They may be "tuning out of science in the classroom," as a Wired News commentary puts it, but gamers are still learning and (avidly) practicing science, Prof. Constance Steinkuehler at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, found in a soon-to-be-published study, "Scientific Habits of Mind in Virtual Worlds." She and her co-author, Sean Duncan, "downloaded the content of 1,984 posts in 85 threads in a discussion board for players of World of Warcraft. What did they find? Only a minority of the postings were 'banter' or idle chat. In contrast, a majority – 86% – were aimed specifically at analyzing the hidden ruleset of games. More than half the gamers used 'systems-based reasoning – analyzing the game as a complex, dynamic system. And one-tenth actually constructed specific models to explain the behavior of a monster or situation; they would often use their model to generate predictions. Meanwhile, one-quarter of the commentors would build on someone else's previous argument, and another quarter would issue rebuttals of previous arguments and models. These are all hallmarks of scientific thought," according to commentator Clive Thompson. The study will appear in the Journal of Science Education & Technology next spring. Meanwhile, the Associated Press reports that, for the first time in two years, game sales growth has slowed to single-digit.
Videogames: ‘Hotbeds of scientific thinking for kids’
Subscribe to ConnectSafely Newsletter
Subscribe to our email newsletter. We publish about twice a month, you can easily unsubscribe and we won't spam you.
NetFamilyNews – by Anne Collier
- Zooming in on social norms (sidebar)
- Beginning of the end of #purge, revenge porn or social cruelty?
- For our kids & ourselves: Presence in a digital age
- Manage Net risk but focus more on opportunities: Researchers
- Proposed ‘rightful’ framework for Internet safety
- Social media in Saudi schools … sort of
- Textbook case of what NOT to do in teen sexting cases
- Breadth of videogames’ benefits to kids may surprise
Analysis & News – by Larry Magid
- Don’t let stalkers or abusers and creeps track your phone’s location
- Let’s stop persecuting ‘Auschwitz selfie girl’ for smiling at a camera
- EFF launches free Privacy Badger for Firefox and Chrome to block hidden trackers
- Privacy and security tips for newly-minted college students
- Google to stop labeling apps with in-app purchases as ‘free’
- Home automation and ‘Internet of things’ is great — but think about privacy and security
- Time for public to weigh in on ‘net neutrality’
- The ‘real world’ is a lot more dangerous than cyberspace