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Can't stand the 8-bit blockiness of Minecraft, but seeing my 11-yr old host his own server on a laptop whilst Skyping a 'colleague' in Sweden on his tablet I can't doubt the value of the game to kids! What's especially fascinating, in relation to the 'independent problem solving' that concerns Vygotsky, is that young players create the very problems they go on to solve. It seems like a completely self-contained learning environment. (The only 'problem' that Notch and co built into the game is having to evade creepers, but in fact I never see my son addressing that problem!
As a teacher and a gamer I found this interesting on two levels. I'm interested in the ethics of gaming, and in the role video games can play in exploring freewill and determinism with students. After engaging with this post can I enter it as "professional reading" on my GTC NQT profile? ;-)
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Sep 4, 2014