Teaching Commons > Events > Teaching & Learning Conference > Playing with a Purpose (2012)
In his keynote presentation, Professor James Paul Gee argued that good video games incorporate good principles of both teaching and learning. Furthermore, they do so in ways that portend the future of teaching and learning in society, though with important issues centered on equity and access. He argued that video games do not teach via a game (as software) alone but via the game combined with certain ways of socially organizing learning outside the game, in what he calls “passionate affinity spaces.” Digital literacies—of which games are a part—operate in many ways like traditional literacy, since both are technologies for making meaning and solving problems. Both are capable of doing good or doing harm and have good or bad effects only in specific contexts of use.
James Paul Gee is the Mary Lou Fulton Presidential Professor of Literacy Studies at Arizona State University. He is a member of the National Academy of Education. His book
Social Linguistics and Literacies (4th Ed., 2011) was one of the founding documents in the formation of the “New Literacy Studies,” and his most recent books have dealt with video games, language, and learning.
What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy (2nd Ed., 2007) argues that good video games are designed to enhance learning through effective learning principles supported by research in the Learning Sciences. Situated Language and Learning (2004) places video games within an overall theory of learning and literacy and shows how they can help us in thinking about the reform of schools. His other recent books include: Good Video Games and Good Learning: Collected Essays (2007); How to Do Discourse Analysis (2011); Women and Gaming: The Sims and 21st Century Learning (2010) and Language and
Learning in the Digital Age (2011), both written with Elizabeth Hayes.