876 Matching Annotations
  1. Jan 2016
    1. to think consciously again about skills that have become unconscious, taken-for-granted, and routine
    2. hen learners learn a new skill set/strategy, they need to practice it over and over in varied contexts in order to make it operate at an almost unconscious routinized level.

      When have you done something similar learning a new skill set or strategy? Was this experience affiliated with formal schooling?

    3. the “principle of expertise,”
    4. This feeling of the game being highly challenging, but ultimately doable, gives rise to a feeling of pleasurable frustration, one of the great joys of both deep learning and good gaming.

      What are your experiences with pleasurable frustration? And why do they matter?

    5. Good games allow players to operate within, but at the outer edge of, their competence. At lots of moments, a good game feels highly challenging, but ultimately “doable.” Perhaps the player fails a few times at a given task, but good games show how much progress the player has made on each try and the player sees that this progress is increasing each time he or she “fails.” Eventually success comes
    6. that people draw deep pleasure from learning and that such learning keeps people playing.
    7. For humans, real learning is always associated with pleasure and is ultimately a form of play—a principle almost always dismissed by schools.

      This is a major critique of formal schooling. Do you agree with Gee?

    8. For humans, real learning is always associated with pleasure and is ultimately a form of play—a principle almost always dismissed by schools.

      This is a major critique of formal schooling. Do you agree with Gee?

    9. there is never a real distinction between learning and playing.
    10. These first real games are actually “hidden tutorials” which assist players in teaching themselves how to play RoN, not as a set of discrete skills, but as strategic thinking using an integrated system of skills. T
    11. What all this means is that the player learns in the tutorial just enough to move on to learn more—and more subtle things—by actually playing the game, but playing it in a protected way so that deeper learning can occur through playing.

      Recall the reference to Zygotsky and the zone of proximal development.

    12. When you leave the tutorials and actually start playing, there is a pause key that will stop time. This allows you to explore what icons on the screen mean and think about what you want to do. When time is paused, your opponent(s) do not continue building and so you do not have to worry about falling behind.

      What's the parallel in formal schooling?

    13. and writing an essay thinking it is supposed to be a personal narrative won’t work.
    14. The same thing is true of writing—there are some basic all-purpose things to learn (e.g. where to
    15. Learners need to see this type of thing in action, not to be given static rules, if they are really to understand
    16. Schools often try to teach kids to read and write, rather than read or write specific types of things like stories, reports, field notes, essays, or expositions

      How does this resonate with your experience as a learner in school? And how, perhaps, does this resonate with your experience as an educator?

    17. “Genre” just means what type of thing something is: for example, whether a novel is a mystery, romance, science fiction, etc., or a piece of writing is a story, report, essay, and so forth. RTS games are one type of computer/video game (there are many others, e.g. shooters, adventure games, role-playing games). They involve typical actions, rules, and strategies that are different from those involved in other types of games
    18. through focused practice, a part of my embodied intelligence and not just the caprice of my risky verbal memory
    19. nor was I meant to

      What a contrast to the expectations of schooling!

    20. But this tutorial is a specific type of particularly efficacious sandbox. It is a sandbox with a wise parent present to guide and confirm efficacious play in the sandbox—in this case proactive game designers. Let’s call this a “supervised sandbox.”
    21. They need to be proactive, make decisions, think about what they are doing and learning, and take control of their own learning.

      Does this describe students in today's schools? If so, how? If not, why not?

    22. hat they need to assess their own progress, desires, and learning styles

      How frequently - and in what ways - does this happen in formal schooling?

    23. The tutorial is a nice dance of the player’s actions and designers’ guidance and instructions
    24. free to explore, try things, take risks, and make new discoveries

      INTE 4320/5320 Games and Learning attempts to embrace a similar ethos in the design of graduate education.

    25. is protected from quick defeat and is free to explore, try things, take risks, and make new discoveries
    26. t need not be as controlled and clean an environment as a fish tank.

      Learning in sandboxes is messy, by design.

    27. but sealed off to be a protected and safe place where children can explore

      This resonates strongly with certain definitions of play, that are predicated upon free movement within a given structure.

    28. you get what I call a “sandbox tutorial.”
    29. This fish tank tutorial is also, of course, an example of what Vygotsky (1978) called learning within the learner’s “Zone of Proximal Development.”
    30. We see the game as a system, not just a set of discrete skills
    31. that is, in print, orally, and visually

      Multimodal information is very useful for learners, though also very different than presuming this information is given in different ways because there are "different learning styles" (a debunked misinterpretation of learning theory).

