Ali Carr-Chellman doesn’t have the strongest, tightest narrative or argument in her TED Talk on ‘Gaming to re-engage boys in learning’, but she does make some compelling points. In particular she highlights;
– the gender disparity around behavioural problem diagnoses and reactions
– the impact of a (growing!) absence of males from the primary school environment
– the marginalisation (or even exclusion) of children’s culture (she sees it as boy’s culture, but I think the same can be said of many cross-gender cultural interests… like gaming)
Her recommendations around incorporating ‘children’s culture’ into the classroom is a complete no-brainer, my only comment is that it still privileges the classroom – perhaps it’s time that we take the classroom into children’s culture?!
Again, her call for increased investmemt of focus and resources in gaming to capitalise on it’s educational potential is well founded. The same argument stands for investment in educational entertainment, something we seem to have got right here and there… but there’s still an awful lot of twaddle for kiddies on TV. Exactly how we make real change in the quality and power of education-focussed games is a tough one. Perhaps we will find that evolving tools and business modesl mean that we can get away from the very expensive publisher model that has created such high barriers to entry for game production to date.
An interesting extension of Carr-Chellman’s argument is that if we get gaming right and bring it into schools, perhaps we might spend a little more time thinking what more feminine gaming (educational and otherwise) might look like beyond unicorn raising and cake baking.