Ted (Ted Talks) and Gabe Zichermann. September 21 2012. Gabe Zichermann’s Talk, “Changing the Game in Education”. TEDxBerlin 2012 “Future 3.0”: October 28, 2015.
Ted talks is a nonprofit, global community that hold conference about variety topics ever since 1984. Through this well known and credible organization, many inspirational innovations are delivering to the public. In this video, Gabe Zichermann, an author, public speaker and expert in gamification field, is making his speech of how video games could help education. Some of Zichermann’s famous books are The Gamification Revolution (McGraw Hill, 2013), Gamification by Design (2011) and Game-Based Marketing (2010). Therefore, I consider this video as a credible source.
But humans are doing machines. We do. That’s our nature. We do, whether it’s in athletics, or in all of our beautiful artistic and kinesthetic glory, we do. And it turns out that there is a core biological reason why we do. And it’s an amazing little neurotransmitter called dopamine. Any time you challenge yourself to something in the world, anything at all, and you achieve that thing, your brain secretes a little bit of this beautiful chemical called dopamine. Challenge, achievement, aaah… pleasure.
Zichermann believes that human nature is learning through doing. Whenever one overcome a challenge, a neurotransmitter in our brain known as dopamine would release and results a sense of achievement, a pleasure and intriguing feeling to want to continue such work again. When playing games, a significant amount of dopamine, or happy chemical, are releasing. Based on this fact, Wyld proposes in his Developing the “Gamer Disposition”: The Key to Training and Learning with the Digital Native Generation May be “Serious Games”…Seriously a role playing type of game could be used to simulate and offer kids with practical learning experience about real life. Gamer disposition game, or gamification in general, coordinate the “fun” nature of games itself together with the complexity that gaming technology can handle to create a learning environment where kids are engaged in their learning voluntarily and efficiently. Incorporate well defined objectives and reward system, various quests and challenges, along with vivid, powerful graphical storyboard, gamer disposition knows exactly how to spike up these dopamine levels.
Our greatest crime is that we ask this resource to sit down in one place for eight hours a day and stare straight ahead and listen to people droning on and on and on, and maybe read some stuff and write some stuff. Sit down and pay attention, won’t you? But isn’t that fundamentally opposed to our nature as doers? Look, we wouldn’t ask somebody or expect somebody to learn how to play the drums by reading about it on a piece of paper.
Zichermann argues that making kids passively sit down and listen to lecture is against human nature. Only dealing with definition is not always going to be the best way to learn. Learning by doing is our instinct. That was how we learn to crawl, to walk, to talk. We learn from trials and failure. And that is also what Wyld is trying to propose in Gamer Disposition games, gamer disposition game is like a virtual world, or our second life. It designs to portray multi-level problems realistically in order to allow kids to do what they deem to be right, see the consequences of their decisions, then learn from their mistakes, make better choices and achieve their goals. Game based learning is more than just making their study time fun. It is about practically engaging kids’ thinking in a predefined concept and giving them to time, space to figure out the right course of actions.
One example that Zichermann used in his speech is Mr Pai and a third grade class in White Bear Lake elementary school, Minnesota. Mr Pai, who is unsatisfied with the current education pedagogy, proposed to the school board a controversial idea to replace the reading and math curriculum of his class with games, computers and Nintendo DS. After 18 weeks, he transformed this class full of failing third graders in math and reading to a mid-4th graders’ levels with this new way of teaching. This small example is a real evidence on how game based learning could be a feasible pedagogy. With a right guidance from educators, games can totally be used as the new teaching platform and learning medium, just like how papers and books had once been a revolutionary element to human literacy.