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Social Networking and Digital Games

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using the technology of today, in the classroom today

The Instructional Power of

and How Teachers Can Leverage Them

Eric Klopfer, Scot Osterweil, Jennifer Groff, Jason Haas an Education Arcade paper

The Education Arcade
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Eric Klopfer, Scot Osterweil, Jennifer Groff, Jason Haas
© copyright 2009 What is good learning? That may be a subjective question. But it’s likely that many educators would give answers that fall in the same ballpark… …students collaborating and discussing ideas, possible solutions… …project-based learning, designed around real world contexts… …connecting with other students around the world, on topics of study… …immersing students in a learning experience that allows them to grapple with a problem, gaining higher-order thinking skills from pursuing the solution… To many educators, these notions are music to their ears. Would it seem terribly strange then to hear that students indeed are doing these things regularly outside of their classrooms? While Timmy or Susie may not be running home from school saying, “What fun, deeply-engaging learning experience can we do today?”, they are engaging with new technologies that provide them with the same opportunities. Every day, many students are spending countless hours immersed in popular technologies—such as Facebook or MySpace, World of Warcraft, or Sim City—which at first glance may seem like a waste of time, and brain cells. But these genres of technologies—Social Networking, Digital Gaming, and Simulations—deserve a second, deeper, look at what’s actually going on. ~~~ When you hear ”MySpace” or “World of Warcraft,” what do they bring to mind for you? What emotions do you associate with them? Have you heard of them before? Your students have, and they almost certainly have strong opinions about them....

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