James Paul Gee on Learning and Games

Here is an interesting video I picked up from a Tweet by Alex Moseley (apparently forwarded from Simon Brookes). It’s a presentation by James Paul Gee on the relationship between games and learning. Specifically, he highlights how games are better at teaching things than school and attempts to explain why.

James Paul Gee

11. …
12. PROFIT!!!

It’s a quite interesting video that raises a lot of valid points. I especially like the observation that you can only absorb knowledge by relating it to something you already know or something you have experienced. The analogy with a game manual drives that idea home.

On the other hand, many of the observations are understood by teachers and applied in school. For example, the ideas of inhomogeneous groups where students teaching other students is actually being embraced by many modern school programs.

And finally, some of the qualities he mentions aren’t actually properties of games themselves. In the last example he describes the community of the game The Sims. This isn’t actually a property of the game. It is something that was created around the game. Even though there are certain aspects of the game might have been beneficial for the success of such community, the properties he describes should be attributed not to games but to Internet communities in general.

It’s still an inspiring video. Gee is a great speaker and does an excellent job at presenting complex topics in an emotional and very straight-forward way. It’s just a bit frightening when you realize that most people on this conference have never played the games he is talking about. I mean Yu-Gi-Oh? And those people are supposed to be TEACHERS?! Have they ever seen a child?

Krystian Majewski

Krystian Majewski was born in Warsaw and studied design at Köln International School of Design. Before, he was working on a mid-size console project for NEON Studios in Frankfurt. He helped establish a Master course in Game Design and Research at the Cologne Game Lab. Today he teaches Game Design at various institutions and develops independent games.

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The Game Design Scrapbook is a second blog of group of three game designers from Germany. On our first blog, Game Design Reviews we describe some games we played and point out various interesting details. Unfortunately, we found out that we also need some place to collect quick and dirty ideas that pop into our minds. Hence, welcome to Game Design Scrapbook. You will encounter wild, random rantings. Many of then incoherent. Some of them maybe even in German. If you don't like it, you might enjoy Game Design Reviews more.


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