Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Video Games as Models for Learning

Until recently, most of the conversations around video and online games were about their seemingly negative effects, but now people are beginning to see how video games have tapped into some very important learning concepts that are applicable to the real world. We are being asked to rethink our negative attitudes toward the visual power of video games and see how we can use that power to improve education and the world in which we live.

Game designer Jane McGonigal (right) asks: "Why doesn't the real world work more like an online game? In the best-designed games, our human experience is optimized: We have important work to do, we're surrounded by potential collaborators, and we learn quickly and in a low-risk environment."

Game theorist Tom Chatfield (left) asks, "What if society harnessed that energy [of game players and creators] to redefine learning? Or voting?" Chatfield believes that understanding the psychology of the videogame reward schedule is not only important for understanding the world of our children but it's a stepping stone to improving our world right now.

The complex challenge and reward systems developed and tested by game designers can be applied to making the real world a better place in which to live, work, and play. McGonigal's challenge to designers and future designers is "Instead of providing gamers with better and more immersive alternatives to reality, I want all of us to be become responsible for providing the world with a better and more immersive reality."

Click on the heading above to watch Jane McGonigal's presentation, "Gaming Can Make a Better World", at the TED conference. Then check out Tom Chatfield's presentation, "7 ways games reward the brain", at the TED conference as well.

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