This week in class we discussed how technology can be used as a tool to promote learning in the classroom, especially in regards to computer use. Can video games be used as a tool for education as well? The nyt article Learning by Playing: Video Games in the Classroom by Sarah Corbett, explores how a New York City school called Quest to Learn incorporates video game use in daily lesson plans designed for their students. Quest to Learn celebrated its two year anniversary in 2010. The school was designed to ensure that learning is fun and interactive.
This is being done by applying knowledge learned in the class into real life through the action of playing and creating games. The vision of Quest to Learn was created mainly by Katie Salen a professional game designer and Robert Torres, a learning scientist who is a former school principal. Katie spent two years planning Quest to Learn. Katie’s plan was funded by a research grant from the MacArthur Foundation, which is “pouring $50 million into exploring the possibilities of digital media and learning in a variety of settings nationwide (Corbett,2010). ”
The school’s curriculum has similar features of other schools such as daily homework assignments, reading and writing exercises that do not involve electronics. However there are other elements that make the school specifically unique, like students engage in recording podcasts, blog, film and they edit videos, and play video games of course. Students also spend much time creating their own games that range from board to computer games.
Learning should be designed around the wants and needs of students. According to Corbett “ Quest to Learn is organized specifically around the idea that digital games are central to the lives of today’s children and also increasingly, as their speed and capability grow, powerful tools for intellectual exploration (Corbett, 2010).”