If you’re interested in education, motivation, or doing right by our kids, you owe it to yourself to watch this Edutopia interview with James Paul Gee.

In eleven minutes, he offers an array of compelling insights, including:

  • How games, unlike schools, avoid the mistake of separating learning and assessment,
  • Why we should use textbooks the same way we use game manuals,
  • Why you can often learn more with a peer than from an expert.

8 Responses to “Games, not grades!”

  1. I think games can be a great way to teach thinking skills and decision making. I am sorry he does not adress chess because it is an excellent way to teach problem solving. I have found when teaching children chess, the children also learn systematically how to solve problems. For example, after identify a threat they learn ways to deal with threats and and to systematically go through methods of defeating the threat such as moving away, capturing the opponents piece, counterattacking etcetera. This teaches them to identify options and then to use the process of elimination. In this way they are able to organize their thinking.

  2. Darin Schmidt says:

    Right on! Recently I had to take the GRE, so I bought one of those “practice question” books. The book defended the obviously narrow scope of the GRE, stating that it tested “ways of thinking” rather than content. False. The GRE is a vocabulary test and a math test, complete with memorized equations.

    A moderately difficult sudoku puzzle would have been a better measurement of my “mathematical thinking.”

  3. Ben Knight says:

    The new Sputnik = extrinsic motivation, right? What is your take on this Dan?

  4. Fantastic! I’m 56 years old and have spent a large portion of life asking, “where do we go from here?” James Redfield (Clestine Prophecy) talks about the importance of understanding history… even if you only focus on the past 500 years. It helps to answer the question “Where have you been?” in order to see where you are and give an educated guess of “Where are you going?” That thought took me thru the business gurus from Drucker and Maslow to Covey, Peters and others…. but the question always seem to lag… so, where are we going? Dan addresses that in “A Whole New Mind” and this video gives me great insight (and hope) for the future. The funny part is, Dan Brown ends his new book with the idea of “hope” for the future. The “big” picture is coming together. We truly are in a new millennium. Not just digits passing by on a calendar, but a move past the old mythology of the past few thousand years….to “who know what?”… but it is a new mythology that will be needed for a new world. That is from mythologist Joseph Campbell.

    I look forward to the new book!

  5. Cheryl says:

    The ability to anticipate a problem by looking at events or trends around you should also be taught somehow.

  6. David says:

    To me, the biggest thing games have going for them is the chance for exploration and experimentation. You get context. When solving a puzzle in a game, you learn how the different pieces connect. You learn the “theory” behind the problem.

    Much of teaching today is dumbed down to memorization. We are teaching to a report (standardized testing results). Great, my kid can pass an FCAT test but she can’t think her way out of a paper bag — Not literally of course, what the school system lacks, I do my best to augment.

  7. Mike McEnery says:

    Thanks for posting the interview. It’s exactly what I’ve been interested in finding. A group of people who share my world view and have started an initiative that’s really about engaging and motivates kids to learn.

    By the way, I just finished your book, A Whole New Mind based on recommendations from other recently read books by Guy Reynolds and Seth Godin. I enjoyed it very much and it shared lots of great information that I plan on pursuing like Viktor Frankl’s and Scott McCloud’s books.

    If you ever update the book in the future, I’d recommend adding an item in the Story portfolio to include a link to ted.com. I’m sure you’d agree that it’s a great use of the digital medium to share stories with others and it’s probably the type of thing that only came to be after your book was already published 🙁

    Thanks again for posting, writing, sharing….one of your new fans!


  8. Collin Vine says:

    This video really hit home. I’m in my last year of undergrad right now and have really noticed the lack of “Drive” I have to finish. I have a mild discontent with the education system (especially after reading “A Whole New Mind”) which seems to be quite common among my peers.
    We want to be challenged in a way that motivates us to achieve. We want to have a sense of autonomy. We want to have the freedom to self-learn about the subjects that truly interest us. This happens in some circumstances, yet not entirely.
    The problem? There’s thousands of kids just getting by to get their diploma yet aren’t actually passionate about what they are learning. Schools need more innovative minds like James Paul Gee.
    Great video, thanks for sharing!