The Height of Video Gaming

This Spartan LifeAt the airport in Raleigh, yesterday, I received an e-mail from Steve Dembo, describing how he had read the April issue of WIRED Magazine on the train. He suggested that we hold a roundtable discussion about the influences of video games in education — but that we hold the meeting inside of Halo. He had read an article about a talk show, This Spartan Life, that is held inside of the Halo 2 video game environment. His production staff provides cross-fire to protect him and his guest from weapons-wielding players who happen to wander onto the set.

When I landed in Newark, I checked my mail again, with my phone, and saw another message from Steve. He’d written the second one to to acknowledge that I had probably already read the WIRED article, having seen yesterday’s 2¢ Worth. I must say that I am not interested in holding a meeting in Halo. I’ve tried it, and the only thing I can do, is fall down. ..and I don’t even do that gracefully. But what does interest me is a class of students in a Halo’esque classroom, with George Washington and Nelson Mandella, in seats with the students and joining in on a conversation about government. Or a similar classroom with a working atom in the room, demonstrating how it works.

What really interests me is that the atom may have been built by some of the students. Or that the entire classroom is designed and redesigned by students on an ongoing basis as part of the class.

Again, I’m not suggesting replacing the traditional classroom or even most traditional styles of teaching and learning. I’m talking about making education much richer than what can be done exclusively inside the confines of four walls and the two covers of a book.

I learn so much from blogging, from being a part of a huge, engaging, and valuable ongoing conversation. However, it come nowhere near matching how I am challenged to think and learn while having dinner with the likes of Steve Dembo, Will Richardson, and Rob Mancabelli. Face to face is the height of video gaming.

6 thoughts on “The Height of Video Gaming”

  1. So, the appeal is the community. In same way that golf or running groups are a community. The actrivity is the excuse to get together to talk … to commune. I think my light finally came on.

    My brother teachers social studies and AP Psych in a rural NC high school. This semester his kids in AP Psych created a group in MySpace specific to the class. Last night I spent some time there. Amazing honesty. Amazing engagement. Amazing mutual respect. And they are starting to create some Amazing conversations.

    Does that replace the f2f communities? I hope not. And I don’t think so. I think it’s only reinforcing the strength of those human communities. very cool.

  2. Jt,

    I think that community is part of it. But more than community, its the responsiveness of the video game environment. The game responds to the student’s decisions and information, their workings of the controls, and what they decide to do as a group. A video game is not the only place to get responsiveness, hince my conversation over dinner with Will Richardson and crew. That conversation was community, but the greatest value was responding to the ideas of these really smart people, and having them respond me.

    — dave —

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