Aug 4, 2013

Edutopia: Katie Salen on the Power of Game-Based Learning

From Edutopia: [We] believe that kids can and do learn in different ways outside of school, often via access to digital media and access to kind of online community support. And that if we know that learning outside of school matters a great deal to kids' ability to learn well in school, we have to pay attention to that. So it's a school that from the ground up has been designed to leverage the kind of digital lives of kids, and it also looks at the notion of how games work as learning systems, and it's developed a pedagogical approach that delivers what we call game-like learning.

I can't tell you how exciting game-based learning is to me. Fun, engaging, exciting. I can see where this video might motivate teachers or deter them, though. The equipment at Quest to Learn is way beyond what I have. The challenge to overcome that deficit is just too delicious to pass up. Rather than focus on the technology, I need to remember Ms. Salen's explanation:
So the way that our curriculum is structured in mission and quest based, so it actually builds on that trope from online gaming. And the idea is that quests actually get harder as you move through them, because you're actually developing tools and developing knowledge and developing experiences. And the goal is that you actually can't move to a quest until you've completed one prior. They're proceeding through some kind of challenge and they're getting closer to some kind of end goal, and we have found that that's very motivating for kids, that they know where they're at, they know how far they've come and they know what they need to work on. 
So, what does that look like for my fifth grade math class? I don't know, yet, but I'll let you know.

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