For my final post, I have decided to further discuss and expand on some of the ideas my group came up with last night for our game. First of all, in my last blog post, I stated that while the article we'd read brought up some convincing points, using games too extensively made me uncomfortable. I have to admit, however, that when thinking of games that can be used in teaching, for some reason, I was only thinking about 'computer' based games, or using technology in game play. I had somehow overlooked or forgotten that a game can be a simple, face to face, activity as well, such as playing a board game or a sport. I think this new knowledge has made me realize that there are many more benefits to the gamification of content, than I'd originally believed there to be.
This week's reading was entitled, "Theories Behind Gamification of Learning and Instruction" and essentially talked about game design and how it can be beneficial to learning. The article took a look at psychology behind game design more than anything else which was a unique perspective, and for me, probably the most convincing evidence that could be given.
I personally, am of the opinion that games are not something that should be used extensively in the classroom. I do see that there are certain benefits to using them, and after reading the article this week, I'm further convinced that there are benefits, but I think that games must be used sparingly. They appeal largely to visual learners, but in terms of differentiated instruction, I feel that with games, you miss out on the kinesthetic piece, which for many is an equally big part of learning. Many of our elementary schools today are noticing such an issue with fitness and daily exercise, that DPA (Daily Physical Activity) has become a mandatory piece of education.
Growing up, I sometimes played video games, but I always found myself getting restless. Many people today believe that our youth are spending far less time outdoors, and far too much time engaged with technology, and that as a result we are becoming a lazy and unmotivated society. I'm not sure how much of that can be blamed on games and technology, but I do believe that technology takes away from our ability to communicate person to person.
The author does mention a few things which made me think more positively about the use of games in instructional design. Firstly, I liked what was discussed when it came to motivation because I buy into those kinds of arguments. As a teacher, we challenge ourselves to make our students instrinsically motivated, so I liked what was said about success and confidence according to the ARCS model. When students feel that they can achieve something, they tend to believe in themselves more. As with scaffolding, small successes ultimately lead to big successes. As someone who has played video games of all types, this is true of many of them.
As a media studies teacher in the past, I also buy into the argument about the 'fantasy environment' because as with television and movies, people love the chance to experience something that they wouldn't in their ordinary lives. If we can use this to foster motivation in students who are curious about life in another country, or perhaps historically, we can absolutely peak curiosity.
Another point I found interesting was the discussion on episodic memory and how we recall information more effectively in the same environment from which we learned it. I couldn't help but think of testing and exams at the post-secondary level. I can still remember how intimidating it felt to have to go to a huge gymnasium to write exams and it's interesting to see that it's like this, despite proven psychological research about learning environments. Should we not be running exams and tests in the same classrooms that we use to teach then???
Finally, the article made an excellent point that challenged my belief about technology (and games) taking away from our ability to communicate. It is argued in the article that games make a person feel a sense of connectedness with others (especially multi-player games). It went on to explain Social Learning Theory which evidently requires people to be working together. I think that multi-player games can be stimulating, but I would still argue that when people are physically together, there is a certain level of communication that can't be matched.
After finishing Dirksen's book, Design for How People Learn, I'm once again pleasantly surprised by her writing style. She not only kept me engaged for the entire nine chapters, but she also used such relevant examples and allowed for me to understand all of her discussion points. In the final chapters, I was particularly struck by her thoughts on transferring skills to the real world, providing feedback, and learning through experience.