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Learning through Digital Game Design and Building in a Participatory Culture

An Enactivist Approach


Qing Li

This book discusses topics concerning digital game-based learning focusing on learning-by-game-building and Web 2.0. Grounded in the new theoretical perspective of enactivism, this book shows how such an approach can help students gain deep understanding of subjects such as mathematics and history, as well as undergraduate or graduate students’ learning of pedagogy and also adult driver’s learning of road safety rules. Written for undergraduate students in teacher education, experienced teachers, and graduate students, this book is an ideal text for courses related to technology integration and digital game-based learning. It is also beneficial for researchers, educators, parents, school administrators, game designers, and anyone who is interested in new ways of learning and digital games.
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James Paul Gee

Humans are simulators, not calculators. We learn from experience; we use images and actions from experience to give meanings to words, and we use prior experience to prepare for new ones and the actions we need to take in them. Humans do not learn well from just any old experience. They learn best when, in an experience, they have an action to take or something they want to do that they really care about. They learn best when they have mentors who make them successful before they can go it alone and help them know where to focus their attention in the midst of the plethora of details in any experience in the world.

Digital games are virtual experiences where players take actions, consider their consequences, and seek to achieve success at least partially on their own terms but with due deference to what counts as mastery by peers and mentors they wish to affiliate with and be accepted by. Human minds work a good deal like digital games: based on past experiences, we simulate experiences in our heads where we can try out different roles, approaches, and solutions to problems in order to prepare ourselves for new learning and mastery. Thinking—when it is focused on living and achieving—is like a video game in the mind, a game we ourselves design, play, and redesign.

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