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How can we make sure that our kids are learning to be creative thinkers in a world of global competition--and what does that mean for the future of education in the digital age? David Williamson Shaffer offers a fresh and powerful perspective on computer games and learning. How Computer Games Help Children Learn shows how video and computer games can help teach kids to bui How can we make sure that our kids are learning to be creative thinkers in a world of global competition--and what does that mean for the future of education in the digital age? David Williamson Shaffer offers a fresh and powerful perspective on computer games and learning. How Computer Games Help Children Learn shows how video and computer games can help teach kids to build successful futures--but only if we think in new ways about education itself. Shaffer shows how computer and video games can help students learn to think like engineers, urban planners, journalists, lawyers, and other innovative professionals, giving them the tools they need to survive in a changing world. Based on more than a decade of research in technology, game science, and education, How Computer Games Help Children Learn revolutionizes the ongoing debate about the pros and cons of digital learning.


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How can we make sure that our kids are learning to be creative thinkers in a world of global competition--and what does that mean for the future of education in the digital age? David Williamson Shaffer offers a fresh and powerful perspective on computer games and learning. How Computer Games Help Children Learn shows how video and computer games can help teach kids to bui How can we make sure that our kids are learning to be creative thinkers in a world of global competition--and what does that mean for the future of education in the digital age? David Williamson Shaffer offers a fresh and powerful perspective on computer games and learning. How Computer Games Help Children Learn shows how video and computer games can help teach kids to build successful futures--but only if we think in new ways about education itself. Shaffer shows how computer and video games can help students learn to think like engineers, urban planners, journalists, lawyers, and other innovative professionals, giving them the tools they need to survive in a changing world. Based on more than a decade of research in technology, game science, and education, How Computer Games Help Children Learn revolutionizes the ongoing debate about the pros and cons of digital learning.

