Friday, April 26, 2013

Can Gaming Make a Better World?

I have occasionally revisited the Ted Talk by Jane McGonigal entitled, "Gaming Can Make a Better World" for the last few years and I have to admit that I'm still on the fence as far as my thoughts go.

I believe that as we continue towards blended and online learning that the technology and software will become more and more interactive and I can see where McGonigal is headed, but I'm not so sure it is obtainable. The thing that intrigues me is when she says that the average gamer plays 10,000 hours of video games by the age of twenty-one. When you consider the fact that, in the United States, a student receives 10,080 hours of instruction from the beginning of fifth grade until they graduate 12th grade we seem to have an entire parallel track of education. So how can we harness the time and abilities of gamers?

According to McGonigal:
Reality is broken and we need to make it work more like a game.

So why doesn't the real world work more like an online game? In the best-designed games, our human experience is optimized: We have important work to do, we're surrounded by potential collaborators, and we learn quickly and in a low-risk environment.
Games like World of Warcraft give players the means to save worlds, and incentive to learn the habits of heroes. What if we could harness this gamer power to solve real-world problems?
In her work as a game designer and director of game R&D at the Institute for the Future, she creates games that use mobile and digital technologies to turn everyday spaces into playing fields, and everyday people into teammates. Her game-world insights can explain--and improve--the way we learn, work, solve problems, and lead our real lives.

Also, several years ago McGonigal suffered a serious concussion, and she created a multiplayer game to get through it, opening it up to anyone to play. In “Superbetter,” players set a goal (health or wellness) and invite others to play with them--and to keep them on track. While most games, and most videogames, have traditionally been about winning, we are now seeing increasing collaboration and games played together to solve problems.

So can gaming really make a better world?

Watch the Ted Talk below or click HERE:

Additional resources:
Institute for the Future
Game-Based Learning: What it is, Why it Works, and Where it's Going

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