Marc Prensky, Video Games, and Inquiry-Based Learning

This is another breif excerpt from my Prensky material, written last week…

The potential for games to offer opportunities for inquiry appears in Prensky’s work. According to Prensky (2001), the digital natives, or the games generation, prefer “random access vs. step-by-step” (p. 54) instructions, and feel constrained when required to follow a single path or thought instead of being allowed to make their own connections (p. 54-55). They also prefer “active vs. passive” (p. 59) learning in which they learn by experimentation. Prensky suggests that well-designed games provide an interactive environment which allows digital natives to learn in this way, and which adapts to their needs, allowing them to remain in a flow state of optimal learning (p. 106). While a game will include the structure of rules, goals, and objectives, it can also offer interaction and individualized feedback in ways that classrooms often do not (p. 119). This is because good games will keep “a constant focus on the player experience” (p. 134) and remain “highly adaptive [in order to] be fun for a variety of players” (p. 135). Perhaps most important, a good game “includes exploration and discovery” (p. 136).

When explaining the value of complex games for learning, Prensky (2005) stressed the “number of choices of decisions a player must make in the game” (p. 10), especially in contrast to classrooms, where “the time between decisions can often be measured in hours” (p. 10).

Ultimately, Prensky (2001) suggested that future players will be allowed even greater freedom in determining the direction of their individual inquiries, because “we will create the games we want” (p. 405).

“We will have the ability to set enormous amounts of parameters, from who we are, to where the game happens, to who the players and opponents are, to how much challenge we want that day. In addition, the games will learn about us as we play, and adapt on the fly to what we enjoy. We will be able to take any perspective and viewpoint we choose. We will input our own individuality and creativity into our games as we do into our houses and clothes. In this sense, we will all design our own games.” ( Prensky 2001, p. 405)

Thanks for reading.


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