"Digital Game-Based Learning"
By Marc Prensky
McGraw-Hill, 442 pages, $29.95
Engaging: 5 Innovative: 5
Usefulness: 4 Visual Aids: 3
Marc Prensky may have set out to write a great book about digital game-based learning programs but he ended up writing a great book about the social anthropology of learning and the future of the workplace. Whether he intended to become a modern day Marshall McLuhan is not the point. He has done us a great favor.
The meat of this book comes early, in the chapters Prensky devotes to how learners have changed and why education and training have not. Every corporate trainer and schoolteacher in America, if not the world, should take a break right now and devour these fascinating and disturbing 50 pages. "Joystick Nation" and its educators will never be the same.
Mr. Henson's Muppets showed us 30 years ago that if one can keep a child's attention one can also educate that child. This simple truth was confirmed regarding adult learners recently with the broadcast of the third installment of Ken Burns? American trilogy, Jazz. Burns found a way to keep a fairly significant portion of American adults (and even some kids) awake and tuned into a program about a non-visual art form, of all things. We liked it so much we all went out and bought jazz recordings by the truckload.
Games and simulations of reality have a way of getting into the mind and improving whatever is in there. Is it any wonder, then, that at that point when I am most frustrated by this godforsaken computer, my 9-year-old son walks by, taps the keyboard, and all is well again?
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