The SLENZ Update – No 91, May 28, 2009

VIDEO GAMES IN THE CLASSROOM

Early teens  learn from  playing

video games in class

While this blog is generally about virtual worlds there is a connection between multi-user virtual environments  and video games which  demonstrate the efficacy of learning by “playing” among adults, teenagers and children, whether in a distance education setting or a classroom.

There are lessons from  all sides which can inform debate on the issue.Dubbels

One Minneapolis teacher, Brock Dubbels (pictured), at Seward Montessori in Minneapolis, and quoted by the Minneapolis Star Tribune,  is using video games to engage and teach 12 to 14-year-olds a variety of skills.

Students in Dubbels class spend their school time together playing off-the-shelf video games for the Nintendo Wii and other gaming systems.

“It connects to their lives,” Dubbels said. “Research shows that kids want to perform where they have competence. Games are part of their lives.”

Over a three-week period, the kids split up into groups and play video games with the goal  explaining how the game is played, how a player might win and how the game is designed.

By the end of the session, the students will have created a multimedia presentation, including lots of writing about their games that is then uploaded to the Web as a modern version of a book report.

Dubbels, who has a background in cognitive psychology, says they’re also improving reading comprehension, learning to work cooperatively, building technical-writing skills and incorporating technology into their studies.