Situated Language and Learning

I had a very tough time getting through this reading. I have probably played a video game of a total of 5 times in my life. As a child I never owned any gaming system or really ever played them with friends. Those 5 times were only played as an adult while baby sitting so relating to this reading was very hard for me. I really don’t enjoy the way that Gee writes or tries to relate everything about reading to video games. ( I get thats the point of his writing) Also, the fact that his examples just go on and on.

With that said, there are some points I could dig through that I do understand. The first being that kids these days can navigate there way through video games even though they cannot read. Most children do not read the directions to a video game, they just start to play and learn as they go. I believe Gee is relating this to reading as students need to be “embodied” in the reading in order to learn how to read. I guess I can agree with that on some level but still feel that the “directions” for reading need to be taught in order for students to be successful. This seemed like a very one size fits all kind of generalization.

Secondly, at the beginning of chapter 5 he discusses how we can have good learning from good video games. At first I thought about this very negatively. But then I read further and began to see his point. Children like the video games that are “hard”, engaging and take more time for them to complete. No child stays engaged in a short, quick and easy video game. “Shortening and dumbing games down is not an option, since most avid players don’t want short or easy games.” This is exactly what we should NOT do when teaching our struggling readers. Good teaching should be engaging and challenging. 

Another thing that was stated in chapter 5 that I feel very “grey” about is the statement that computer games have an advantage of motivation and engagement. Yes this is true. But it shouldn’t be that video games have this and teachers don’t. Our goal here then would be how can we integrate that same engagement and motivation into our classrooms. This should really be the goal of teachers today. How can we use what our students know and are interested in, such as video games, and apply this to our own teaching. I think that all the technology that we have access to today should work to our advantage and be much more predominate in our schools.

One question I am still left with is the idea of space versus community. After reading a whole chapter on it with the example being about AoM I am still pretty lost.

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