    32. We are having our hands held as we move through the fish tank (it’s what we can call a “supervised fish tank”).

      Some might also call this scaffolding, depending upon what supports are provided to guide learning, and ultimately how these supports are taken away as learners become more expert at a given task.

    33. I will call this a “fish tank tutorial,” because a fish tank can be, when done right, a simplified environment that lets one appreciate an ecosystem (e.g. a river, a pond, or reef in the ocean) by stripping away a good deal of complexity, but keeping enough to bring out some basic and important relationships.
    34. In schools, too often, skills are decontextualized from the system (the “game”) and from each other.

      In addition to reading instruction, what other areas of study - or entire disciplines - structure student instruction in a similar way?

    35. it’s all about players being able to customize the game to their own desires and goals

      Can students, as the traditional players of school, customize formal learning experiences to meet their own desires and goals?

    36. Choice is built in from the beginning.

      Is choice built in from the beginning of traditional schooling?

    37. by letting learners assess themselves and learn things about what they do and do not know and what style of learning suits them here and now.

      Some contemporary educators would call this either differentiation, or perhaps an attempt at "personalizing" learning

    38. Schools tend to handle these problems by assessing the learner and then deciding for the learner how these problems ought to be dealt with.

      Notice in this traditional model of schooling that agency is removed from the learner.

    39. In this case, school would be functioning more like a good game than traditional schooling which stresses knowledge apart from action and identity.

      Do you agree with Jim's critique that schooling often privileges knowledge consumption as a puzzle-like endeavor separate from a learner's engagement with more extensive action, authentic inquiry, and perhaps deeper identity work?

    40. that their minds and bodies have been vastly extended

      What are your prior experiences extending your body and mind through game play?

    41. This is all “at risk” needs to mean in schools too, though there it often means giving “at-risk” learners a special dumbed-down curriculum meant to catch them up on “basic skills”—a curriculum that all too often is a bad learning experience for these students.

      This challenge to the traditional meaning and practice of "at-risk" is yet another reminder that equity issues are at the center of Jim's critique, and important to consider when appreciating the important of certain learning principles.

    42. Horizontal experiences look like mucking around, but they are really ways of getting your feet wet, getting used to the water, and getting ready, eventually, to jump in and go swimming. They may, in one form or another, be essential to learning, or at least essential for learners who are “at risk.”

      What are examples of mucking around with horizontal learning experiences, and why do they matter? Moreover, how are they useful means of preparation for future learning?

    43. “Vertical” learning experiences are cases where a learner makes lots of incremental progress on a scale from low skills to high skills, as if moving up a ladder. “Horizontal” learning experiences are those where one does not make a lot of progress up the ladder of skills, but stays on the initial rungs awhile, exploring them and getting to know what some of the rungs are and what the ladder looks like
    44. as I received my low or failing grade

      Is this a familiar analogy for anyone?

    45. hadprepared me for future learning
    46. motivation for an extended engagement with the game

      Motivation is a key focus of research for many people who study the relationship of games and learning.

    47. Good games are never really “too hard.” They fail, for some players, either because their designers did not use good learning principles or because players have, for one reason or another, failed to engage the good learning principles that are built into the games.
    48. “at-risk” learner

      Notice how this term is being used in contrast to how many educators typically use this term. Jim's framing is asset-oriented - even though he's "at-risk," he's still oriented toward learning and enjoyment. Too often educators (or policymakers, or others) talk about "at-risk" students from a deficit-perspective - these students can't (and won't) learn and certainly won't enjoy learning. This is another important reference to equity in education.

    49. alien to their taken-for-granted ways of thinking.

      Expanding the logic - and importance - of this observation: How frequently is a college education, or graduate study, designed to be intentionally alien to students' taken-for-granted ways of thinking? Are there pros and cons?

    50. In the end, I hope to convince you that today’s young people often see deeper and better forms of learning going on in the games they play than in the schools they attend.

      Gee will continue to explore principles of learning, and associated principles of game design, with aspects of formal schooling. Some have critiqued his repeated dichotomous comparison, particularly as more digital games move into formal schooling. However, the affordances of well designed digital video games do often stand in stark contrast to the very worst of traditional schooling. A similar contrast was established by Fred Goodman in his essay.

    51. so we need to base our discussions of learning around actual cases of actual people learning

      For students in Games and Learning this is an important reminder that our class, too, will locate much of your learning in game play, too.

    52. and a good number of other types

      This brief survey of different video game genres, or types, is a nice complement to another Cycle 1 recommended reading, the market analysis by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center.

    53. With the current return in our schools to skill-and-drill and curricula driven by standardized tests, good learning principles have, more and more, been left on the cognitive scientist’s laboratory bench and, I will argue, inside good computer and video games.

