Game-based learning... let the annotations begin

Since I'm sticking around this weekend nursing my sick son, who is thankfully sleeping right now, I'll be finally digging back into the articles I've been using and sharing some thoughts on the. So without further ado...

Foreman, J. (2004). Game-based learning: How to delight and instruct in the 21st century. Educause Review, 39(5), 50-66.

The article itself is a little dated, but Foreman interviewed James Paul Gee, J.C. Herz (author of Joystick Nation), Randy Hinrichs, Marc Prensky (Don’t Bother me Mom), and Ben Sawyer (organizer of the first Serious Games Summit) on a variety of topics including the challenges of traditional instruction, the benefits of video games for learning, and the development of game-based learning communities. The article is available for free through Educause’s archive.

Both Hinrichs and Gee discuss learning through context clues and information that can be directly applied to the immediate game situation. Gee draws the significance that we learn through experiences and interactions with our world. Gee states he, as he does in his own book, that games provide verbal information close to the time when you see how it works and apply it. This connection provides meaning and lasting understanding to those playing. This same concept has applied to successful information literacy sessions for years. Librarians do not want to teach research skills and evaluation strategies in a vacuum to students. We want our sessions tied to assignments where they will apply these skills and thus attach more meaning to them.

Hinrichs and Prensky later discuss how games required frequent decision makings at rapid speeds and to think critically about each of those choices. Again this is what we want within information literacy; students using critical thinking skills to make frequent decisions to evaluate the content they are reading. If we can use games to help teach information literacy, our students can learn critical thinking /decision making process through playing the game. Rather than simply walking our students through worksheets and step by step examples, games open up the experience and help our students learn not through instruction by through experience.

Well, this started as an annotation of the article, but turned more to reflection and application. Oh well, I encourage you to check out the article if you haven’t already read it. And if you have what struck you as useful and relevant?