Saturday, November 03, 2007

The important steppingstone that is What Video Games Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy

What Video Games Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy by James Paul Gee (which is accurately titled, but it's too long to type, so I'm going to abbreviate it as What Video Games... from here on) is an important book -- one of those books that I'll refer to (in all senses) time and time again. It is sure to be cited in numerous other books. (To be honest, I special ordered it because of its citation in Game Design Workshop, although maybe that's a false memory because I can't find the reference.)

However, although the seeds of many significant things are there, I think I wanted the book to be more than it is. It so whetted my appetite for a Grand Unified Fun Education Theory (my useless one-time acronym for today is GUFET, pronounced "guffit"), that when no GUFET emerged I felt let down. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Despite my disappointment that What Video Games... didn't solve my life, it resonates so much with me that I want to talk about it in several different genres: first, I feel like I ought to give it a brief review, both to summarize the main thrust and also give a useful preview to anyone else that might be interested in reading it. Secondly, I want to write a book report on it: the book makes fairly strong claims which can be argued with, extrapolated from, and so forth. Hm...that sounds more like I want to be in a discussion group or book club. Yeah, throw that in there too. And, at the moment being a math teacher, I want to translate the book's main points for people who care about teaching math but don't care about videogames at all. (As seen from the title, What Video Games... puts a space in the term "video games", but I don't.) I have questions about the applicability of some of Gee's ideas specifically to mathematics, and I'd like a specifically math-oriented book club to discuss those.

So, that should tell you I think it's a pretty good book, in the sense that it's chock full of provocative ideas.

I plan to do the "book review" part next, though all my half-baked ideas are subject to change by the time they're, uh, full-baked.

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Sarah said...

To paraphrase Kelly Kapur from The Office, "Book Report, Book Report, Book Report At Lunch!"