What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy

What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy

When I first received this book as a gift, I looked at the cover and thought "Cool, a book that will show how good and noble video games are!"  However, if I had read even the title a little more closely I would have realized that this isn't an apologist's book on video games.  It isn't meant to show how video games are good for us, and therefore should be played by everyone all the time (though they should).

So what is it?  Just as the title says, it's a book that looks at what video games can teach educators about learning.  After all, Gee argues, good video games are complicated, difficult, long, frustrating endeavors that children and adults will spend hours mastering.  Obviously they are doing something right to produce this type of effort.  The question then becomes, what we can we take from video games and apply to the current education process?  How can we apply the principles of learning so obviously evident in video games to schools?

Throughout the book, Gee goes into detail on 36 different principles of learning, how they are exemplified in video games, and why they are so important to learning.  I may not be an educator, but in my personal experience as a learner, I will say that these principals appear to be accurate.  Many of them were things that great teachers helped me do, or that I discovered on my own.  Ultimately this isn't a book about video games, but a book about education and teaching.  Video games just provide a surprisingly useful context.

I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in the field of education, regardless of their interest in video games.  However, if you love video games, but don't care about learning and literacy, this is not for you.  There isn't much I can spoil in this book, so if you are curious about reading more, follow the link to the full database entry below.

"[G]ood video games build into their very designs good learning principles and … we should use these principles, with our without games, in schools, workplaces, and other learning sites" (215).


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