Games as deschooling

I’ve just written an article for a US publication about why schools should take games more seriously than they do. I argue the incumbent ideology and culture of institutionalized education can no longer ignore their influence on learning. In many ways there are associations with much of the de-schooling critical discourses of the 1970s by people such as John Holt and Ivan Illich. As my research into family negotiations of play continues, it’s quite clear to me at least that play is not the opposite of work and therefore schools are not avoiding play because it is frivolous and un-productive.

In the 70s, Illich argued, self-directed education, supported by strong-ties in social relations IN fluid social informal arrangements de-institutionalises society and empowers all who want to share what they know, find those who want to learn it from resources anyone can access.

Now consider who has fabricated MOOCs — institutions. With great bravado they have set about constructing a rhetorical framework around what is already essentially a public reference service, skills exchange based on peers, curiosity and interests. That is called a Learning Network in my view.

It’s little wonder that games must be tamed … as we start to look deeper into their culture, we see just how radical and dangerous they have become. With 98% of people playing them, and half of those playing networked games, they become an entirely new educational funnel — and perhaps for many adults, they reverse much of the social shaping that institutionalised education imposed.

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One thought on “Games as deschooling

  1. I love Illich!
    Just think that he anticipated mediated-learning in 1971, advocating for the use of advanced technology to support “learning webs.”

    “The operation of a peer-matching network would be simple. The user would identify himself by name and address and describe the activity for which he sought a peer. A computer would send him back the names and addresses of all those who had inserted the same description. It is amazing that such a simple utility has never been used on a broad scale for publicly valued activity.”

    Look familiar?

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