[Please forgive my third reference in three posts to the blog Play the Past, but I find their work immensely useful for our class.]

Ostensibly, our class is not so much about videogames but about motivation in learning. Videogames happen to be the pièce de résistance for motivation amongst young people, thus our course of study. Even so, what we have failed to discuss in class is making education more playful. This idea was hinted at WAAAAY back in our first reading, but we have not really returned to it in force. Our discussion of the reading responses in the last class gestured toward this idea, and I think that if Barry had his way, we’d all approach the class in a playful manner.

Andrew D. Devenney wrote about playful historical thinking in his recent guest post on Play the Past, and his almost complete abandon regarding play in formal classroom settings mirrors many of the things that we are attempting to do in this class.

For starters, the competitive nature of some of the assignments rings a bell, both in terms of our experience but also in terms of gameplay. Second, Devenney’s idea of collective learning and assessment hints at the importance of crowd-sourced knowledge (e.g. Wikipedia) in 21st century society, but I think that Barry has yet to employ this type of radical play within class. Third, the creation of personalized representations of course knowledge manifests itself weekly in our class, and our final projects should also be of a kind as well.

Videogames should not just teach us about how to motivate students; it should also teach us about fun and novelty. Even though the deepest analysis failed to win the reading reaction voting every week, that doesn’t invalidate the winner. In fact, it should tell us something about learning that may be just as important. If you can’t entertain us, then maybe you don’t have anything important to say.

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