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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 10: Our New Out-of-School “Schools of Choice and Passion”


ƒ Chapter 10 Our new Out-of-school “schools of Choice and passion” tHe prObLeMs wItH sCHOOL Imagine a student in school learning some branch of science or mathematics. The questions this student often has in mind are: Why should I learn this? Why would anyone want to learn this? Why do people who learn this stuff learn it? If they like it, why do they like it? What do people do with this stuff once they learn it? What is it good for? Such questions are rarely answered in school. Most students know not to ask them, and many teachers could not answer them if they did. Over the last few years, many people have compared informal learning out of school favorably with formal learning in school. They have claimed that kids often learn more and learn more deeply out of school than they do in school, thanks to how complex popular media and popular culture have become (Cross 2006; Jenkins 2006; Johnson 2006; Gee 2004, 2007a). The answer to this claim is always some- thing like “But kids out of school choose what they want to do and learn, but they have to be forced to do it in school.” This response, though common, is pure non- sense. Humans are the sorts of creatures who cannot learn well what they have not chosen to learn (Brown 1994; Brown, Collins, & Duguid 1989; diSessa 2000; Gee 2004). Forced learning does not work for human beings. Now students might choose to learn something because...

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