I have two questions after watching the video Gaming Can Make The World Better.
A) What are we saving the world from? Are we saving the world from the oil crisis, pollution, global warming, etc., or is there something bigger. Does the world need saving from hatred, oppression, war? I would say those are the bigger issues, but how can gaming teach that? Call me crazy, but I believe the key to all of those things is love; a love that can only be learned by human interaction. As a Christian educator, one of my daily goals is showing my students the love of Christ, and how to love others. Will I be able to teach that through gaming? I would say probably not.
B) Are the games being created as “exciting” and “appealing” as WoWC? I have never actually played the game so I have no idea. If the game can attract grannies, then I am guessing there is something pretty special about it. Can that excitement be replicated in the classroom?
I can appreciate the fact that people are more engaged in games. I get it. I understand that people don’t have the fear of failure in games like they do in real life. Could it be because they know the game is not real? In real life there is a fear of failure because it can bring about death, pain, and suffering. In a game, you can just hit restart if worse comes to worse.
I think creating games that inspire people to save the world is a very noble cause. I just don’t know how these games will stack up to WoWC. If kids and adults know they are doing something noble, will that not defeat the purpose to some extent. The kids in my classroom only want to do something because it is fun. If they figure out they might learn something, it kind of looses it’s luster. I guess everyone has an intrinsic desire to save the world, to do something purposeful with our lives. If the game creators can appeal on that level then maybe some good can come.
How does this apply educators of young adults though? Today’s students cannot unplug. When they are forced to in the classroom, they struggle to stay focused. Our learners are changing, but we as educators are not.
Gamification would cause the breeding of a whole new type of learner. In the other class I am taking this semester we just learned about the difference between an adult leaner and younger leaners. The adult leaners are more proactive and understand the need for what they are learning. Will gaming cause students to be more proactive in their education? Will the classroom change from teacher centered to learner centered? As much as we would all like to think that that shift is already taking place the number of traditional classrooms (teacher centered) still outnumber those of student-centered classrooms. I believe the overall issue is what we are trying to teach. We have such a broad span of what “has to be covered” that we only reach the surface of the topics. If we limited what was being taught, and really dug deep into the wealth of information available, I believe our learners would be happier in the classroom. Would gaming help this change be possible? I think so. So many times we are asking our students questions that they can find the answer to on Google. If we are doing that, we are failing them. There are so many tools available online that would allow the students to do more than merely scratch the surface of a subject. I am still wrapping my head around gaming. I am still trying to figure out how this will change my classroom and those classrooms around me. As for now, I am trying to keep an open mind. If we can find solutions to the world problems through gaming, then that is awesome. Through the gaming though, will we be loosing anything? I would say yes. We are loosing valuable face-to-face interaction time with our young people. As humans, we need to have those relationships. Will kids be too busy saving the world to have dinner with their family, or focus on problems within their own homes? How will they learn to have healthy relationships if more and more of their communicating is done online?