Gaming Symposium, Day 2

Hopped up on apple danish and coffee, I'm here in the scenic Marriott O'Hare for Day Two of the ALA Techsource Gaming and Learning in Libraries Symposium. Day One I was old-school Jenn with pad of paper and pen (so retro!), but I'm prepared to take full advantage of the free wifi today.

This morning's keynote is by James Paul Gee , author of What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy.

* Our educational system is driven by gaps-- gaps in literacy, applications, knowledge, tech savvy, innovation
* Why do most kids fail in applying knowledge but some get A's while others get F's? [A students competent at print literacy and parroting back definitions]
* Tech savvy = not afraid of tech stuff, can use it productively to create, not just consume
* Curriculum kills innovation, but innovation is the only thing that will keep us on the top of the economic pile

* Re: the digital divide: Simply handing people technologies will not lessen the gaps, it will widen them; poor families not able to provide the mentoring/scaffolding that middle-class families can

* YuGiOh card game uses academic language. The wonders of capitalism! They figured out how to sell complex learning systems that kids want to buy
* "School makes things that kids are good at hard"

There are 12 learning principles that games rely upon. Think for yourself, is it a good principle? If so, should we put it into school? If we can't put it in school, should we put it in a library?

  1. lower the consequences of failure - encourages exploration and risk taking > "fail early, fail often"
  2. performance before competence
  3. players high on the agency tree
  4. problems are well ordered
  5. cycles of challenge (cycle of expertise) - give a challenging problem, let them repeat it until it can be done in sleep, consolidate mastery, practicing it to death; then, mastery is challenged by The Boss
  6. stay within, but at the outer edge, of the player's "regime of competence" > feel challenged but it is doable = "pleasantly frustrated"
  7. encourage players to think about systems, not just isolated facts > Civilization, Sim City
  8. empathy for a complex system > scientist seeing his experiment from the electron's point of view [hellooo i am an electron! doing electrony things!]
  9. give verbal information "just in time" when players need and can use it - or "on demand" when the player asks for it
  10. show the meanings of words and symbols and show how they vary, don't just offer definitions = assigning a situated meaning
  11. modding attitude = modifying > if you can do better, you make it! Tony Hawk game, you can not only play the game, you can make it over again
  12. Assessment - games give tests all the time
- "Kids at risk" just means that "they don't like school"
- "Public schools are good for producing service workers"

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