Gaming: Playing to Learn

One of the greatest advantages of being a Writing Project teacher is being exposed to learning frameworks that are innovative, research-based, and highly engaging. At this year’s NWP Annual Meeting in Orlando, I attended a fantastic session entitled, Taking Gaming to the Next Level, facilitated by Paul Allison and Grace Raffaele from the New York City Writing Project as well as Barry Joseph from Global Kids. They are working on creating game-based curriculum. It got me so excited. It made so much sense. I wanted to know more.

I am currently reading What Video Games Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy by James Paul Gee. It discusses how good game design stems from cognitive science—how we learn. This is why good games allow players to learn the systems and rules quickly and easily. This is why people can spend hours and hours engaged in playing. And by the way, they are learning. They are learning more and more about the system that is the game. They are exploring the boundaries and norms of that environment. They are testing various methods to win. They have a clear expectation in mind and are learning how to succeed.

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I am excited to delve further into what implications this has for education. We all see educational gaming, but there’s so much more. There are fantastic serious games that teach about current events and dilemmas. Think about the amount of thinking that goes into writing, designing, promoting, and of course, playing these games. Imagine the potential of gaming curriculum.

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