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VWN Product Reviews: How Computer Games help Children Learn

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"Shaffer's book points out forcefully a paradigm of future schooling: to better prepare our kids for a globally competitive world, we have to bring the thinking, practices, and cultures of various professions into school learning. With convincing examples of simulated professional games that can integrate learning, working, and playing, he proves that this is feasible."
?Tak-Wai Chan, National Central University, Taiwan


Starting out from chapter 1 as a patriotically American book, calling for a wake-up call, ?How Computer Games help Children Learn? might be glossed over by many educators, yet its message applies equally to any country.

It opens on a report from the US national Academies of Science and Learning showcasing that workers across the board now face competition around the globe, who are just a mouse click and teleconference connection away. Facing that sort of competition it makes sense to use every advantage to prepare kids for the world of work.

Using that angle as a springboard, the book launches into the use of computer games and simulations, to replicate the situations an adult. That is to say, not edugames that are dry and boring, with all the fun of a PowerPoint slideshow, but putting into complex simulations, and simple fun games, the same base concepts for success that are found in the wider world.

The book does utilise a number of case studies and examples both in game and simulation. Their number and scope is limited, mostly because there is still so little material to draw upon, but still, the tome does manage to bring its point across.

"Deep learning, technical learning, learning that leads to the ability to innovate: these are the most important natural resources in our global high-tech world. Will our children be able to compete with kids in China and India? Shaffer shows us how to mine the potential of video game technologies to transform learning at home, in communities, and in schools."
?James Paul Gee, University of Wisconsin-Madison, author of What Video Games Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy

 

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