Reflecting on past experiences with a “meaningful play” required a few deep remembrances. My family often spent long hours playing board games and cards. My specialty was board games, such as scrabble, monopoly, checkers, and dominos. One very bad experience in my high school years was learning a very difficult card game that my mother would not let me quit until I learned how to play. To this day I still am not a favorite of card games.
Later in life, my children became obsessed with playing video games because of their step-father. He would take them to the arcades and spend loads of money on playing arcade games. I hated the cost, but the children loved it. So in the early years of Atari, Nintendo, PacMan, Mario, and later Play Station, they were totally indoctrinated. Much to my dismay, I never seem to get involved on any level. It felt akin to wasting time.
Nevertheless, as they grew and gaming became a part of our culture, they feel right in. Competing in competitions and going to conferences. Never did I see me as wanting to become a part of this culture.
Then, here I am, taking a class on gaming. What an irony! Since beginning this class, I’ve perused some background research efforts to try to get a handle on the world of gaming. Reading one of my favorite research theorist Vygotsky’s take on play and learning and doing additional research on Kurt Lewin’s (Schein, 2003) theories it has given means a deeper understanding of the value of this type of high-level inactive play. While I was not looking gaming has developed into a learning tool for all students, young and old. Just from the brief moments that I spent trying to educate myself on how games motivate and trigger skills of higher-level thinking that I was not aware. The challenge of figuring out the strategies used in the game and then to manipulate the objects to outmaneuver the game was a difficult task. No gaming dexterity. Moving arrows and pressing a key to do two different things simultaneously was next to impossible, but with persistence, it was done. It was very difficult for me to master, and still, the frustration levels were so high I had a tension headache that lasted for hours. I have been reluctant to go back to meet the challenge but I must.
As a child, I played many of the childhood games and pretend characters that most children played and had great fun with all of them. But I never transitioned to the gaming arena. The reading from the National Institute of Play (National Institute of Play, 2018) the section on The Game Design Sequence, Chapter Five, (Crawford & Peabody, 2018) I see there is a lot that can is learned from gaming. Practice is what is needed to help me develop the skills needed to become a gamer that enjoys the challenge of a good game. I have been advised by family members and articles that I have read that if I find the right game, it won’t be a problem for me to be absorbed in the game. That remains to be seen.
Crawford, C., & Peabody, S. (2018, August 29). The Art of Computer Game Design. Retrieved from What is a Game?: https://www.digitpress.com/library/books/book_art_of_computer_game_design.pdf
National Institute of Play. (2018, September 3). National Institue of Play. Retrieved from The Science of Play: http://www.nifplay.org>
Schein, E. H. (2003). Kurt Lewin's change theory in the field and in the classroom: Notes toward a model of managed learning. Semantic Scholar.
Nona M. Batiste is a forty-year experienced public school teacher who has taught in both New Orleans Public Schools and Dallas Independent School District. She holds a B.S. in Education from Southern University of Baton Rouge, LA and a Master of Science Teaching (MST) from Loyola University of New Orleans, LA. Ms. Batiste has taught Environmental Science and General Science to middle school and high school students. She has been active in both school districts as a master teacher and workshop presenter.