Monday, January 28, 2008

The kids are alright

Here I continue discussion of readings for Instructional Simulations & Games, IDT 545, http://www.idt.und.edu/index.html

Beck, J. C., & Wade, M. (2006). The Kids are Alright: How the Gamer Generation is Changing the Workplace (Paperback). Boston: Harvard Business School. 978-1422104354


Having read the introduction and chapter 1 of this book and skimmed the rest here are my thoughts. The authors believe that the "gamer generation" is a distinct group, more distinct than generations X and Y. They have been shaped by playing games and as they enter the workplace, they will think and behave differently to the generations that preceded them.

They make the same assertion as Prensky that their brains are actually wired differently.

Prensky has been criticised for this and other bold claims by

Kerr http://learningevolves.wikispaces.com/nativesImmigrants
Siemens http://connectivism.ca/blog/2007/10/digital_natives_and_immigrants.html
Mc Kenzie http://fno.org/nov07/nativism.html
Livingstone http://learninggames.wordpress.com/category/twitch-speed/
and
http://learninggames.wordpress.com/2008/01/23/google-generation-is-a-myth/
and others http://knowledgegarden.usq.edu.au//tiki-index.php?page_id=622

They base much of their assertions on a survey of 2500 Americans which asked 16 questions. The survey does indicate that those who describe themselves as game players do hold different attitudes to those who don't. They are more competitive, more motivated, better networkers and bigger risk takers. What the survey does not indicate is causality. Did the games cause these traits or are people with these traits more attracted to games? I am unconvinced.

The book was published in 2006 but written earlier. It possibly suffers from the delays of publication. For example, there no discussion of World of Warcraft (that I noticed). Some of the thinking may have groundbreaking when written but it has been eclipsed by more recent web based discussion.

Other comments,
they do not clearly define the term "gamer generation",
there are some slippery terms, eg 92% have regular access to games while only 80% live in houses with computers
"the gaming experience is basically solitary" try to sell that to a WoW player!
"gamers learned how to manipulate electronic information" my links above dispute this assertion, the gamer generation is not good at this.
"gamers, who intuitively understand each other" really?

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5 Comments:

Anonymous Daniel Livingstone said...

"gamers, who intuitively understand each other"

Thanks for picking out that quote, it's a doozy!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008 1:27:00 AM  
Blogger Tony Forster said...

Richard Van Eck has justified the inclusion of this book on the reading list for IDT545 along the lines that plausible assertions and folk truths do provide a lot of material for testing and discussion.

That is, put aside for the moment whether there is adequate justification for the book's assertion that kids brains are wired differently as a result of playing games .

Consider instead how you would measure this rewiring or whether you would change teaching if this assertion was true. Or how you would assess whether your modification of your teaching was actually delivering results.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008 2:20:00 PM  
Blogger Tony Forster said...

Thanks Bill for showing this commentary on the 21st century brain by Gary Stager
http://www.stager.org/blog/2008/02/i-love-nothing-more-than-watching-wolf.html

Wednesday, February 06, 2008 1:44:00 PM  
Blogger Tony Forster said...

More on digital natives:
http://learninggames.wordpress.com/2008/02/12/two-wrongs/

Wednesday, February 13, 2008 3:18:00 PM  
Blogger Tony Forster said...

"The assessment shows that students are adept at using the basic elements
of information technology but may need more knowledge and skill in
applications that involve creating, analysing or transforming information"
http://www.acer.edu.au/enews/0801_ICT.html

Thursday, February 21, 2008 2:42:00 PM  

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