(Self-) Educational Effects of Computer Gaming Cultures

(Self-) Educational Effects of Computer Gaming Cultures

Johannes Fromme (University of Magdeburg, Germany), Benjamin Jörissen (University of Magdeburg, Germany) and Alexander Unger (University of Magdeburg, Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-195-9.ch501
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Abstract

The goal of this chapter is to emphasize a certain notion of self-induced education, to discuss it in the context of digital games and to provide the means for assessing digital games as well as to give hints on their educational use. In the first section, the concept of “self-education” is introduced and distinguished against less complex learning phenomena. The second section discusses and analyses the different layers of “educational space” inherent to gaming software, providing the analytical means for the further sections. The third section presents and analyses educational aspects of single-player games, while the fourth section adds the socio-cultural impacts implied in multi-player communities. In conclusion, a synopsis is given, which sums up the main educational dimensions and connects them to aspects and analytical criteria, allowing a pedagogical assessment of digital games.
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Learning Vs. “Self Education”

According to the latest report of the Council of Science and Public Health [CSAPH] (2007), about 70 to 90% of North American youth play digital games. The broad dissemination and great popularity of computer and video games have made digital gaming part of everyday culture, especially—although not exclusively—for children and youth (also see Entertainment Software Association [ESA], 2007). It is therefore not really astonishing that some people are considering the possibilities of taking advantage of this development by adapting and applying digital games for training or instructional purposes. And there are some encouraging results, too. For example, “video games have been shown to have beneficial effects as learning aids within the health care sector” (CSAPH, 2007, p. 3). However, while considerable attention is being paid to this instrumental approach—for example, using digital games for pedagogical purposes—the informal educational relevance of entertaining games is barely ever mentioned.

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