Video Games and Education

Via the Associated Press on September 16, 2008, it appears to be a matter of when, not if video games become incorporated into the school environment:

Ninety-seven percent of young respondents play video games. That’s 99 percent of boys and 94 percent of girls, with little difference in the percentages among various racial and ethnic groups and incomes.

… And they don’t just play by themselves. Nearly two-thirds play video games to socialize face-to-face with friends and family, while just over a quarter said they play with Internet friends.

“It shows that gamers are social people,” says Amanda Lenhart, a senior researcher at Pew who led the report on the survey. “They communicate just as much. They spend time face-to-face, just as much as other kids. They e-mail and text.”

It does seem that this upcoming generation is communicating loud and clear about their needs as learners.  It appears that there is a strong desire for learning to be interactive and fun, as well as a social activity.  This appears to be a huge opportunity for educators, especially in how a well-designed game can tailor a learning experience to the individual needs of a learner and allow them to progress to a new “level” at their own pace.  A video game format also seems well-suited to identify areas where a student is having difficulty, and would allow an educator to have immediate access to this information.

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Adult learning theories and the development of online resources

The creation of an online educational resource is different than the creation of an online classroom, but many principles associated with adult learning theories are relevant to the development of an online educational resource.

Overall, there is a trend that seems to warrant consideration of using a moderated wiki and having a moderated online forum. These are ultimately massive undertakings, but it is important to consider the ways users gravitate to online forums and places where they can express themselves. The materials related to adult learning suggest that if this can be accomplished in a safe manner that it would promote the learning process.

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