Monday, December 20, 2010

Pleasantly Frustrating

I play video games.

I know the kind of hard work and perseverance that must go into becoming competent at video gaming. I even have an idea of the kind of blood, sweat and tears that goes into mastering a video game.

I also love to learn.

I know the kind of hard work and perseverance that must go into becoming competent at learning. I even have an idea of the kind of blood, sweat and tears that goes into mastering something.

In his book What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy, James Paul Gee was really on to something when he said:
Learning should be both frustrating and life enhancing, what I will later call "pleasantly frustrating." The key is finding ways to make hard things life enhancing so that people keep going and don't fall back on learning only what is simple and easy.

7 comments:

  1. ' I know the kind of hard work and perseverance that must go into becoming competent at learning. I even have an idea of the kind of blood, sweat and tears that goes into mastering something' JB - but it is the love of learning that is the driving force and produces the self discipline and hard work

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  2. One of the other elements I see in video games that is often absent or minimized in school is conflict. Perhaps it's linked to the frustration, but a decent video game helps people to push through conflict by either solving it, maneuvering around it, preventing it or working with others to solve it.

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  3. I love when my 14 year old son shares his goals for playing a game. They are definitely there. I love when I hear him laughing out loud when playing online with his friends since we live a distance from many of them and can't get together as often as we would like. I love when he is presented with something in a game that challenges him to do outside research to find out more. I love how a team of boys will collaboratively work together on a game.

    Thanks for sharing this book. I will definitely be checking it out.

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  4. I read this book. It was EYE OPENING! It addresses the question of how we can get our students to learn and master something that is long and challenging. Game designers do it, educators should be able to as well. GOOD BOOK

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  5. Joe, I'd invite you to check out what we are working on with regards to 'game-based learning'. Here's an introductory post over at Play the Past about the Latin program that my team and I are working on:
    http://www.playthepast.org/?p=358

    We're finding that we can do an amazing job of doing just what Gee is advocating: involving them in the story of how they become thinking, skilled, capable citizens, and designing courses and curricula that can involve them that way--the same way the most popular games, played by young and old, men and women, all around the world, get their players involved in the story of how they become both a powerful character in the world of the game, and at the same time, simply good at the game.

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  6. Joe,

    I have also followed James Paul Gees writing and I am really looking for ways to incorporate games into my class. Lumosity was a very good, although short-lived one (you have to purchase it after 5 days). I have written a post on games (http://educationalchangemanagement.blogspot.com/2010/09/school-as-video-game.html), do you have success with games in your classroom?

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  7. I am an avid gamer (some video games, but also board, card, and role-playing games). One of the things that gaming does is to show you how you learn something and that taking risks is OK. I play new games with friends constantly, so I am listening to rules being explained and learning through play. I know I don't need to have an exhaustive knowledge of the rules before I start, so if I have a rough idea then just start playing I can ask questions to fill in the holes. Knowing how you learn is highly valuable as a lifelong learner. Also, gaming allows me to just jump in and take risks; no big deal if I make mistakes or if I don't win. This is also huge for students; I find they often don't want to play a game cause "they don't know how" and are not willing to learn because of fear of failure. They don't realize its about playing the game and not about winning, and that we learn as we put ourselves out there and make a go of it even if our effort won't be perfect.

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