6 Replies Latest reply on Apr 3, 2010 9:55 PM by tdiener

    High stakes testing in a digital world

      The past few years have seen a widespread wave of   research on the power and potential of games to reach todays   generation of students raised on video games, email, chat, mobile   phones, and other interactive technologies. Steven Johnson (2005)   argues that pop culture is making young people more, rather than less,   intelligent.  He observes that the forward planning, lateral   thinking, and sustained problem solving required in the modern digital   lifestyle provides a healthy cognitive workout that supports broad   mental development.  His studies suggest that when young people   are playing computer and video games they are engaged in learning   activities that are more complex and challenging than most formal   school tasks.  Educational researchers such as James Gee (2003),   Marc Prensky (2006) and Richard Van Eck (2006) have identified several   ways that games promote learning: they have the ability to create a   social context among players; they can accommodate a variety of   learning modalities; they can foster engagement through immersion; and   they provide a catalyst for additional research and learning.    Games also encourage students to take intellectual risks without great   fear of failure, a concept that might be seen as the direct antithesis   to the current education model, with its high stakes   testing agenda. How can games or any digital media fit into a formal   education system where literacy and numeracy skills are highly valued   and rewarded?

        • Re: High stakes testing in a digital world

          Shane great question, I really think that games and digital media have a definite place in formal education.  If educators are using games for the sake of using technology then their might be a problem but if they are using the games or other forms of digital media as a method of teaching, review or enhancement then they have a definite place in the classroom.


          It comes back to the educator documenting how they are teaching the standards and what games or digital media bring to their classroom.


          What current “games” are people using in their classroom?

            • Re: High stakes testing in a digital world



              I have to agree with Julia on there being a place for games in the curriculum. With the flood of web 2.0 tools available, there are really some great tools that enhance learning and require critical thinking. But, you have to have a strong, curriculum minded teacher to find the perfect fit between the gaming and the curriculum. Too many times it is thrown in as a "time filler". I have seen it in classrooms and the kids are NOT engaged. They look like little robots going through the motions. When it is used correctly in a classroom, students are collaborating, discussing and problem solving. So like any other form of technology, it needs to fit into the curriculum seamlessly.

            • Re: High stakes testing in a digital world

              It would be nice if we were teaching students to create their own games that are educationally based.




              • Re: High stakes testing in a digital world

                Added Resource:


                Video Games as Learning Tools website


                • Re: High stakes testing in a digital world

                  This is a great Edutopia article on gaming in education- http://www.edutopia.org/let-games-begin

                  It looks at both sides of the issue.

                  • Re: High stakes testing in a digital world

                    Shane, a few things came to my mind when I read your post. I have long been a fan of James Paul Gee, who you mention. His book What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy is a good read ( a few years old but still relevant).



                    One of my favorite projects was the LightSpan Program. Lightspan developed a learning series based on video games called Achieve Now. Parents and students were invited to an evening family workshop where the Achieve Now software was demonstrated on PlayStations. At the end of the evening, parents were invited to take home a PlayStation and encourage their children to play Achieve Now CDs that would be sent home on a regular basis. The kids who participate in the program made remarkable learning gains. This could have been due to a few things: parental involvement, access to technology, and or the engagement factor and feedback loops video games offer. Too bad LightSpan went "belly-up", it was a good program. Plato Learning still sells the software, but I haven't followed up with their program and/or updates http://www.plato.com/Elementary-Solutions/Early-Reading/PLATO-Achieve-Now-on-PSP.aspx .


                    I seem to be going on and on here sorry, but has anyone reading this thread been involved with MIT's Scratch Program http://scratch.mit.edu/ ? (I think the program might have been mentioned in the community before.) Scratch is wonderful piece of free software where kids create their own video games. The website is a good example of an online community built on kids common interest in video games.