Gaming as Teaching Tool
ANAHEIM — All work and no play makes a dull syllabus.
That is what Sarah Smith-Robbins, director of emerging technologies at the Indiana University at Bloomington, told a somewhat wary audience here at the 2010 Educause conference on Thursday. “Games are absolutely the best way to learn,” she said. “They are superior to any other instructional model.”
Smith-Robbins prefaced her remarks by reminding the audience that she was taking an intentionally strong position in order to stoke debate. But she nevertheless argued that games — as simple as tag or as complex as World of Warcraft — can accomplish an array of teaching goals that more traditional pedagogy says it wants to achieve, but often does not.
“Fundamentally, school is already a game,” she said. “It’s just a really bad one. The rules are not clear. The system works better for some people than for others. Not everybody has the same resources at the beginning of the game. We don’t start on a level playing field or with a shared goal.”