivating to a great many people, we can learn from them how motivation is created and sustained. (p. 3)

Cognitive research suggests that such fine-grained action at a distance actually causes humans to feel as if their bodies and minds have stretched into a new space [Clark 2003], a highly motivating state. Books and movies, for all their virtues, cannot do this. (p. 3)

Finally, we can state that when players play in massive multiplayer games, they often collaborate in teams, each using a different, but overlapping, set of skills, and share knowledge, skills, and values with others both inside the game and on various Internet sites. (p. 3)

in the end, the real importance of good computer and video games is that they allow people to re-create themselves in new worlds and achieve recreation and deep learning at one and the same time. (p. 3)