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Science Report Gives Kids Nod to Continue Gaming

Posted Tue, Sep 09, 2008 by Medeor

Next they will tell us that chips are good for us too!

Yet another study heralding the advantages of gaming has been rolled out and this time Wired Magazine is providing us the short and sweet version so we don't have to slog through thousands of pages of results. In the article How Videogames Blind Us With Science, Wired tracked down Constance Steinkuehler, author of a report titled "Scientific Habits of Mind in Virtual Worlds" that discussed how kids who hated science used complex problem solving techniques in their gaming. It's not the science they hate apparently, it's the method they oppose:

"One of the reasons kids get bored by science is that too many teachers present it as a fusty collection of facts for memorization. This is precisely wrong. Science isn't about facts. It's about the quest for facts -- the scientific method, the process by which we hash through confusing thickets of ignorance. It's dynamic, argumentative, collaborative, competitive, filled with flashes of crazy excitement and hours of drudgework, and driven by ego: Our desire to be the one who figures it out, at least for now. It's dramatic and nutty and fun. "

My guess is that this will come as no surprise to many of you, but it is yet another article that will be published in the Journal of Science Education and Technology so expect some hoopla when it hits the stands. No gaming article is complete without a World of Warcraft reference, and this is no different. In her research Constance found thousands of World of Warcraft discussion threads where the participants were using scientific-type problem solving for the rulesets of the games. So once again, we are vindicated, do you feel better? I sure do, but I'm still making my kids do their science homework.


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