Connection to Readings: Part 1
Mind Shift: Guide to Digital Games + Learning discusses the many aspects of learning and the future of education, and how digital games have become a crucial tool in education. In fact, the article states, “not exploring, updating, and reinventing our teaching strategies can cause us to miss valuable opportunities to reach students. We all chose teaching because we love it, and a good teacher is constantly motivated to improve the classroom experience” (pg. 19). The world of education is always changing, and we live in a technological time. By using technology in the classroom, teachers and students can stay up to date.
I believe that Poptropica is a game that uses information “on demand” and “just in time”. According to the article, information “on demand” and “just in time” means that people use verbal information only when needed. As I was playing the game, I noted how it gave me instructions as I went along with my various tasks. I could also click on other characters, who would answer my questions. Poptropica consists of directions while playing, and states exactly what needs to be done at each step of the adventure.
Connections to Readings: Part 2
Chapter 4 of Good Video Games, the Human Mind, and Good Learning depicts two important aspects of technology in education. First, good video games depict a technology that illuminates how the human mind works. Second, good video games consist of good learning principles and have much to do with teaching individuals about learning both in and out of the classroom.
Good video games depict a technology that illuminates how the human mind works. The article states, “for humans, effective thinking is more like running a simulation than it is about forming abstract generalizations cut off from experiential realities. Effective thinking…can afford the opportunity for actions that will lead to a successful accomplishment of the actor’s goals” (pg. 25). Video games allow for this stimulation because they externalize the search for affordances for a match between the character and the world.
In Poptropica, the player can learn to see the world in a way that will afford the actions that are needed to accomplish the goals. The player learns about the task they need to complete, and act toward achieving said task. This allows for the player to feel a sense of accomplishment through the production of their knowledge to solve deep problems. Completing a task on Poptropica can make the player feel proud and accomplished.
This chapter also argues that good video games consist of good learning principles and have much to do with teaching individuals about learning in and out of school. It states, “game designers can make worlds where people can have meaningful new experiences, experiences that their place in life would never allow them to have or even experiences no human has ever had before. These experiences have the potential to make people smarter and more thoughtful” (pg. 29).
Poptropica allows for its players to have meaningful experiences. Players can explore a large variety of islands that consist of different themes, educational values, and experiences. The tasks that must be completed in each world are those that the player would not find in the real world. This allows for the player to think outside of the box, which can make them smarter and more thoughtful.