YOUTH, MEDIA, & POP CULTURE
Growing up I was never a fan of video games, my brothers on the other hand would play for hours on end. Being exposed to various topics in my Youth, Media and Popular Culture class, I challenged myself to explore playing video games. Prior to setting out on this challenge, I ensured completed reading the article by Kurt Squire. Squire stated in the article that "Video games are much more than just simulations; they are world's that provide designed experiences” (pg. 111), which is what I was hoping to experience playing a video game.
I went to the video game store and picked up Halo, Rise of Nations, and Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker. As I confronted the games I was amazed. It was hard, long, and complex. I failed many times and had to engage in a virtual research project via the Internet to learn some of things I needed to know, and even asked my 12 year old brother to help me. All ways of learning and thinking didn’t work. I felt myself using learning muscles that hadn’t had this much of a workout since my undergraduate days. As I struggled, I thought, young people pay lots of money to engage in these games, activities that are hard, long, and complex. As an educator, I realized that this was just the problem our schools face: How do you get someone to learn something long, hard, and complex and yet enjoy it. At a deeper level, however, challenge and learning are a large part of what makes good video games motivating and entertaining, which is why humans actually enjoy learning.
No deep learning takes place unless learners make an extended commitment of self for the long haul. Good video games capture players through identity. Players either inherit a strongly formed and appealing character or they get to build a character from the ground up, which I experienced in the games I purchased. I also felt that as a player I was a producer and not just a consumer. Players help “write” the worlds they live in—in school, they should help “write” the domain and the curriculum they study.
SQUIRE, K. (2008). CHAPTER SEVEN: Critical Education in an Interactive Age. Counterpoints, 338, 105-123. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org.uproxy.library.dc-uoit.ca/stable/42979224
My name is Farishta Amiri and I am an M.Ed student at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. My interests include technology, curriculum design, adult education and development.