“Experts Defend Videogames’ Educational Role,” La Prensa’s article on a study from researchers at the Open University of Catalonia, caught my eye. What the researchers point to is the need for Ludoliteracy, an understanding of how video games work, what they teach and how they influence us as humans.
They point to the marginalization of video games in entertainment and make a case for an increased use of gaming in education. As someone who is grateful to have a Duolingo app on her phone to remember her “school French,” I can tell you that gaming does offer a lot of promise in what we think of as “education.”
The more relevant question, especially when it comes to young children, is: What are video games teaching as used now? Depending on the game, a child might be introduced to strategic thinking, but what is the context? If it is a gun battle, is s/he being acclimated to think of that as a “normal” environment? Since the adult is at least allowing the activity, if not actually introducing it, is the child taught that spending hours in a closed media environment is normal or even preferable to more sensory-based activity?
In short, video games (and all media, for that matter) already educate. We don’t think of that because they are classed as “entertainment.”
The question, which leads us back to literacy, is: how do we become intentional about what they teach?