First, you simply can't compare the intrinsic motivation that gamers have to play an MMO to the extrinsic motivation that most children have to do well in school. It's totally apples to oranges. What you describe are kids who aren't passionate about learning and muster whatever energy they can to get a grade. Recreation occurs in an entirely different context. The number of players who are trying to sublimate some desire to be great at something is very small. Most people just want to have fun.
Valid point, but you missed the gist of my comparison. My comparison wasn't about whether or not the goal was "fun" it was about the level of effort people are willing to put in to achieve an outcome
. Perhaps I should be more specific about my context. I teach Physics to juniors and seniors and it is an elective. They choose to take the course and they do care very much about their outcome (grades). So the comparison, although not perfect, is still a reasonable generalization. If you want to pick it apart, that's your choice. The basic premise is fine for the broadness of my point.
Let me say it another way. My issue isn't with success rate, it's with the amount of effort people are willing to put in to achieve that success. One of my biggest challenges as a teacher is trying to get kids to try past the initial stumbling point. They do fine with easy questions, but the moment they struggle with something, they stop trying. They want me to just give them the answer. And honestly, it's not because they don't care... they want to succeed. It's because they are in disbelief that things should be anything other than easy. They aren't used to struggling, so anything that is a struggle is foreign to them. They don't want to have to try. They feel that their initial
effort level (whatever that may be) ought to be enough to get them what they want.
Also, I agree with you about motivation. The kids prefer the easy questions because their motivation is for the grade, not the learning. But again, my point wasn't as much about the outcome itself, but the effort they are willing to invest to achieve the outcome. And this applies directly to the analogy of video games. The gamers I'm complaining about want to run around in UBERLEETZ GEARZ but they don't want it to be hard to achieve said gear.
In a video game, players typically get immediate feedback on goals that they set for themselves
Depends on what you consider immediate and what your goals are. If your goal is simply to casually play said game and experience content, then that's awesome. There is usually plenty of casual content for people to enjoy. If your goal is to have all the best stuff in the game and take down the hardest bosses- well, you should have to invest time and effort into that. Why? because there are people who value that also. That's their
goal. If you make all the content easy enough for all the people, you haven't actually improved the game. You're just @#%^ing a different group.
It's similar to differentiated instruction. In theory, if you have 20 kids in a classroom, you have 20 different ability levels. And differentiated instruction says let's adjust the content to meet every child's ability level. It doesn't say "dumb down the material so everyone can 'master' it". It says make several difficulty levels so that kids can challenge themselves at their ability level. I agree with this in the classroom and in video games. But should the highest and lowest difficulty levels have the same rewards? No @#%^ing way. That's just dumb and there's no other way to say it. When I give a test, I am expecting a bell curve of test grades. This is because the content of the test has multiple difficulty levels, low, medium and high. The bell curve takes care of itself. If i make the test easy enough for everyone to get an A, then the kids who have more ability and the kids who are working their asses off get screwed because they weren't afforded the opportunity to show it. It's a way bigger crime to deny them that chance than it is to prevent a "casual student" from getting an A.
And if you can't follow my analogy at this point, let's just agree to disagree because I honestly don't have time to dissect your entire response.
I'm a gamification consultant, which means I help businesses who want to use game-like features in their business
I am someone who helps businesses (not very different from SE) conduct legal gaming practices
as a fellow educator
A few threads ago, you were a gaming lawyer... now you are a teacher... are you a person who teaches gaming laws? Or are you just another internet expert who thinks they know something about EVERYTHING...
school is a game that we force them to play, and we don't even try to make it fun.
Speak for yourself, but that doesn't describe all of us...
The two nicest comments I've ever received from students:
"I don't really like physics, but I like coming to your class."
"I really like your tests. They are hard, but they really make me think about things."
Teaching is an art. And done correctly, can foster intrinsic motivation and unforced participation. That's why it's not that hard for me to make the gaming analogy. The gulf isn't as vast as you would attempt to describe it.
Edit: Just finishing up... Edited, Dec 5th 2012 3:24pm by ChaChaJaJa