Connected Gaming: What Making Video Games Can Teach Us about Learning and Literacy (The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Series on Digital Media and Learning)

Over the last decade, video games designed to teach academic content have multiplied. Students can learn about Newtonian physics from a game or prep for entry into the army. An emphasis on the instructionist approach to gaming, however, has overshadowed the constructionist approach, in which students learn by designing their own games themselves. In this book, Yasmin Kafai and Quinn Burke discuss the educational benefits of constructionist gaming — coding, collaboration, and creativity — and the move from “computational thinking” toward “computational participation.” Kafai and Burke point to recent developments that support a shift to game making from game playing, including the game industry’s acceptance, and even promotion, of “modding” and the growth of a DIY culture. Kafai and Burke show that student-designed games teach not only such technical skills as programming but also academic subjects. Making games also teaches collaboration, as students frequently work in teams to produce content and then share their games with in class or with others online. Yet Kafai and Burke don’t advocate abandoning instructionist for constructionist approaches. Rather, they argue for a more comprehensive, inclusive idea of connected gaming in which both making and gaming play a part.

About the Author

Yasmin B. Kafai is Professor of Learning Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania. She is the coeditor of Beyond Barbie and Mortal Kombat: New Perspectives on Gender and Gaming and coauthor of Connected Play: Tweens in a Virtual World (both published by the MIT Press). Quinn Burke is Assistant Professor in the Department of Teacher Education at the College of Charleston. Kafai and Quinn are also coauthors of Connected Code: Why Children Need to Learn Programming (MIT Press).

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