Friday, December 15, 2006

Serious Games Fostering Networked Education

Serious Games enabling 21st century student success

Via: Networked For Learning

Networked For Learning white paper, written by ENA (Education Networks For America) with Infotech Strategies, states that while several groups have articulated new visions for education, one of the most compelling is advocated by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills: this new model, “networked education”, would make education personalized, equitable and relevant to all students.

In a 20th century geography assignment, a student is asked to memorize state capitals to demonstrate his or her knowledge of geography. But in a networked education environment, the 21st century student is asked to integrate his or her knowledge of geography with some analysis of the current political environment, communicate remotely with community leaders, organize team members and apply problem solving skills to the situation. For this assignment to be effective the student must be able to collaborate online, access resources and connect with his or her peers easily.

Schools must do far more than teach children ‘how to learn’ and ‘how to look things up’; they must teach them what knowledge has most value, how to use that knowledge,how to organize what they know, how to understand the relationship between past and present, how to tell the difference between accurate information and propaganda, and how to turn information into understanding.

But how can this model be accomplished?

Going beyond the infrastructure challenge, this model fully depends on vibrant communities. In a networked education community, the “people network becomes a connected set of valuable resources". And when communities are connected, these groups can accomplish goals that would be impossible through more isolated efforts. When leveraged properly, these networked education communities help produce breakthroughs.

In this context, massively multiplayer online serious games (MMOSGs) could be a powerful vehicle to build up vibrant communities.