When aiming for meaningful learning, we need to take into account two important variables: time and place.
Competing on students' time, engagement and motivation, the videogames take the first place, leaving behind most formal learning. I argue that we need to think of it in terms of revolution - the Videogames Revolution, which is much more than just kids play. Serious games for businesses and organizations are a major component of today's innovative instructional technologies.
What do we really know about the learning interactions and processes when kids play digital games in informal learning settings? What can we learn from turning our academic spot-light on it?
Following this SCoPe discussion, I would lead an academic Panel (real, not virtual !-)) entitled Innovative Perspectives for Studying the Creation of Learning Pathways at The Second Israeli multi-disciplinary conference on qualitative methodologies , which will take place at Tel-Aviv, Israel, 5-6 June 2006. http://www.congress.co.il/icqm06
My own presentation Analyzing Multimodal Interactions in Digital Games Environments would focus on the ways for analyzing interactions in digital games environments from a learning sciences perspective.
Digital games environments have become the building blocks of today?s children?s worlds. Children usually play in groups, and when they do not, they share their experiences socially. Hence, playing videogames cannot be properly understood as simply a human-computer interactions, rather it seems to be situated in social and cultural spheres that are perhaps more important than the game itself. There are many indications that simulations and digital games environments may provide a cognitive bridge between concrete experiences and scientific abstractions (Prensky, 2001). Such a bridge is crucial for enabling students to cope with complex problem solving and other high order thinking skills that are at the core of scientific and technological learning (Resnik, 2002). Through informal game playing, children learn to participate in ?semiotic domains?, which are shaped by children?s interactions with virtual agents and with each other (Gee, 2003). Thus far, there have been few empirical studies which systematically studied the learning dynamics within digital game environments in informal settings. Moreover, there is no one accepted theoretical model which describes the multimodal interactions and learning which take place in these environments.
Innovative methodologies are needed for bridging between micro and macro levels of interactions (individual and collaborative) which occur in different space and time scales. A conceptual framework, based on situated cognition and micodevelopment theory and SIRN Model, was developed for studying multimodal interactions during digital game play which includes: the development of conceptual understanding, problem solving skills and role taking dynamics. Preliminary results and theoretical implications based on a pilot study would be presented.
Gee, J. P. (2003). What video games have to teach us about learning and literacy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
Prensky, M. (2001). Digital game-based learning. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Resnick, M.(2002). Rethinking Learning in the Digital Age. In: G. Kirkman (Ed.): The Global Information Technology Report: Readiness for the Networked World. (pp. 32- 45). Oxford University Press.
The abstract presented above describe my pilot study framework which hopefully be developed to an international academic research project. Feel free to contact me for additional info for setting up a collaborative joint research project in this fascinating theme.
Gazit, E. (2006). Analyzing Multimodal Interactions in Digital Games Environments - Innovative Perspectives for Studying the Creation of Learning Pathways Panel, The Second Israeli multi-disciplinary conference on qualitative methodologies , Tel-Aviv , Israel , 5-6 June 2006. (Hebrew). http://www.congress.co.il/icqm06