Gaming Education - NarratedThis narrated version of my presentation of Gaming: the Good, the Bad and the Glorious, is in 8 parts, so you can view the whole thing, bit by bit, or, most likely, skip to the specific parts that are of most interest to you.
You can find the episodes on Vimeo here:
The presentation in a nutshell:
10 Critical Considerations:
- Avoid media bias - video games attract more criticism than they warrant, it’s understandable to be vigilant about content, but make sure that questions about what is deemed 'appropriate' or desirable are considered in relation to all forms of media, not just one.
- While video games have many similarities to other forms of media in terms of subject and content, they are unique in their focus on interactivity, as opposed to the passive modes that are typical of other forms of media. like video and literature.
- The dynamic/interactive nature of video games also makes them high engaging, this engagement can easily be misinterpreted as ‘addiction’ when it is actually more likely to be an indication of a ‘flow’ state.
- In very rare instances, gamers can become compulsive, this is true of other recreational (and indeed professional) pursuits as well, compulsive sports fans, compulsive focus on social media streams etc. Compulsion is a more appropriate term than ‘addiction’, as it relates to the nature of the problem, it is behavioural, not chemical, and there are strategies for managing this in the very rare instances where it becomes a problem. Most often the cause of gaming compulsion is not the game itself, but the social network associated with it, the attraction is not the pixels and polygons, it is people, as any compulsive consumer of social network content can attest.
- The highly interactive nature of video games means that they share many of the traits of sporting pursuits, in particular, frustration in the pursuit of challenging goals. Sometimes this can manifest as anger, but it is essential to remember that the cause of this is frustration, not the game itself.
- It is important to remember that this generation is not familiar with the idea of not being able to ‘pause’ and 'resume' entertainment, but for all generations that preceded them, the understanding that sometimes you can’t pause something (eg TV in the 70s and 80s), sometimes you have to abandon it, you will have to forego that experience in order to experience something else. This is not something this digital generation are used to, so before you insist they prematurely terminate their joint online quest with friends across the globe, all playing in real time, in a multitude of time zones, you may need to explain this.
- Many (arguably most) great games are ‘educational’, but instead of looking for content (though that is there), look for 'soft' skills and dispositions, such as problem solving, collaboration, analysis, perseverance and so on. The simulations provided by the greatest games provide a series of problem-solving experiences that are carefully designed, with clearly designed cues and feedback. That's of particular value when initially learning a complex problem solving skill. Only, unlike real life, these experiences can represent systematically a wide range of problems that might take months or years to encounter in reality. The simulated problems often take less time to solve than real ones, because they can accelerate the time lost to delays and waiting that are an inevitable part of reality. And, they provide a safe environment for the learner to take risks and learn the consequences of particular actions – a powerful learning strategy.
- Like all other forms of media, films, books, TV shows, conflict is a common theme, video games are no different in this regard. When considering the appropriateness of conflict as an element of entertainment, remember to maintain consistency in your tolerance of themes of conflict in other forms of media as well.
- Games Ratings are there for a reason, don’t ignore them. That said there are reasons to have reasonable doubts about the ESRBs inconsistent and quite frankly often bewildering use of the M rating for many games that should have an Adult rating is a case in point. To be able to determine whether a game really is ‘mature’ or ‘adult’ you will need to either cross reference with the equivalent PEGI (European) rating which is more consistent (Adult games are clearly indicated as 18+) or consult informed opinions of gamer parents (like me) on sites like commonsense.org. parents are often under a lot of pressure to cave in and let their kids games with very adult themes—yes Call of Duty, I'm looking at you. A piece of advice l give parents in this position is to go to YouTube and look at some of the gameplay walkthrough video that is posted there. That will give you a really good idea of the kind of experiences your child would encounter in game. Why? Because the bottom line is you are the parent, and you know your child, so you are the best judge of what you think is, or is not acceptable for them, not a website review, as useful as those may be. Often it's the in game cut scenes that are more of a problem than the actual gameplay. If you do have to say NO (not yet) then maybe try watching some of the footage with your child so that you can explain what it is about what you're seeing that makes you uncomfortable.
- Playing video games is no more a ‘waste of time’ that any other recreational pursuit, from fly-fishing to stamp collecting, cycling, reading and watching box-sets of DVDs. The key is balancing time spent in the pursuit of these worthwhile endeavours.
What is gaming anyway?
Where do I go to learn more about this?
How do I know when to say NO?
Why do people like gaming?
When is it good, when is it not good?
Gaming Education Part 2 - Video Games vs BooksPart 2 of 8:
Are most Books Boring? Most Video is Vacuous? Most Games are Gory?
Media & Medium Bias
Passive entertainment vs (Inter)Active entertainment.
Games as problem solving, collaborative, creative educational experiences.
Gaming Education Part 3 - Addiction, flow & CompulsionPart 3 of 8:
Video games are NOT addictive, they can be compulsive.
gaming and 'flow'.
Managing compulsive gaming.
How much is too much?
Gaming Education Part 4 - Gaming RAGE! YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!Part 4 of 8:
Video Games & Violence http://doverdlc.blogspot.com
Games don't make people angry FRUSTRATION does.
Dealing with frustration caused by playing Video Games
Gaming Education Part 5 - Which console? Which Games? Which Kind of game?Part 5 of 8:
Which console for kids? Which gaming platform?
Games for kids on the main console platforms - XBox, PS & Nintendo
Game Genres - There is more to gaming than shooting/killing. It's true.
'Educational' Games vs Educational 'Games' vs (Educational) Games.
Gaming Education Part 6 - No Violence? Or KNOW (what kinds of) Violence?Part 6 of 8:
How do I KNOW went to say NO?
Can you play games with NO violence? Yes. But, should you?
From Tom & Jerry to Grand Theft Auto.
Violence is everywhere: Literature, Video, and Games - criticise it, but consistently.
Gaming Education Part 7 - Games Ratings, Reasons & Reasonable Doubts...Part 7 of 8:
Ratings and Games across the main console platforms.
Considering ratings classifications and why these are o ften unreliable…
ESRB vs PEGI vs COMMON SENSE
When is a game an 'Adult' game and when is it an ADULT GAME?
Cartoon Killing vs Anarchic Carnage
Gaming Education Part 8 - Games - A Waste of Time? Whose time?Part 8 of 8:
Screen time vs Gaming Time
Active Activity vs Passive Activity
A 'balanced' playing/gaming/reading/viewing regimen for recreation
A summary of the 8 chapters.