I don’t think I already shared this bit that serves as a transition from my section on Presnky to my section on Gee.
In his review of James Paul Geeâ€™s What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy, Marc Prensky (2003a) wrote that Gee â€œdid something that is extremely unusual, courageous, admirable, and potentially quite helpful to a great many [of his readers]â€ (p. 3). Though he criticized Geeâ€™s use of jargon, Prensky was â€œa very big supporter of Geeâ€™s overall message that games are powerful learning toolsâ€ (p. 3). Gee, like Prensky, was also interested in the concept of â€œhard funâ€ perpetuated by Seymour Papert (p. 165) and his work provided a rich discussion focused on principles of learning which good video games often exemplify, but which many classrooms do not.
Tonight, I’ve written the following transition from Gee to Aldrich, which recalls Prensky again.
In Digital Game-Based Learning, Marc Prensky (2001) shared a phone conversation in which Clark Aldrich pointed out that â€œthe online gaming worldâ€¦ is a self-generated, well-served, highly active, thriving community of learners â€œ (p. 222). Prensky, like Aldrich, was concerned with whether simulations might be useful for game based learning, but questioned whether simulations were actually games (p. 210). After discussing the relationship between the two, Prensky offered advice on how to make a simulation a game (p. 215). Prensky also quoted Aldrich as consistently telling clients to â€œget more gamelikeâ€ in their simulation designs (p. 286). Four years later, Aldrich (2004) wrote Simulations and the Future of Learning, in which he in turn cited Marc Prenskyâ€™s metaphor of digital natives and digital immigrants (p. 218). In the introduction of his following book, Learn by Doing, Aldrich (2005) was still drawing on Prenskyâ€™s ideas in his discussion of how â€œstudents are changingâ€ (p. xxix).
In contrast, Aldrich (2005) seemed more critical of James Geeâ€™s â€œwide-ranging hypotheses, organized pre-proof, established by reasonâ€¦ WHOPPERs for shortâ€ (p. xxxiv), though he did not mention Gee by name. Aldrich himself was not an academic and proudly declared his lack of desire to ever be one (p. 91). Still, as an experienced practitioner and researcher he offered a powerful vision of what the world would be like â€œif e-learning truly workedâ€ (Aldrich, 2004, p. 1-2) described the conception, design, building, and marketing of â€œa new-generation educational simulationâ€ (p. 9), and advocated for new genres computer games and simulations, such as the interpersonal genre typified by The Sims and Virtual Leader, in order to present cyclical, linear, and systems content (p. 64). Considering the games or simulations debate, he suggested that â€œit is more productive to think about the distinct elements, namely: Simulation elements, Game elements, [and] Pedagogical elementsâ€ (Aldrich, 2005, p. 80)
Perhaps a reader will find these connections valuable. :)