30 review for How Computer Games Help Children Learn

  1. 4 out of 5

    Penny

    I started reading this book with a skeptical attitude after seeing one too many articles by computer geeks who blather on about how “learning should never be boring.” As it turns out, Shaffer won me over very quickly with this book. First of all, Shaffer explicitly defines what kind of games help children learn: epistemic games. These are games built on the model of the practicum, which allows a novice to learn the ways of thinking in a particular profession, to ask the questions that a professio I started reading this book with a skeptical attitude after seeing one too many articles by computer geeks who blather on about how “learning should never be boring.” As it turns out, Shaffer won me over very quickly with this book. First of all, Shaffer explicitly defines what kind of games help children learn: epistemic games. These are games built on the model of the practicum, which allows a novice to learn the ways of thinking in a particular profession, to ask the questions that a professional would ask, and to value the things a professional would value. This relates to situated cognition, and also reminded me of Bruner’s idea of learning the structure of a field of study rather than just fact and formulas. This book provides detailed descriptions of real epistemological games in a variety of fields (not just math and science but also journalism and urban planning), and the results they saw using these games with real kids. These case studies are enjoyable to read about, but also give you a “feel” for what an epistemological game would be, even if you aren’t quite ready to start designing one. More importantly, Shaffer discusses what kinds of generalizable skills and attitudes the kids took with them after the games were done. It’s a quick (193 page), enjoyable read, and worth reading regardless of whether you are a computer game evangelist or a skeptic.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    “This is a book about how computer and video games can help adults rebuild education for the post-industrial, high-technology world by thinking about learning in a new way” and David W. Shaffer (2007) goes on to illustrate how computers can be used to learn authentically and deeply through relevant and meaningful curricular experiences; how to use technology to level the playing field for all learners; and how to leverage technology in order to foster [learner] empowerment through successful lea “This is a book about how computer and video games can help adults rebuild education for the post-industrial, high-technology world by thinking about learning in a new way” and David W. Shaffer (2007) goes on to illustrate how computers can be used to learn authentically and deeply through relevant and meaningful curricular experiences; how to use technology to level the playing field for all learners; and how to leverage technology in order to foster [learner] empowerment through successful learning experiences. What must be further understood is that computers are not being used to replace paper and pencil skill based learning tasks. Learners need to use technology to innovate. Present day educational systems were designed to maximize content delivery as efficiently as possible to create a homogenized workforce. With the global economy that exists today, “innovative thinking is what counts, and education for the digital age shouldn’t be about learning to do what a computer can do” (Shaffer). Rather, education should be about learning how to interpret, evaluate, and apply information – in other words…innovate. How Computer Games Help Children Learn shows how using structured computer games (or simulations) can fulfill this newer and more realistic learning need. Summary - Numerous reports and studies continue to show that the United States is seriously lacking in the global workforce economy. Yet our greatest asset, the educational system, is failing to keep pace with the ever increasing demand for innovative workers and continues to educate learners for non-professional work. David W. Shaffer (2007) uses years of research to show how the correlation between “thinking style” (epistemic) games and authentic learning experiences increases the learner’s understanding and retention of the content material. “What matters in the digital age is not learning to do things a computer can do for you but learning to use the computer to do things that neither you nor it can do alone” (Shaffer). In order to do so, we as educators must develop a new way to think about learning and in doing so, we will discover what it means to become a truly innovative workforce – “…providing products, services, and technologies that let people share information, work together, and do things in new ways” (Shaffer). Throughout the book, learners take on different roles to solve real-world problems through [computerized] simulations or games. In taking on these roles, learners develop four distinct levels of understanding, reasoning, and experience in order to conduct themselves in the same manner as would be expected for any professional working in that capacity out in the workforce. Knowledge - Knowledge refers to the inherent information required by the learner simply to participate. In order for someone to “act” as an architect, doctor, etc., one must know the relevant language and understand the relevant purpose of that profession. Shaffer (2007) uses his research to show that learners taking on the role of a professional requires the learner to complete and internalize far more content information than if merely learning a topic or skill. Skills - Skills refers to the comparative thinking that comes from evaluating one’s own work, taking the results of that evaluation and moving forward with a “new and improved” plan of action…“innovation cannot happen in isolation: It is by definition new and different; therefore it has to be new and different from something” (Shaffer). Values - Values refers to the learner developing a sense of ownership or “caring” about what the professional finds significant and important. “By playing a game based on the things professionals do in training, players can learn to think innovative ways – and to care – about a wide range of complex and important problems and situations” (Shaffer). Identity - A sense of identity describes how learners perceive themselves and their effectiveness to invoke change or innovate when acting as a professional. Identities “are ways of seeing and solving problems that matter in society and that have the power to help shape how young people see themselves and the world around them” (Shaffer). Critique - I have read many, many pedagogical books throughout my teaching career, but none have touched me quite like this one. The words ‘computer games’ in the title caught my eye, but his theory, research, and application held my attention and captured my imagination. “In playing games, … children are running simulations of worlds they want to learn about in order to understand the rules, roles, and consequences of those worlds” and Shaffer illustrates, repeatedly, what true learning looks like when utilizing strategies that draws the learner in and teaches them how to think creatively and approach problem solving through the eyes of a professional, instead of a passive bystander. Author’s Qualifications - David W. Shaffer is currently a professor at the University of Wisconsin – Madison and a game scientist at the Wisconsin Center for Educational Research. To date, he has received approximately $11,000,000 in research grants and sponsorships related to the study of how innovative technologies change the way we learn and think. The thematic content (epistemic game value) of this book was derived from his working papers written while studying the effects that computer games (simulations) had on learning combined with relevant resource material from over 250 additional authors. Shaffer continues to share his insights and findings through journal publications (20), personal presentations (27), and professional memberships with various journal organizations (15). Shaffer holds an MS and PhD in Media Arts and Sciences from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

