October 19 2012

Permission2Play! WoW, gaming and failure.

I’m sitting in studio 1 at the Seymour Centre. The first session in the Permission to Play strand at the PLANE festival of learning is a virtual conference. Presented by Peggy Sheehy from New York, we are hearing about the power of gaming in education. When kids are in a game environment, the benefits are enormous … Do you want sustained focus on your classroom tasks? I do!!! I know that my students are MUCH better at sustained attention to gaming than they are to reading a chapter from a novel! Whilst novels will ALWAYS be important (I’m an English teacher, of course I’m going to say that!!!) I think that we do our kids a great disservice if we don’t consider the possibilities of gaming in our classrooms. I’ve talked a bit about my gaming unit last year with my interesting yr9 boys class, and what a success it was. This term, with the same group of boys now in year 10, we are jumping in the deep end with looking at designing game narratives, as a way of meeting the “creative writing” outcomes in our scope and sequence.

Things that are impressing me about this session so far …
– importance of challenges – starting at level one, with level one skills and abilities, then progressing as you demonstrate mastery and develop new skills in competency. It happens in games – shouldn’t it be happening in schools too??
– differentiating between time for work and time for play ,… Really? Why don’t enough of us recognise the vital connections BETWEEN these goals, rather than seeing them as mutually exclusive?
– progression is determined by the player, and gamers crave assessment – the whole game is assessment!!! Failure equals opportunity to develop knowledge and skills. Failure is frowned upon in schools, but not in gaming.
– gaming provides amazing opportunities for blended learning…. lilteracy in gaming ROCKS!!!! We looked at genre literacy in our class last year, but think about the kinds of vocab used in WoW … What amazing opportunities to build a students’ language skills without having to do dull language sheets.
– reflections on life experiences …. The heroes journey applies in gaming, in novel, in text, in life. It’s an interesting notion to think about – building the capacity for students to recognise their own value, and to engage in some meaningful real-life learning.

I’m really stuck by the idea of failure and how we view it … @townesy77 tweeted from her session with conference doodler Dr Jason Fox that Tetris is a game where you are guaranteed to fail, but everyone keeps playing it!! Do our students keep revisiting their failures in out assessments? Wy to, and how can we make that possible/ valuable?

Get your game on …. What are your thoughts on gaming in class?

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Posted October 19, 2012 by Tamara Reads in category PLANE

About the Author

NSWPRC Officer, Teacher Librarian, English teacher and social media advocate. I've been teaching in Western Sydney for my entire teaching career, and love my job more than I love Neil Gaiman. (That's a lot, in case you're wondering!) I stalk authors (but always politely), fangirl over books, and drink coffee. And one of my guilty prides about my children is that they all have favourite authors. All opinions are my own.

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