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Serious Games And Generation G: Rewiring The Way We Learn

Via: Educause Connect - Generation G and the 21st Century

The proceeding of EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative Spring 2007 Focus Session on Immersive Learning Environments: New Paths to Interaction and Engagement, includes the hand-out for Richard Van Eck's fantastic presentation "Generation G and the 21st Century.

In this presentation, Richard Van Eck, Associate Professor and Graduate Director of the Instructional Design & Technology program at the University of North Dakota, discusses the theory behind the effectiveness of games in teaching and learning and what this will mean for schools.


How Technology Has Changed Our Learners

Right at the beginning of the presentation he demonstrates how schools and institutions as a whole are out of touch with the way technology has changed learners.

Richard Van Eck defines technology as "what becomes available AFTER you were a teenager":

✓ radio and the telephone for many born in the 20s and 30s
TV for those born in the 50-60’s
✓ Internet for many born in the 80-90’s.
But for those born in the 90s and beyond...
✓ NOTHING is technology yet them because they are comfortable with all of it!

This generation is absolutely saturated with media and stimuli from dozens of sources at once. Because Generation G loves games and gaming, it is easy to dismiss them as flighty, spoiled, unwilling to work… but the truth is they actually possess the 21st century skills.

Generation G grew up getting awards for 8th place (or just for showing up), with first grade graduation ceremonies, expecting the environment to adapt to them and promotions after six weeks.

Gamers & 21st Century Skills

"Gamers have amassed thousands of hours of rapidly analyzing new situations, interacting with characters they don’t really know, and solving problems quickly and independently.”

Gamers are Team Players

When presented with the statement, ‘I find people more stimulating than anything else’, non gamers express the lowest average need for others’ companionship at work and those with frequent gaming experience express this need most often.

Gamers Live in an N Dimensional World

The tools we are comfortable with--linear models, printed spreadsheets, single point estimates, and rules of thumb--simply can’t guide us through the complex, volatile and sometimes unknowable factors that now drive many decisions, or should.

Generation G already used to thinking in these ways--really living in dataspace. Cutting edge analytic tools that look a lot more like video games than office suites have already helped...Using this technology is a purely digital, interactive experience. There IS no hard copy to fall back on...”

Impractical & dangerous to dismiss them

✓ 80 million Generation G
✓ Same number as boomers
✓ Will be 10 million more jobs than workers by 2010
✓ Industry & schools have no CHOICE but to find ways to channel Millennial strengths and adapt the work environment