The Web2.0pian War of self-importance.

Let’s put down the idiom ‘game based learning’. In the context of feed-cultures it is another territory being fought over in the endless cyber-war between educators online. Oh yes, we’re all colleagues and networked, but there’s more than a dash of Orwell in Web2.0pia.

“iPads good, Xbox bad” – the sheeple.

You’re busy, I’m tired, so let’s just say that what lies inside games is not motivation, engagement, badges or other weak-arguements. Inside games is a culture of persistent success, which can be seen by millions of people though standard measurements.

You can’t pretend to be good or know about Warcraft like you can pretend to know about peer-assisted-learning or instructional-design. No wonder the Web2.0pians stick to rhetoric and allegories. If I present a 7 year old with a level 50+ in Warcraft in a classroom designed for tic-tac-toe.

Any game-kid long ago ascended beyond the dogma of web2.0pia and associated power-point pirates of 2013. Stop wasting time on this, kids actually like school as school, stop trying to fashion school into some weird version of the un-forfilled rock-star dreams of middle aged men who’d struggle to sign up for Wow, let alone play it.

All teachers set out to do what games set out to do.

There is not revolution here, no lag and no gap. Good teachers know their content and engage their students with infectious enthusiasm. The crap ones don’t. A student can spot a good teacher or a bad one. They’ve been doing it their whole lives – as humans are actually pre-wired for it.

Anyone who has set out to teach anything is already doing what games do – as teaching and learning is a ectype of gaming. You learn to play but in ways that are far from symbolic, despite the fantasy nature of the narratives and characters in games.

Here is what a game like Minecraft is teaching kids all the time. Its also what a teacher should be aiming to do all the time (even if some days, the activity falls in heap). You see you can have a crap topic, lesson or lecture and not have to beat yourself up – nor do you have to get a sodding iPad to revive it.

  • Learning to learn.
  • Learning about one’s strengths and weaknesses as a learner.
  • Becoming better at solving challenging problems and accomplishing challenging tasks.
  • Learning some general strategies for problem solving.
  • Transfer of learning from game-playing environments to other environments.
  • Intrinsic motivation— being engaged because they want to be engaged.

If you want, you can do this with any kid and any game. What makes a game ‘educational’, well mostly it’s not about the game, it’s about content. What I think we (if we are allowed) could do is …. work on how to make the way we experience content more like how we experience games.

That has nothing to do with badges and MOOCs – that’s about on-going rivalry in the never ending Web2.0pian War of self-importance. We are still in the first battle of the war. It’s foolish to think the Web2.0pias would not also try to take over the game-colonies in their ambition. No Level 90? No Gamerscore? Shut up.

#gamebasedlearning can be added to #digitalnative and #21stcenturylearner.