More Videogame as Learning Tool Advocacy

"Three University of Wisconsin-Madison professors [...] explained the advantages of games over traditional teaching tools[...] Video games let their players step into new personas and explore alternatives. Not only that, but people can try to solve problems they?re not good at yet, get immediate feedback on the consequences and try again immediately.

[One of the professors] said the ability to explore right away makes games more engaging than textbooks or lectures. In schools, 'you have to read 500 pages of biology and then you get to do biology, Of course you only actually read 200. [A video] game allows you to perform before you?re competent.'"

Skills/knowlege that I have that I notice my non-gaming peers don't have? My mom has trouble driving on icy roads and visualizing the motion of traffics and crowds around her. If I glance behind me for a second, I can take a snapshot of how many people are behind me, where they are, and how fast they're walking. I can make sudden stops or changes of directions while carrying large backpacks and/or grocery bags bulging out on either side of me, with people following me, without having me or any of my followers bump into anything or anyone else. My mom only "knows" about the people behind her while she's looking back. As soon as she looks forwards, she seems to forgets all their position, and will either bump into other people, bump into me when I'm following her, or force me into a situation where I have to bump into something. After spending thirty minutes reading the fine print on her bills, I found a way to re-allocate the funds in her account so that she would go out of debt in four years (pay off the highest rate card firsts which is like 20% per annum, sell her stocks which are only earning her like 7% to use that money to pay the credit cards, etc.). With her current strategy, she would have gone deeper and deeper into debt eternally. Anyone who's ever played a game where you have skill points to spend on your character (Diablo, The Sims, almost all RPGs) knows about min-maxing (even if they don't use that term for it), and could have done the credit card thing, nevermind all those business games (SimCity, Theme Park, Rollercoaster Tycoon, Lemonade Stand Tycoon, Railroad Tycoon, Airport Tycoon, etc.). Isn't it obvious taking a loan at 20% to fund an investment earning you 7% will 'cause you to lose 13%?

My dad doesn't know how to lead a group of people. He wants everyone to walk at their own pace, and gets upset when the group breaks up. When someone at the front starts wandering in the wrong direciton, he won't call out to tell them to tell them they're heading in the wrong direction, and gets upset when the group doesn't stay together. He keeps information like the time and place of a meeting secret until fifteen minutes before the meeting and gets upset when people don't show up on time. He tries to leave restaurants without signing the cheque he paid via credit card, and then gets upset when the waiter runs after him and gives him a hard time.

My gaming friends and I share contingency plans without even discussing them. We know that cell phones are unreliable (especially in metro stations) and we are able to meet up, even when we're heading to a location we're both unfamiliar with and haven't specified a specific meeting point. Example: We're to meet at specific metro station which neither of us have ever been to before. When I arrive, I realized the metro station itself is composed of 3 floors, and it has 4 exits, and while at any of the exits, you cannot see the other 3 exits to check if my friend might be at one of those and my cell phone doesn't work so I cannot inform my friend of which exit or which floor I shall wait for him at. We will be able to find each other within one minute of the second person's arrival to the station.

Our group is hiearchial, and we always know who the "leader" is, and the leader changes based on who is best equipped to deal with the current situation. This is can be organized on the order of one second as opposed to the order of ten minutes that it might take with non-gamers.

The skills I've learned can be learned without ever playing a games. However playing games seems to encourage you to learn these skills. I have yet to meet a non-gamer who has the above skillset and I have yet to meet a gamer who doesn't have the above skillset. You can probably learn this stuff by joining the army, but it seems less painful to just play.

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