How gaming is revolutionizing education


December 5, 2012

It's the 21st century. Teenagers, on average, play 30 to 53 hours (depending on rules) of video games on consoles, PCs and mobile devices. Technology and gaming is changing the way we learn, which was the question asked at a Zócalo Public Square event. 

James Paul Gee, the Mary Lou Fulton Presidential Professor of Literacy Studies, co-founder of the Center for Games and Impact and member of the National Academy of Education, first answered the question, "What does a game really do to the brain?" before an overflowing audience at Los Angeles’s Museum of Contemporary Art, Dec. 4. Download Full Image

"Depending on how you play," Gee said, "you can waste your time with a game, just as you can with a book. Yet games are essential for learning."

Gee touched on his meaning of big G Games, which, by nature of design, promote a platform for 21st-century skills. These skills include “system-making, innovation, the ability to think like a designer, and collaboration.”

Gee was joined by Richard Lemarchand, game designer and USC Interactive Media Division visiting associate professor, along with Kaveri Subrahmanyam, Cal State LA psychologist and associate director of the Children’s Digital Media Center @L.A. The three panelists gathered to discuss how gaming is revolutionizing education.

"Games can also be a powerful tool for social learning," said Subrahmanyam, referring to her research in how virtual avatars change people’s real-world behavior. 

Lemarchand shared his insight as a game designer, exploring the intersection of the “very energetic boundary between technology … and the spaces of human play, where games really happen, in the spaces between human beings.” 

Gee reminded the audience, "digital literacy must avoid mirroring the equity gap of traditional literacy, with poor kids reading less. We’re on the way there already, but we have a social choice. ... It’s a cutting-edge issue for our future.” 

The evening closed with the panel's viewpoints on digital badges and the place of achievements in recognition of skills and development. All of the panelists agreed in the need for badges to keep people honest and reflect the student's ability to find their passion and then relate this passion to career interests and goals.

Watch the entire discussion and view pictures from the Zócalo event. Zócalo Public Square is a project of ASU's Center for Social Cohesion.

Written by Sierra Campbell, sierra.campbell@asu.edu

A bowl by any other name


December 5, 2012

Column by Nick Prete, ASU News

On Dec. 29 our Sun Devils will be taking on the Navy Midshipmen in the Fight Hunger Bowl sponsored by Kraft Foods. With all this talk of food and bowls it’s making me hungry. Hungry for knowledge. Download Full Image

Bowls have been around for centuries. They’ve been found in ancient tombs and the oldest one discovered is over 18,000 years old. So how did the use of the bowl begin? We can only speculate, but we suspect it has something to do with aliens. Everything that happened in the past has something to do with aliens. Including our own Hayden library, which supposedly hides an alien somewhere within its underground structure.

How did this alien device make its way into the hands of humans and into the vernacular of the American football fanatic? America has always had a kind of love affair with the bowl (possibly contributing to our obesity problem). The Dust Bowl, the hat called a bowler, bowling in general... The beginning of the term bowl in a football sense was with the construction of the Rose Bowl in 1923 and the subsequent Rose Bowl game. This was the first “bowl” game and was called so because of the stadium’s resemblance to the device we eat soup out of. After that, this affection with bowls brought about the explosion of them in the college football world. First it was only the Rose Bowl. Around 1940 the number increased to 5, then to 8. It increased again to 11 games and then to 15 in 1980. In 2010 there were a total of 35 bowl games. That’s a lot of bowls! Seriously, who needs that many bowls? A competitive soup eater?

Which brings me to our bowl on Dec. 29, in San Francisco. How fitting that they are using a bowl to fight hunger. That is the same tool I use every morning to fight hunger when I eat my cereal.

All joking aside, this is actually a good cause giving over 200,000 meals to needy families in the bay area within the last 2 years. It emphasizes that every ticket equals 1 meal donated to the hungry. If you can’t make it to the bowl and/or would like to help needy families around this area you can still help solve the hunger problem here in Maricopa by joining the Team to End Hunger.

Be sure to cheer on our Devils at the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl on at 1 p.m., PST, Dec. 29, as they take on Navy.

Go Devils!