Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Is there room for games in the workplace or classroom?

In the Innovate article, there was mention of using video games in two different ways- in the workplace and the classroom.

Foreman talked about using video games to train people for the workplace. He called these “epistemic” games that would teach people the “skills, habits, and understandings of a post-industrial society”. I would think these would not be as effective as opposed to professional training from actual employees, but maybe I am wrong. If these programs were to be implemented online, who would have access to them? Would you have to pay for them, or could anyone with internet access gain these skills provided by the games? Also, what implications would this have on our workforce? Would we have more workers that aren’t as well trained in their duties or would their skills actually be more effectively acquired through games as opposed to traditional training?

One example he used was simSchool for helping teachers prepare for classroom settings and decision making, but what about for professions that require more strict education? (For example, a doctor) Should we be teaching med students through online games instead of using lecture based classroom settings?

As a personal note, I got a Nintendo DS for Christmas (that I quickly returned) with a veterinarian game. The game led you through a case in which you had to make a diagnosis based on the symptoms then you had to perform surgery to treat the patient. I thought it would be really cool but it was confusing, boring, and slow. Maybe these would be beneficial for young people interested in the field but not for older students.

Foreman also talked about using video games in the classroom. To me, there are pros and cons for this. In one way, the games could spark interest in subjects kids would not normally be interested in, but they also could lead to decreased social skills in kids. When we were kids, we learned by reading and interaction but nowadays kids are using technology to learn. When you become a parent, would you want your kids to learn by computer games or the ways we learned? Personally I think games should be used but only as a supplement to the curriculum and not as a basis of learning or teaching.

Also, another issue that comes up is creating or manipulating already made games to serve educational purposes. Should we create all new ones or manipulate the ones we already have?


Lucy said...

I agree with you on some level about whether using games to train employees and for education in school is really a good thing. I think you bring up an interesting point when you ask should games replace lectures in school or forms of community in the work force. I personally find it very scary that all forms of verbal communication seem to be breaking down. With the digital age it has become easier to do things online than have one on one communication.I can see the benefits of this new form of communication, however i am very curious to see how this new modes of technology transform the way we interact with each and with others around the world. Any Imput?

Caroline said...

I agree it's a pretty scary idea that verbal communication may be replaced by online games and technology. I honestly don't think that an interactive game could be more beneficial than the "real thing." Amanda, your veterinarian game reminded me of this guy I met on Second Life, who, he said, creates online learning modules (ie. powerplants) that company use to train employees. But I do not see how performing an action on a computer can transfer knowledge of actually doing that action in "real life." Similarly, how can performing surgery on a game transfer that "skill" to real life, when you're just pushing buttons on the game vs. cutting and sewing, etc. in real life? I am skeptical about this idea... Perhaps one can gain a general knowledge about diagnosis or symptoms, but the action itself, I'm not so sure...