"The Best of Salon"
Some potential Salon Questions from the minds of the Hotrods: (Chad's Blog, Erin's Blog, Nick's Blog, Megan's Blog)
1) How do we implement some of Gee's learning principles (chapter 4) into our classroom?

2) Should students be able to create their own “character” and own “world” in the classroom? What happens when the things they create are too much fantasy and not enough reality? Is that good for a learning environment such as a school classroom? When you “become a character,” can’t this be negative? For example, in games where you act as a 'pimp' or 'ho', one might wonder how negative this would be on a 5-10 (or older) year old. Becoming a character in Sims is fine and fun, but what about the games where you are encouraged to hurt others do something sexually inappropriate, or do drugs?

3) Gee says that "when we humans act in the world we are 'virtual characters' acting in a 'virtual world',” (p. 72). What do you think of that?

4) To address the lack of educational professionals in popular video games, Gee states, “It should be the same in school, in learning science, for example, by being a scientist of a certain sort in the way in which I am a soldier…” (p. 81). Doesn’t Gee understand that there’s a reason game designers don’t make games about scientists and other professions – because they won’t sell like games in which you are on an adventure, killing and destroying. Would you agree with that last statement - do games that include military warfare and gang violence sell better than a game about Galileo?

"Best of Salon" from Liz. Here are some questions I would like to further explore:

What is the role of the teacher if we use games in the classroom?

What kind of life are we preparing our kids for? What do you predict for them? I kind of envision this extreme digital world developing and I don't know if it's a good thing. I see the value in using video games as learning tools, but how can we/or where do we draw the line between using technology as learning tools and preparing students for this extreme digital world--one where people can get lost in online "affinity spaces" and role playing games.

Do boys and girls respond to video games in the same way?
From Ong:
1. What type of content is best appropriate to use with video games?
2. What can I do as a teacher to implement these kinds of ideas and theories into a classroom?

"Best of Salon" from Linda:
  • Will games prepare kids for the tests? For life?
  • Is there a point where teachers can go too far in getting some students engaged in learning? Could those students then expect all of their learning to be entertaining or interesting for them to pay attention?
  • How can we help our students focused on learning while still allowing them to have fun, especially in reading?
  • How can we prevent an extreme digital world from developing (where students lose touch with reality)?

From Nick:
1. Gee tells us that one of the positive features of an affinity space is that the users can make up an identity so that their real race, class, gender, or other info about that particular user of the space is unknown to other users. Is this necesaarily a good thing? I mean, I could easily make up my own identity as Dr. Nicholas Sterling Hayden, expert in the scientific benefits of using water to cure cancer. Then easily post things to this forum as fact, when in reality it is all just made up. I can see a twelve year old reading such “facts” and taking them seriously because it came from a “doctor” or “expert.”

2. Can we make our classrooms like games and develop non-linear lessons?

3. Is there a big connection with literacy to all types of video games (role play, narrative, sports, racing, etc.)?

4. What has a greater impact on student achievement in literacy, parental support or video games?

5. Gee mentioned that game players do well when they can create their own worlds and characters. This is good for the gamer because it keeps them engaged and having fun with the game. Does this mean that students should be able to create their own “character” and own “world” in the classroom? What happens when the things they create are too much fantasy and not enough reality? Is that good for a learning environment such as a school classroom?