The Big G of Games
A few weeks ago I attended a webinar where James Gee presented on the Big G of games. It is always a pleasure to listen to James Gee and consider the aspects of gaming that he unpacks. He has certainly given me insight into the concept of skills learnt and the literacy associated with game play and beyond. Furthermore, he has identified that games are good for learning as they are well designed to provide for learning.
So what is the Big of Games?
To explain this Gee looks at games, he noted that they are just a piece of software which has a set of experiences that are good for learning. He then broadened out to talk about the meta-game, which is the the social interactions that occur both in and around the game. From this he combines both the game and the meta-game to define the Big G of games. Which is highly connected to affinity spaces that involve passions and interests. These allow for the distribution of teaching and learning as well as problem solving. They create a bottom up connection to learning, it is driven by the people within the affinity space not from the a top down model. Minecraft is a perfect example of this with the modding that players involve themselves in that is supported by the social networking that occurs. This in itself is not just about content, it is more than that, it is based on an action affect. They are thinking like designers. Standards are evident as there is accountability within the affinity group, standards are indigenous to the group and hence an appreciative capacity exists to be committed to the learning. They create something of value.
Gee also spoke about “chocolate covered broccoli” – a term often used to describe a situation where the game mechanic doesn’t connect with the game outcome. Hence he warned about gamification being something that is often not used well and incorporated into selling something or highly business related. He used the example of duping people into ‘enjoying’ work. And finally, with regard to motivation Gee stressed the importance of considering affect/effect. With regard to this he focussed on the incorporation of badges. Gee identifed the need to carefully consider the use of badges in relation to rigour and and validation.