Why do people play computer games? This question is discussed by Margaret Robertson (former editor of Edge) in her new BBC column. She argues that many games are boring, over-priced, however, tim e-consuming and designed to make you feel like a failure! She goes on to talk about how people like me try to rationalise games as educational tools but she argues that it's niot WHAT they teach but rather THAT they teach. She says:
"Brains love to learn. For everyone, there's some kind of learning that is as satisfying for their brains as running all day is for a border collie....and as you learn, you're given an incredible window into your own capabilities. Games are a test-bed where you can endlessly explore what an extraordinary machine you are."
I agree with her sentiments but would like to argue my viewpoint that games can be retro-fitted to support learning in schools in many ways. For example, I have talked about using Dr. Kawashima and Guitar Hero with some of my projects and what I have seen has been incredible in terms of pupil engagement and motivation. Games do teach, that is without question, but the challenge for education is how can we make explicit the learning that is happening when people play games and how can this learning expertise be transferred to other contexts?