Karl Kapp continues to bust myths on gaming

Having worked with Karl to design a course, I know first hand what insight he has to offer on the subject of learning with technology.  Plus he’s got a valid and thoughtful argument for every negative assumption about gaming and it’s true value. Recently on his blog, Karl shared that he was on a local radio program to talk about the future of gaming and how it applies to learning and the workplace. I can’t go over all the myth’s Karl articulately and skillfully debunked. You’ll just have to listen to the entire program.

Educating through video games

Myth: Video games are too violent and bad to teach anything worthwhile

I love Karl’s point on this.  Although people describe video games as bad and horrible… “It’s the content of the technology not the technology.” There are video games that teach or demonstrate positive behavior and values as well as ones that use violence excessively.

Myth: Kids only learn instant gratification from playing video games

Video games help teach players to make quick decisions when you don’t have too much information.  Also, many video games have objectives that require weeks or even months to solve… so, uh, where’s the instant gratification in that?

Myth: Cheating is bad even in video games

Using cheat codes to get around obstacles in a game is a common practice among gamers. As Karl points out, Remember Captain Kirk and Kobyashi Maru? (Sorry non-Trek fans). He cheated to make the simulation work to his advantage. This can be seen as a creative way of dealing with the situation by some.

Having worked as a teacher and in education for several years, I was sort of brainwashed to think that you always have to follow the rules and that “all cheating is BAD.” If you look at cheating in a game from a different perspective, it’s no different than finding a short cut or a more efficient way of doing something. One must always remember the context in which the cheating is happening. Also, if you want to stop the ‘bad’ cheating… I’m of the point of view that you have to “Be the buddha to kill the buddha.”  I don’t want to get into this extensive metaphysical argument here, but I do know looking at ‘cheating’ or ‘alternative solutions’ differently is one way to insure that you’re not always keeping to the traditional way of doing things.  And one can always use one’s own moral conscience as a guide to ask if their methods are wrong or harmful to others in the real world. As Karl pointed out… the executives of Enron cheated, but did they really ask themselves if it was right?

Myth: All video games desensitize kids to violence

While some (not all) video games have negative things… they also learn positive things:

  • Kids learn cooperation (multiplayer games)
  • Kids learn math and physics (Little Big Planet, &  just figuring out scores etc.)
  • Kids can build empathy by relating to other players on multi-player games
  • Kids can learn trade offs between variables from how to accomplish game objectives.

Little Big Planet is my favorite example of a game where you can learn cooperation and spark your creativity. I’ve even thought of building stories in the game that reflect plots of major works of literature: Can you see Kafka or Doestoevsky done as a Little Big Planet game? Awesome.

Little Big Planet

Little Big Planet

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