Marc Prensky, Video Games, and a Context for Learning

This is something of an experiment to see if this is a satisfying way to share my writing. I am also hoping that by returning to the blog I will have more success finding my voice in my formal academic writing… or at least, finding it again. Currently I feel terribly constrained by my topic and the format.

The following is from a section on Marc Prensky’s work that I wrote last week… I was shooting for brevity, but may have lost something in terms of the commentary. I’d welcome comments.

Prensky’s theories support the notion that video and computer games can help provide a context for learning. In his discussion of why games are engaging, Prensky (2001) highlighted several relevant concepts; games have rules, goals, outcomes/feedback, conflict/competition/challenge/opposition, problem solving, interaction, representation, and story (p. 106), including character (p. 134). Many of these elements reappear in his discussion of what makes a game (pp. 118-127). Regarding goals specifically, Prensky suggests elsewhere that the goals must be “worthwhile” (2005a, p. 9), or specifically “worth it to [students]” (2005, p. 4), to be effective. When he covers game design, he considers the way in which a game must be balanced so that “the game is neither too hard nor too easy at any point” (Prensky, 2001, p. 133). A well-designed game, particularly an RPGs or MMORPG, can also include elements of exploration and discovery as well (p. 136).

In his projection of the future of digital games, Prensky (2001) predicts that games will be “much more realistic, experiential, and immersive” and include “more and better storytelling and characters” (p. 404).

Thanks for reading. It’s back to writing about James Paul Gee for me.


PS, I realize now that I don’t have the references ready to post yet. The 2001 is the book Digital Game Based Learning and the others are from articles available on his site.