Video Games Are Making Kids Smarter

13 Dec

The world is becoming “gamified,” and that’s just ok. Gabe Zichermann describes how our lives are becoming saturated with game based methods of positive reinforcement, and the students we teach, Generation G, will be more adept and prepared for the world because of it. In his final words, he prescribes a thoughtful and purposeful medication for all of us who belong in a different generation: Play and understand a video game your child enjoys, become involved with the elements that engage him/her.

Questions to consider:

1. Gabe explains how the 21st Century learning elements are included in video games. I noticed collaboration, problem solving, reflection, creative/critical thinking, and communication. What have you noticed in your children (or others’) while they play? Did I miss any elements?

2. Where have you seen “Gamification?” Gabe notes the newer hybrid cars, have you seen it elsewhere?

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One Response to “Video Games Are Making Kids Smarter”

  1. Karen Landsman December 13, 2011 at 10:19 am #

    Librarians have realized the impact of gaming on reading and high interest in books for the past decade.
    In the School Library Journal, there is a monthly column entitled “The Gaming Life” that presents research, strategies and reviews for the connections between gaming and libraries. In her recent article on gaming advocacy, author Kit Ward-Crixell provided a review of the “TechSource Gaming, Learning, and Libraries Symposium” which drew more than 300 public, school, and academic librarians, and everyone in between.
    Here is a relevant quote from that article:
    “As providers of information, libraries must recognize these different ways of delivering content and also understand how they work to make the connection within a ‘participatory culture.’ Henry Jenkins, Director, Comparative Media Studies Program, MIT, pointed out in his keynote address, “What Librarians Need to Know about Games, Media Literacy, and Participatory Culture,” that ‘new cultural competencies like the ability to navigate across different kinds of media or the ability to ‘mashup’ media content are vital for today’s kids–and games develop those skills.’ Jenkins acknowledged that intermixing media content is nothing new. Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel mashed up biblical scenes, and Shakespeare drew from many sources and poets to create his own fanfiction. Games are the ideal model for combining content in different ways and incorporating problem solving into the gaming experience. Jenkins also noted that “It’s not just about turning your library over to games…It’s about thinking what it means to play as an alternative system of learning.”
    Ward-Crixell also says:
    “All the presenters agreed that ‘an important skill set can be achieved through experimentation (i.e., gaming), and libraries are a perfect place for telling stories through this medium in a variety of ways.’ Gaming does not necessarily have to involve technology and can be integrated into many of the library’s existing programs and services. We must pay attention to ‘play’ as a way to deliver services since stories exist in more than one modality.”

    I like the term: “new cultural competencies” since it encompasses all those skills our 21st century students will need to navigate their way through the increasingly tech-saturated world they live in.

    And by the way, my husband says his 45 minute work commute is much more tolerable now that he gets to earn “green leaves” every time he saves energy while driving his new hybrid car. He is already up to level four!

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