Games Instead of Education
I’m going to try and put together some ideas here that deal with games in education. Or rather, games instead of what we call “education.” My first idea was to put everything I know about games (not a whole lot) in this single post. Upon reflection, that was a stupid idea. I need a lot of posts because I think that my thinking about games is going to change over time: my own learning will occur during discovery and reflection. And that means by the end of a month or two, my posts will begin contradicting each other. So it goes.
The first point I want to make is why I think games should replace formal education. Here are the two definitions I’m going to use.
- I’m going to think of games only as computer-based games you play over the Internet with other people (aka MMOG–Massively Multi-player Online Games). Not single-player console/arcade games. Are those games? Sure. But I’m not going to deal with them. Partly because I suck at them (but then I suck at MMOG’s too) but mostly because it’s the infinite dynamism of human interaction that allows games (MMOG’s) to hold the potential for learning.
- Education (as distinct from learning) is a teacher and a student. Today that means a static (in terms of roles) relationship. And that’s where the problem comes in–we don’t have enough teachers. Do we need them? Hell, yeah. Otherwise, we’d build libraries and not schools. But we don’t pay them enough to create a growing supply.
Information increases exponentially. The shape of that curve means that we cannot teach facts or concepts anymore; the only solution is to provide the means to make connections, to find those facts or concepts exactly when we need them. The drawback is the potential for uninformed connections. If we could find a way to enable learning communities filled with teachers and students, we might find a solution.