Games For Critical Thinking

Games For Critical Thinking-53
The NYU team found that in just one year, the average Quest student in grades eight to ten showed as much growth on the exam as college students did on a similar performance-based test across four years. Quest students learned skills like problem solving at a much faster rate than students in college.Additionally, Arum has said that the school is adept at building soft skills, such as design thinking, along with collaboration and critical thinking.Yet even though the school is zoned for a wealthy area of Manhattan, where achievement is highly prized, standardized test scores were nothing special.

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They make us want to discover new things, they provide immediate feedback and they spell out goals in a clear way.

Often, they feed on our competitive side and when we do well, they provide some sort of reward—even if it’s just a smiley face at the end of a level.

“We expect games to be spaces where we fail,” Salen says.

“It's actually fun to get better at something in a game when it's structured in the right way.” Essentially, Salen contends that games are just systems that put a stack of difficult problems in front of players, and then challenge them to figure out how to solve them.

Thus, learning objectives were reframed as quests—a staple of many role playing games—challenging kids to design a safe transport into the earth’s crust during science class or simulate court cases during civics.

Socratic Seminars, a group discussion technique popular in English classes, were turned into Socratic Smackdowns, where students earned points based on how well they structured arguments.As anyone who’s ever spent hours hunched over Candy Crush can attest, there’s something special about games.Sure they’re fun, but they can also be absorbing, frustrating, challenging and complex.Research has shown our brains are “wired for pleasure,” and that games are an effective way to learn because they simulate adventure and keep our brains engaged and happy. In an era consumed with teaching 21st-century soft skills, are games any good at building critical thinking or collaboration skills?The answer is likely yes, but, much like games themselves, it’s complicated.If it does have to do with conditions, then how games are used for learning—and the context teachers place them in—might be just as important as the games themselves.But make no mistake: game design is very important for learning.Research hasn’t shown much evidence that games—in general—lead to increased learning outcomes.Even getting good at a game is no guarantee those skills will transfer to other tasks in our lives.There’s another reason why games can be so good at teaching certain soft skills, such as resilience, problem solving and collaboration: They put us in a state of play.That, in turn, makes taking risks and failing—acts we typically try to avoid—part of the process, and even the excitement.


Comments Games For Critical Thinking

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