      How does this reflect - to greater or lesser degrees - schooling more than a decade after this book was published?

      Also: Learning scientists are not only cognitivists, and many researchers who consider learning a reflection of social and cultural relations also value games and powerful learning designs.

    54. ven in domains outside games, even in school (Gee 2003)

      This is a reference to Gee's wildly popular book: What Video Games Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy.

    1. Children are having more and more learning experiences outside of school that are more important for their futures than is much of the learning they do at school.

      A more contemporary example of such learning can be seen in the connected learning movement. Check out, among many examples, the Connected Learning Alliance.

    2. “shape-shifting portfolio people”:

      This is a reference, in part, to a 1996 publication from The New London Group called "A pedagogy of multiliteracies: Designing social futures."

    3. One important way is via specially designed spaces (physical and virtual) constructed to resource people tied together, not primarily via shared culture, gender, race, or class, but by a shared interest or endeavor.

      This is a basic definition of an affinity space.

    4. more equitable, less alienating, and more motivating.

      Here Jim names equity explicitly. He also mentions alienation, which contrasts to the potential/power of games to connect people around shared interests, concerns, and activities. Affinity spaces help to explain such connection, and mitigate alienation.

    5. they are a domain where young people of all races and classes readily learn specialist varieties of language and ways of thinking without alienation.

      Equity here can be understood in at least two ways - access (to the domain of video game playing) and also participation (subsequent game play in the domain).

    6. as some rich experiences with which you can build and run different simulations to get ready for different eventualities.

      Consider how future doctors participate in medical residencies. Or how future teachers participate in school-based practica or student teaching. These experiences allow novices to begin running different simulations - especially of potential problems - to become more expert practitioners.

    7. Think about how poorly such things go when you have had no prior experiences with which to build such role-playing simulations and you have to go in completely “cold.”

      When has this happened to you?

    8. While confronting specialist academic languages and thinking in school is alienating, confronting non-academic specialist languages and thinking outside school often is not.

      Does this resonate with anyone's experience? If so, how?

    9. All children, privileged and not, can readily learn specialist varieties of language and their concomitant ways of thinking as part and parcel of their “popular culture.”

      As an aspect of his equity argument, Jim is adopting what some call an asset-orientation to all children. All children can learn specialist language and ways of inquiry, and leveraging their everyday "funds of knowledge" (such as pop culture) is an important resource useful in developing such understanding.

    10. Indeed, many schools are barely aware they exist, that they have to be learned, and that the acquisition process must start early

      Still the case today? What do educators think?

    11. Privileged children (children from well-off, educated homes) often get an important head start before school at home on the acquisition of such academic varieties of language; less privileged children (poor children or children from some minority groups) often do not

      Again, note the important foregrounding of equity in Jim's argument.

    12. Unfortunately, a good many students, at all levels of schooling, hate the types of language associated with academic content areas

      Does this resonate with your experience in elementary or secondary school? What about at the university?

    13. But, then, the core argument of this book will be that people learn new ways with words, in or out of school, only when they find the worlds to which these words apply compelling.
    14. but a liberating entrée to new worlds

      Is this the case for you? If so, how?

    15. computer and video games

      Because of Jim's attention to words, it shouldn't come as a surprise that he qualifies computer and video games. This is really important. Today, many conversations about "games and learning" assume that the designed tool, the game, is a digital (computer/video) game. However, there are many types of games, and it is important to question what types of games are being studied, discussed, or implemented in formal schooling. In this respect, keep in mind that Jim is focusing - in his words - on computer and video games.

    16. It is about facing that tension at a time when these academic and school-based ways are challenged by new ways with words and new ways of thinking and learning.

      A decade after publication, how tense does this observed tension remain - for you? For students? For learners outside of formal schooling?

    17. We have barely begun on the first task only to have the second become more pressing by the day.

      Is this still the case today?

    18. all children—rich and poor

      Note that at the core of Jim's argument is a commitment to equity - all children. Amidst the hype around games and learning, particularly the use of digital video games for learning, this argument often gets pushed aside.

    19. and things are more problematic now.

      Here's another connection to the problematic nature of games and play.

    20. If you didn’t like school, the first paragraph reminded you a lot of school, except that school didn’t even try to titillate you with nakedness and decapitation.

      For students in Games and Learning, note how Jim's core argument here about the irrelevance of schooling echoes Fred Goodman's argument about schooling-as-puzzle.

    1. in class and out

      how can we think about annotation as a social/learning practice that moves across formal and informal settings? annotation is typically associated with academic (i.e. in-school) discourse, such as research or archival reference. how does the practice of annotation change when it is tied to out-of-school people and places, and also connected to more formal/academic practices?