Gaming as Learning

I wasn't expecting Tears for Fears before lunch today, but when I walked into the Serious Gaming panel, "Everybody Wants to Rule the World" was playing from the speakers.

"Yes, the music selection does have something to do with today’s panel," said Larry Dailey, a journalism professor at the University of Nevada - Reno, and the panel's moderator. The song then changed to an all-too-familiar hit: Video Killed the Radio Star.

Dailey sang, "Oh-a-a-a oh," with the chorus and said, "This is about journalism, come on!" I could only imagine what the business work shop next door was thinking.

So what did this have to do with gaming? The Buggles song was the first video to appear on MTV 30 years ago, and, as the song narrates, it was then believed the appearance of videos would kill radio.

After the song ended Dailey held up an iPod. It wasn't the appearance of video to kill radio he said, but the gadget at hand.

Enter gaming. This $30 billion industry, where the average user is 30 or 31 years old, has changed the way audiences use and learn from media. Its entrance into the field has come on so quickly there wasn't even time for a song to warn people.

But, seriously, why is this important? Can't we just leave these gamers in their basements forever?

Marc Prensky, author of "Digital Game-Based Learning" and "Don't Bother Me Mom - I'm Learning" and CEO of games2train, said this is exactly what he encountered among his audiences.

The reason to game, however, is simple: To learn. Laparoscopic surgeons who gamed made 37 percent fewer mistakes than their colleagues, said Prensky.

"Now you know what to ask your doctor: Did you play Super Monkey Ball growing up?"

For more on gaming, check out our Q&A with J. Paige West.

Tip Sheet

-- Jen Monroe

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8th Annual Conference and Awards Banquet, Oct. 17-19, Sheraton Centre, Toronto

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Oct. 19, 2007 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.: Breakfast Discussion Groups (Sponsored by AFP) 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.: Community/Convergence Workshop: The Cutting Edge of Online Data 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.: Content/Design Workshop: Finding Your Voice Online 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.: Business Workshop: Leading the 21st Century Newsroom 9:45 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.: General Session: Membership Meeting 10:45 a.m. - Education Members Meeting, Expanding ONA's educational offerings, Dominion Ballroom 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m: Keynote: Michael Oreskes, International Herald Tribune 12:15 p.m. to 2 p.m.: Lunch on Your Own (Box lunch sponosred by 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.: Community/Convergence Workshop: Broadcaster Strategies for the Web 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.: Content/Design Workshop: Integrating Multimedia in Storytelling 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.: Business Workshop: Legal Panel 3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.: Community/Convergence Workshop: Revamping Your Curriculum for Online Journalism 3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.: Content/Design Workshop: Integrating User-Generated Content 3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.: Business Workshop: Advertising 2.0 4:15 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.: Coffee Break (Sponsored by Pluck) 4:45 p.m. to 6 p.m.: Journalism Next: Impact of Aggregators, Blogging and Social Networking on the Industry 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.: Reception sponsored by 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.: Awards banquet

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