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my life as a night elf priest

Theorycraft and Learning

Nardi gives a great explanation about how people put their own intelligence to work in video games.  Many people seem to believe that playing video games is a very passive activity that does not require much thinking.  This may be true for some games or for some style of play, but a majority of intense gameplay involves a lot of thinking.  Anyone that is devoted to a specific game spends a decent amount of time thinking about it.  A lot of this is thinking about how the game works or how a character or combination of things can be improved.  This is where our brain power comes in.  World of Warcraft does not give specific details about certain things, so devoted players have done their own research to find answers to unsolved questions.  While for the gamer, this is just an answer to help improve the character, for the mind, it is a puzzle that involves critical thinking.  For example in Skyrim, the NPC enemies often level along with you, making them stronger as you get stronger.  People have come up with formulas to calculate how much damage an enemy will do based on your level.  If you look at this link you can see information of the final boss of the main quest.  His level is 1.2 times whatever yours is and his health is part of a somewhat complex formula based on that.  This type of information can be figured out through research and personal knowledge.  Finding out information like this is very similar to a scientific method experiment, but people are willing to do this on their own free time for no gain but their own knowledge of the game.  If classes used this type of thing more, perhaps students would be more interested in the material.

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Discussion

3 thoughts on “Theorycraft and Learning

  1. I have two little brothers in grades 4 and 6 who I think would get huge benefits in a more entertaining way of learning. My mom dreads the evening hours when she basically has to strap them to their chores and get them through their homework. With state testing taking a dramatic turn for the worse as far as difficulty goes, the teachers are pressured to get their kids to understand the material even more than before. This creates a heinous school environment for both student and teacher. The teacher fears for her job if the students don’t do well on the state issued tests, and the students are faced with a must learn situation in which more and more information is being thrown at them at faster paces. For my brothers, a cloud of negative stress constantly rains down on the places in which they spend eight hours a week day. There has got to be a better way to educate these kids. The download and regurgitate method is for computers, not human beings. Perhaps games can solve this urgent issue.

    Posted by sccrdude540 | June 7, 2013, 2:21 pm
    • The gaming school that was a flagship school for education is attempting to do just what you are saying. The teachers need to understand that yes, the regurgitation method does not work, but also that there needs to be an incentive that the kids want. For gamers it is leveling up, and for some students it is an ‘A’, but what about the rest of the world. I think that solving this problem could fix the education system and knock out the need for standardized tests. They are pushing children to the wrong reasons for going to school. Schools should teach you how to think, not regurgitate.

      Posted by jbort94 | June 8, 2013, 3:25 pm
  2. I agree that there is certainly a large problem solving aspect to video games that is what gives most games there longevity as well as immerses the player. McGonigal talked about “positive work” and how the challenges of leveling up as well as getting stuck on a tricky part could be viewed as work but with the stimulation it provides, we don’t perceive it as negative. With games like final fantasy and Legends of Zelda the player is played in a vast world where they must piece together where to go and how to equip for the location. It goes even more in depth if the player is willing to follow all of the hints and special tricks the player can be rewarded with special prizes. In Final Fantasy X the player has to find a certain number of Cactuars that are located in hidden locations around the world, with this achievement the player is able to gain one of the most powerful weapons in the game. To achieve this it is no mere feat of pressing buttons but of being very observant and thorough as well as taking hints from the other characters in the game. Learning at its best.

    Standardized tests put the student in a high pressure situation where the student has to process the question, apply related concepts then make a decision. These are all skills that as adults have to face in life as well as professional life. Although i agree having the students know the information is much more important than just cramming to pass a test it is a valuable skill to be able to pick a solution out of many possible solutions without hesitation.

    Posted by diomazurek | June 10, 2013, 8:58 am

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