The Distributed Knowledge part of the Smart Tools and Distributed Knowledgeprinciple discusses the idea that students share their expertise in a variety of ways. This can take the form of forums, discussion boards, the creation of walkthroughs and narratives that assist other players in developing their understanding of the gameplay (Gee, 2005). This can be modelled in the classroom through a number of learning strategies such as the ‘Think-Pair-Share’(Reading Rockets, 2013) and ‘Jigsaw’ (Reading Rockets, 2012) cooperative learning strategies where students share their ideas amongst others.
By introducing the idea of games into these kinds of activities, students may be more willing to share their expertise as it is an area that they are passionate and motivated about. This is evident as when the students become passionate, they will be inspired to play and then go discuss, modify, research and explicate everything about the game that they are playing with others (Gee, 2012)
Gee (2005) also explores the principle of Cross-Functional Teams. In cross-functional teams, individuals are highly skilled experts in a wide range of areas, however, need to understand all the roles of the other individuals in the team in order to meet a primary goal (Gee, 2005 & 2012). This is the overall goal of all collaborative learning strategies. The introduction of games seems like the one of the most sensible choices to help build these skills for the students in traditional classrooms.
Through her use of game design with her students, Katie Salen has found that one of the two big ideas that have shone through is the development of the 21st century skill of teamwork and collaboration (Edutopia, 2013). Students with specific expertise in a particular field have to talk to other members of the class who have different expertise in order to be able to design and build their overall project. This is modelling Gee’s principle in the classroom.
The overarching theme that was evident through the readings for this module is that the introduction of gaming into classrooms produces skills in students that are opposite to the original thought that video games were ‘naughty things that naughty boys play in the dark… and breed anti-social behaviour’ (Jennings, 2014). Sandford, Farcer and Williamson (2011) have stated that the changes in games over time have made it hard for them to be identified as promoting anti-social or negative behaviours. These changes in attitudes towards games has helped to make it easier for them to be considered as potential educational tools and has helped parents to see the positive attributes that they can provide.
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Edutopia (2012, March 21) James Paul Gee on Learning with Video Games [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnEN2Sm4IIQ
Edutopia (2013, July 30) Katie Salen on the Power of Game-Based Learning (Big Thinkers Series) [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wk_OfUHpCbM
Gee, J. P. (2005). Good video games and good learning. Phi Kappap Phi Forum,85(2), 33-37.http://dmlcentral.net/sites/dmlcentral/files/resource_files/GoodVideoGamesLearning.pdf
Jennings, J. (2014). “Teachers re-evaluate value of video games.” Sydney Morning Herald, Retrieved from http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/teachers-reevaluate-value-of-video-games-20141130-11jw0i.html
Reading Rockets (2012, February 16). Jigsaw [Video file]. Retrieved fromhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mtm5_w6JthA
Reading Rockets (2013, January 29). Think-Pair-Share [Video file]. Retrieved fromhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9AWNl-A-34
Sandford R, Facer K & Williamson B (2011). Constructions of Games, Teachers and Young People in Formal Learning. Freitas, Sara De., and Paul Maharg. Digital Games and Learning. London: Continuum International Pub. Group, 2011. Print.
Turkay, S., Hoffman, D., Kinzer, C. K., Chantes, P., & Vicari, C. (2015). Toward understanding the potential of games for learning: Learning theory, game design characteristics, and situating video games in classrooms. Computers in the Schools, 31(1-2), 2–22. doi:10.1080/07380569.2015.890879