  3. 4 out of 5

    MJ Nicholls

    In this summer’s must-read, Associate Professor Shaffer pounds into our heads the notion of ‘epistemic’ games that will turn next year’s children into a group of innovative professionals before their tenth birthdays. He argues that by playing games designed to encourage children to think like professionals in their field, they will grow into a new generation of bright sparks able to cope in a ‘postindustrial’ world, already equipped with the language, rationalising skills and knowledge to succee In this summer’s must-read, Associate Professor Shaffer pounds into our heads the notion of ‘epistemic’ games that will turn next year’s children into a group of innovative professionals before their tenth birthdays. He argues that by playing games designed to encourage children to think like professionals in their field, they will grow into a new generation of bright sparks able to cope in a ‘postindustrial’ world, already equipped with the language, rationalising skills and knowledge to succeed. Well, yes. Only trouble is these games are highly hypothetical now: very few custom-made games are available in classes, and very few schools have the budget for classrooms with wall-to-wall computers, and if gaming became the norm in education, children would grow bored on an entirely new level. However, if anything can lift children from the stupor of impersonal school learning, it’s these games. So let’s get going. Shaffer uses the words ‘epistemic’ and ‘postindustrial’ and ‘practicum’ a lot in the text. He also seems to have forgotten to write a conclusion. And his prose is occasionally soporific. But I love the man’s mind. So all good, all good.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sang Park

    I didn't know what to expect from this book. It could've been a book that was promoting a specific computer game for educators. I was very surprised to find that it was more about how students can learn more through a "game." The author seemed to argue for these two things. 1) All games have rules and knowing these rules make games fun. Students can learn by maneuvering through these rules. They can take on a role and learn with and through each others only after they learn these rules. 2) The gam I didn't know what to expect from this book. It could've been a book that was promoting a specific computer game for educators. I was very surprised to find that it was more about how students can learn more through a "game." The author seemed to argue for these two things. 1) All games have rules and knowing these rules make games fun. Students can learn by maneuvering through these rules. They can take on a role and learn with and through each others only after they learn these rules. 2) The games are not effective learning tool unless it is tied to a "real world" application. Not all computer games are designed to teach students. Students are not to simply play games and learn everything. For example, vocabularies and concepts that are used in these games are useless unless they are closely tied to the real world. I thought it was a great way to connect technology to aid students learning.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Max Bong

    As a designer and teacher, I am currently using game principles to design behavior. This book was interesting and an easy read. There are many examples given in the book at some point you understand the point he's making, I skipped some parts there. As a designer and teacher, I am currently using game principles to design behavior. This book was interesting and an easy read. There are many examples given in the book at some point you understand the point he's making, I skipped some parts there.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kaj Sotala

    Interesting book, which focuses on the ways that children can be taught to think in new kinds of ways by placing them in various kinds of simulations, in which they get to try things out and discuss their findings with more experienced practitioners. As the children get to adopt the identity of the profession that's being simulated - be it an engineer, visual designer, journalist or urban planner - and work on tasks that feel actually meaningful, they can start learning some of the ways of thoug Interesting book, which focuses on the ways that children can be taught to think in new kinds of ways by placing them in various kinds of simulations, in which they get to try things out and discuss their findings with more experienced practitioners. As the children get to adopt the identity of the profession that's being simulated - be it an engineer, visual designer, journalist or urban planner - and work on tasks that feel actually meaningful, they can start learning some of the ways of thought that those professions employ, and take that way of thinking ("epistemic frame", as Shaffer calls it) into new domains. Although the title of the book is "How computer games help children learn", pretty little time is spent on commercially available entertainment games, instead focusing on various educational projects that made use of computer programs. The book notes that such games and projects would be hard to integrate with existing schools, and that they are currently best pursued in "third spaces" (with home and school being the first two) such as summer camps and after-school events. As someone interested in designing educational games, I particularly notice that the simulation that are described rely extensively on discussion and collaboration with older experts, which may make it hard to make self-contained video games which would confer the same benefits. That said, the described benefits clearly seem strong enough to make it worth a try, and Shaffer's ideas about things such as temporarily providing the players with a new kind of identity do provide interesting suggestions of how to make any game feel more personally meaningful and satisfying.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ilib4kids

