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Good Video Games and Good Learning

Collected Essays on Video Games, Learning and Literacy


James Paul Gee

This book discusses a broad range of topics concerning video games, learning and literacy. These include the ways games can marry pleasure, learning and mastery through the sense of ownership, agency and control players enjoy when gaming, as well as controversial issues surrounding games. The book explores relationships between values, identity, content and learning, and focuses on how to understand and explain many young people’s differential experiences of learning in gaming and schooling respectively.


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Chapter 6: Can Technology-rich Learning Close the Digital Participation Gap?


ƒ Chapter 6 Can technology-rich Learning Close the digital participation Gap?1 Can technology-rich Learning Close the digital participation Gap? The short answer to the question this article addresses is: “No, technology-rich learning cannot close the digital participation gap.” Something else can, but that something else would require a political will missing in the United States today. What is the digital participation gap? It is a gap between the rich and the poor. It is not a gap that can be solved by equipment. While it is true that poor kids have access to less and less good technology, solving this problem will not get rid of the gap. We can see this if we look at books and the reading gap before we look at tech- nology (really, other technologies, since literacy is a technology). We have long had a reading gap. Poor kids learn to read less well than rich ones. Just giving poor kids books does not begin to close the gap. How much good giving books does—if it does any good at all—depends on what you do with the books. The same is true of computers, video games, and other forms of media and mul- timedia. It is not what you have, but what you do with what you have and whom you do it with. What makes books good for preparing for and doing well in school? Many things, of course, but two are most important. First is interactive talk of a certain sort....

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