I promised to get back to you with some more impressions about the SURF Onderwijsdagen 2008. On day 1 I joined a very interesting presentation by Willem-Jan Renger from Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht. He had the disadvantage of being the closing session of the day, before the reception and dinner. Nevertheless, he did an amazing job. A very lively, humoristic way of presentation. I was attracted by the title: "designing education for the netgeneration: the gaming mindset". During the first part of his presentation Renger argued that we shouldn't look at the "netgeneration" in the strict sense of the word. There is more and more debate going on whether we can talk about a generation (in terms of age) at all. It's about new literacy, or digital literacy if you like. However, this is not necessary age-related. The digital divide is present across generations, but also across different social classes. Youngsters who are not in a position where there parents can afford having a computer, PS3, Wii, iPhone, iPod, etc. can also be on the 'wrong' side of the digital divide.
Henry Jenkins published a whitepaper about models and frameworks for new media literacy. It's important to acknowledge the media skills.
But what about the gaming mindset for education? Renger thinks a lot of people have a narrow, biased view on the role of games. It's only fun, you can't learn from it, or in some occasions is even considered 'bad'. When using gamedesign for education it's important to consider the end goals you want to achieve. An interesting remark was that you can even have analogous education, but still use game principles in your design. It's about lean forward, taking control as a learner. You need to design the behavior of the 'player', what can he do, which rules are available, how do you create a challenge? The main issue is to create a challenge that is not too difficult, nor too easy.
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