What is the point of Minecraft?
In my last post a student reflected on what Minecraft was enabling him to learn and the fact that he was taking it beyond the class and applying it to other aspects of his schooling. James Paul Gee (2007, 110) speaks about this concept and vindicates the role that gaming plays in learning.
The recipe is simple: Give people well designed visual and embodied experiences of a domain, through simulations or in reality (or both). Help them use these experiences to build simulations in their heads through which they can think about and imaginatively test out future actions and hypotheses. Let them act and experience consequence, but in a protected way when they are learners. Then help them to evaluate their actions and the consequences of their actions (based on the values and identities they have adopted as participants in the domain) in ways that lead them to build better simulations for better future action.
It is time to start linking in with the power of gaming and connect in with what young people can gain from it.
James Paul Gee, “Pleasure, Learning, Video Games, and Life: The Projective Stance,” in Michele Knobel and Colin Lankshear (eds.), A New Literacies Sampler (New York: Peter Lang, 2007), pp.95-114.