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Good Video Games and Good Learning

Collected Essays on Video Games, Learning and Literacy, 2nd Edition


James Paul Gee

Good Video Games and Good Learning presents the most important essays by James Paul Gee devoted to the ways in which good video games create good learning. The chapters in this book argue that good games teach through well-designed problem-solving experiences. They also prove that game-based learning must involve more than software and technology and engage with the design of passionate-affinity spaces where people mentor each other’s learning and engagement. In the end, the book offers a model of collaborative, interactive, and embodied learning centered on problem solving, a model that can be enhanced by games, but which can be accomplished in many different ways with or without games.


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Chapter 5: The Old and the New in the New Digital Literacies


ƒ Chapter 5 the Old and the new in the new digital Literacies There is lots of talk today about “digital literacy.” The phrase “digital literacy” may be more appropriate than many people know. Traditional literacy (reading and writ- ing) has and still does come in two grades. One grade leads to working-class jobs, once a good thing when there were unions and benefits, but now not such a good thing when it means low pay and no benefits, usually in service work. The other grade leads to more meaningful work and more financial success. What distin- guishes these grades of literacy? The premium grade involves mastery of so-called “academic language,” the forms of language used in research, empirical reasoning, and logical argumentation. Now, I am well aware that nearly everyone hates “aca- demic language” (things like “Hornworms exhibit a significant amount of varia- tion,” rather than “Hornworms sure vary a lot in how well they grow”), but when people are in good jobs, they are often there because they got through their high school chemistry book and argued and debated their way out of a good college. Does digital literacy come in two grades as well? Are there ways with digital media (as there are ways with words) that lead to quite different results, despite the fact that everyone is participating and using digital media? I believe there are. Further, I believe that the premium grade involves mastery of “specialist/technical language,” the forms of language used in specialist communities devoted...

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