There’s lots of buzz around computer games in education now. Various studies are being conducted to ascertain how much access kids have to computers, how often they’re being used in class and how effective games are as a learning tool.
While more and more teachers are starting to use games in the classroom, there’s concern that tech resources aren’t being used effectively.
What’s more important is drawing a line between “educational games” and everything else. COTS computer games (according to Zichermann) are much more suited to educational purposes than education-centric games.
Further, this kind of analysis doesn’t consider related factors such as social networking, which is a natural extension of modern gaming culture.
The shift away from an educational focus is gaining momentum. Even Prensky, known for his loathsome “digital native” theory, acknowledges the attitude that learning is becoming a background to achieving goals. This is the direction which education should be taking – how are students learning beyond classroom walls? By playing games, sharing and socialising, and being a part of a community, students are learning valuable knowledge and skills … which is secondary to having fun and hanging out.
The best learning occurs when we forget we’re learning at all.