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TED Talk Tuesday: Games and Fun

In today’s TED Talk Tuesday, Jane McGonigal offers the premise that games (video games) can change the world in meaningful and positive ways.

She builds her case convincingly.  I am currently reading Daniel Pink’s book Drive.  There are some similar ties between the two ideas.  Blissful productivity, we are more productive when we do things that we have to work at, and think about. When we have some direction and there is meaning behind it.

The principles learned through gaming can be used to solve real world problems. I can’t help but wonder what implications this line of thought has for education. How can we change the daily school “game” so that students don’t just sit on the sidelines, but experience “epic wins”.  We all want to know that what we do matters and matters deeply.  Games give us this feeling that what we are doing is having an important effect.

Learning should be an act of play.  It seems to me that if we can tell a difference between learning and play we aren’t doing one of the right.  Consider babies in any species, how do they learn to do life?  Through play.

I’m not sure that I can envision what this looks like in the practical sense in the school setting. But I think that McGonigal has something here. What do you think, what could games and fun do for education?  How can we use from what we know about games to change education and, in doing so, change the world?

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6 Comments

  1. The “games” I love are more ones where we get to create something- text or pictures or video or animation. I will work very hard, study hard, to make something I am pleased with. I see the same attitude in my family, friends and students. Where there is a purpose to our learning, we are hugely invested in it. Mostly, that is fun, but even when it isn’t, we persevere.

    Education IS changing, albeit slowly, thanks to the efforts of people like you, Kelly. If we can harness the power of play, I have great hopes for its future.

  2. That is great! It is important for us all to expand the way we think about technology, the world, and education. This was just the video to hit all 3!

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