How Computer Games Help Children Learn


This book looks at how particular video and computer games--such as Digital Zoo, The Pandora Project, SodaConstructor, and more--can help teach our children and students to think like doctors, lawyers, engineers, urban planners, journalists, and other professionals. In the process, new "smart games" will give them the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in a changing world.

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This book looks at how particular video and computer games--such as Digital Zoo, The Pandora Project, SodaConstructor, and more--can help teach our children and students to think like doctors, lawyers, engineers, urban planners, journalists, and other professionals. In the process, new "smart games" will give them the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in a changing world.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Shaffer offers practical advice to assist parents and educators to respond to his call to radically transform an increasingly outdated educational system..."—Barry Joseph, Online Leadership Director, Global Kids
 "This totally enchanting book shows what education in the 21st century could look like if we are willing to expand our notions of learning in ways that foster productive inquiry and design…An extremely readable book that should be on the bookshelf of anyone who cares about having schools that help young people prepare to compete in the global economy."—John Seely Brown, Former Chief Scientist of Xerox Corporation and Director of its Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), Senior Fellow, Annenberg Center, USC, and co-author, The Social Life of Information and The Only Sustainable Edge
"Beautifully written...How Computer Games Help Children Learn breaks new ground in exciting ways. What a treat! A book about the development of innovative thinking that is refreshingly innovative...A tour de force."—Deborah Lowe Vandell, Chair, Department of Education, University of California, Irvine
"You may have asked yourself if computer games are destroying the minds of our nation’s children. How Computer Games Help Children Learn shows that the exact opposite is true. Parents, educators, and computer game makers take note: by combining years of research and his front-line classroom experiences, Shaffer makes a cogent and compelling argument for the educational power of intelligently crafted games that can serve as tools to help children think and learn about real world problems and their solutions."—Michael McCormick, Senior Designer, Backbone Entertainment, and Lead Designer of SimCity™ 4
"Shaffer's book moves from vivid case studies and accessible accounts of key ideas from the learning sciences to practical advice on how parents can help their children learn more from the games they play. This book represents the logical next step in a conversation started by James Paul Gee's What Video Games Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy and Steven Johnson's Everything Bad Is Good For You."—Henry Jenkins, Director, Comparative Media Studies Program, MIT
"This well-written and important book will introduce parents and teachers to a radical idea: video games can be good for children. When children play games like Sim City or The Oregon Trail, they learn about urban planning or the American West in spite of themselves. But these games are just the tip of the iceberg; Shaffer describes a wide range of fascinating new learning games that are just now emerging...Because these games give children the chance to creatively manipulate a virtual world, they can teach creativity and innovation, abilities that are more important than ever in today's competitive global economy…Shaffer advises parents how to pick out a good learning game, how to play it with your children, and how to make sure they are learning from it."—R. Keith Sawyer, author of Group Genius: The Creative Power of Collaboration
"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
“This groundbreaking book raises fundamental issues concerning the goals of education and highlights the need for innovative thinkers in the 21st century. Written in a clear, lucid, and direct manner, Shaffer makes his ideas easily accessible to professional as well as lay readers. The book will benefit educators, school administrators, policy makers, and, most importantly, parents.”—Yam San Chee, Associate Professor, Learning Sciences & Technologies Academic Group & Learning Sciences Lab, National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University

"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
"Like Dewey, Piaget, and Papert before him, Shaffer challenges us to rethink learning in a new age. He uses vivid examples--backed by solid research--to show what education should look like in the 21st century."--Kurt D. Squire, Assistant Professor of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Game Designer

"A must read for anyone who cares about learning. Game designers depend on having millions of people voluntarily learn more than anyone would dare put into a school curriculum. So studying games--how they are designed and how they are played--is one of the best sources of insight about learning, and Shaffer is an excellent guide to making the most of it."--Seymour Papert, Professor Emeritus, Media and Education Technology, MIT Media Lab

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230602526
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 1/22/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Meet the Author

David Williamson Shaffer is Associate Professor of Learning Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Game Scientist at the Academic Advanced Distributed Learning Co-Laboratory. A former teacher, curriculum developer, teacher-trainer, and game designer, he has taught in the United States and with the U.S. Peace Corps in Nepal. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin.

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Table of Contents

Foreword: Seeing the Future--James Paul Gee
• Introduction
• Epistemology: The Debating Game
• Knowledge: The Digital Zoo
• Skills: Escher's World
• Values: The Pandora Project
• Identity:
• Beyond the Industrial School: The Future of Education and How We Get There

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