Castell and Jenson’s article titled “Paying Attention to Attention” focuses on the idea of attention in schools and how students’ attention has been altered by various political and technological conditions (382). Additionally, they suggest that education needs to integrate new forms, frames, organizations, and structures to support active and playful engagement. The article concludes by suggesting the use of video games for this engagement.
Gee outlines some of the features in video games that have the potential to provide deep learning for students. He discusses empathy, simulations, distributed intelligence, teamwork, situated meaning, and open-endedness as the six main features of video games that have the potential to be applied in educational settings to increase engagement. Gee suggests that the design of games with interactivity, customization, well-sequenced problems, as well as motivation and failure gives video games features that encourage learning and a sense of mastery.
Finally, Darvasi discusses how one educator used an alternate reality game (ARG) to teach and engage with The Odyssey and explains how games can teach empathy, associative learning, cross-disciplinary thinking, and critical analysis. Additionally, Darvasi reveals how games have the ability to engage students in a way that more traditional learning cannot. Darvasi recognizes that ARG’s are often customized for specific classrooms and schools making it difficult to transfer them and says that further study, experimentation, and discussions need to be had about the use of them in classrooms.
Connections between Readings:
These three articles revolved around how today’s students are different in terms of attention and learning methods and need to have an education environment that recognizes and utilizes this difference.
In schools and in classrooms, our attention is no less bifurcated, no less hybridized, and, yet, in those places text is still precariously perched as the dominant medium of expression; this is in direct conflict with knowledge and experience of the ‘‘real world,’’ in which textual sovereignty is no longer the case. Castell and Jenson, Paying Attention to Attention
If commercial video games often offer worlds in which players prepare for the actions of soldiers or thieves, could other types of games let players prepare for action from different perspectives or identities, for example, a particular type of scientist, political activist or global citizen? If games could do so, they would speak to one of the deeper problems of education: that many students who can pass paper-and-pencil tests cannot apply their knowledge to solving real problems (Gardner 1991). Gee, Are Video Games Good for Learning?
Critical Response and Take Away Points
Reading these articles reminded me of a quote that has stuck with me for some time now: “Research, policy, curriculum, and tradition must be scrutinized, not immortalized” (TM Christou). Education and educators still rely on traditional ways of teaching and learning which is not effective for all students. It is time for education and educators to rethink the delivery and interaction with new knowledge and video games are one way to do this. Not only are they heavily used outside of school, they also provide numerous learning opportunities as Castell and Jenson, Gee, and Darvasi reveal. I think that video games are continually thought of as merely play and not as anything serious, but these articles reveal that in fact video games can be used as “serious play” and for deep learning.