    371.334 SCH My review: this book is about epistemology: the study of what is means to know something of digital age. The word epistemology comes from the Greek root "episteme", meaning knowledge. 最重要的不是教知识,而是教怎么想问题,思维方式。从哪个角度来解决问题。 Chap 1: Epistemology: the debating game History of modern school p34-36. Invented during Industrial age, facing the challenge chaotic life in extremely expanding urbanization. Deliberately used the factory as a model for the orderly delivery of instruction. The first req 371.334 SCH My review: this book is about epistemology: the study of what is means to know something of digital age. The word epistemology comes from the Greek root "episteme", meaning knowledge. 最重要的不是教知识,而是教怎么想问题,思维方式。从哪个角度来解决问题。 Chap 1: Epistemology: the debating game History of modern school p34-36. Invented during Industrial age, facing the challenge chaotic life in extremely expanding urbanization. Deliberately used the factory as a model for the orderly delivery of instruction. The first requisite of the school is order. Around 1800, the structure of school is developed: so-called egg crate school, with identical isolated classrooms, each with individual desk for individual students, age-graded classroom, 5-days school week, 45-minute school period, Carnegie Unit, 130 hours of instruction in a single unit. The school is deliberately designed for life in industrial America, the problem of which is that industrial school don't particularly encourageinnovative thinking. relative topic: Hidden curriculum. Games: Sodaconstructor http://sodaplay.com (free, java-based spring-mass model system) edgaps.org/ The Epistemic Games Group

  8. 4 out of 5

    Greg

    While many would lump all computer games into a pile that is, educationally speaking, below television, and perhaps only above "playing in traffic", the author sees things differently. His first question is "what is it important for kids to learn". He sees children entering a very dynamic world that is changing so fast that tradition education doesn't make sense, and the memorization of facts is obsolete. This obsolescence is driven by the both the google effect, and the changing nature of the w While many would lump all computer games into a pile that is, educationally speaking, below television, and perhaps only above "playing in traffic", the author sees things differently. His first question is "what is it important for kids to learn". He sees children entering a very dynamic world that is changing so fast that tradition education doesn't make sense, and the memorization of facts is obsolete. This obsolescence is driven by the both the google effect, and the changing nature of the world. Rather, he claims, children should be taught how to think, work dynamically in creative teams on here-to-fore unsolved problems, to become members of a creative class. This is the antithesis of the NCLB, "teach to the test" which is prevalent today. And the best tools to do this are computer games. Not all computer games are created equal, of course. The book defines "Epistemic Games", or games which teach a certain method of thinking, along with reflection about the results of thinking this way. Sadly, these games exist mainly in educational labs today, though each chapter mentions commercial examples which are at least close to this ideal.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    Students in EDU345 Technology for Teaching and Learning engaged in a spontaneous debate in class last week as we raised the question about the value of computer games for learning. One group argued from their experience participating in multi-player online games. A second group from its conviction that positive social development and "teaching" require real people and face-to-face interactions. I want to introduce new perspectives to the discussion so I found this book that describes new ways of Students in EDU345 Technology for Teaching and Learning engaged in a spontaneous debate in class last week as we raised the question about the value of computer games for learning. One group argued from their experience participating in multi-player online games. A second group from its conviction that positive social development and "teaching" require real people and face-to-face interactions. I want to introduce new perspectives to the discussion so I found this book that describes new ways of thinking about games and learning. The book provides engaging examples and strong theory-based arguments for rethinking the roles of games in learning.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Bob Uva

    Good coverage of a type of game under development and research at University of Wisconsin - Madison. Type is called 'epistemic games' and refers to games that allow players to learn how to think like an actual professional in a field thinks. Good coverage of a type of game under development and research at University of Wisconsin - Madison. Type is called 'epistemic games' and refers to games that allow players to learn how to think like an actual professional in a field thinks.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mp

    I learned how computer games help children learn.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    A really great argument for education reform grounded in the worlds of digital natives...

  13. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    So, rating this book a '5' is a bit selfish since it was written by my graduate school advisor and has a chapter about my research project. So, rating this book a '5' is a bit selfish since it was written by my graduate school advisor and has a chapter about my research project.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Peter Berry

  15. 4 out of 5

    Candace House

  16. 4 out of 5

    KJ Jones

  17. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

  18. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

  19. 5 out of 5

    Christina Haschka

  20. 4 out of 5

    Samia

  21. 5 out of 5

    Tom Killalea

  22. 5 out of 5

    Hillary

  23. 4 out of 5

    John

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Arnold

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jelesha Sobers

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bing Gordon

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kellie Sullivan

  28. 5 out of 5

    Thomas

  29. 4 out of 5

    Josh

  30. 4 out of 5

    Glennw

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