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Res. 5: Video Games in Education

Squire, Kurt D. “Video games in education.” Int. J. Intell. Games & Simulation 2.1 (2003): 49-62.

In the essay by Kurt Squire “Video Games in Education” there are several differences between games and traditional schooling that explain why a revolution of game based education would be better than the current system. One of the differences was the pace at which students learn material. In traditional schooling, “groups of students learn at one pace and are given very little freedom to manage the content and pacing of their learning” (Squire). Also, every student is lumped into the same pace, as if they were all the same person with the same learning habits. This does not make much sense as learning abilities vary significantly from person to person. Obviously schools cannot provide each student with their own private tutor, or can they? With the assistance of a video game which the “player controls how much she plays and when she plays,” and “players play and practice until they master the game [and] take all of the time they need,” the student almost acts like their own tutor without even knowing it.

Another difference, Squire adds, is the fact that gaming promotes communication between students. Sharing tips and trading secrets is part of the fun of mastering a game, and it gives the person giving the information a sense of responsibility and importance. It is also a great opportunity to make friends in an environment that is often difficult to do so. On the other side of the spectrum, in the current school system, sharing communicating information is forbidden. It is the ultimate no-no that forces students to isolate themselves from even the closest of peers. This is not promoting plagiarism, obviously students need to create their own work and not just copy somebody else word for word. But for somebody who is stuck on something, creating frustration and helplessness, a little push in the right direction from a friend may be all they need. In fact, with the competitiveness as well as a boost in creativity that comes hand in hand with gaming, students might not even consider copying somebody else. They would want to win on their own instead of somebody else doing it for them; what fun is it to just watch somebody else play video games?

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