Squire on Game-Based Learning

There are some key points and quotes from Squire (2008), the primary one is the “…important question is not whether educators can use games to support learning, but how we can use games most effectively as educational tools.” (p. 1).

Squire (2008) discusses the concept of motivation within game-based learning and questions the thought that  “…games create intrinsic motivation through fantasy, control, challenge, curiosity, and competition (Malone 1981; Cordova and Lepper 1996, as cited Squire, 2008, p. 2). Squire (2008) considers the differences in learners and states that “roughly 25% of students in school situations complained that the game was too hard, complicated, and uninteresting, and they elected to withdraw from the gaming unit and participate in reading groups instead” (p. 2).

The practice of game play opposes the constructivist ideology within contemporary pedagogical practice where problems are broken into “bite-sized, easy-to-learn pieces” (p. 3). “Games, on the other hand, present players with complex holistic problems” (Gee 2005, as cited Squire, 2008, p. 3). Games provide a simulated environment where “…for many, gameplay involves social transgression. Games allow us to bend or temporarily dismiss social rules in order to try new ideas and identities” (Squire, 2008, p. 4). The learner is faced with failure (see Squire, 2005, p. 4) in a simulated world and problem solves, acts on feedback and changes paths to overcome the failure.

Similar to other readings this semester, Squire (2008) focuses on the current nature of learning and teaching as being one that is ‘traditional’ and ‘unchanged’ even though the educator and learners have changed. “The real challenge is not so much in bringing games—or any technology—into our schools but rather changing the cultures of our schools to be organized around learning instead of the current form of social control” that was derived from the industrial era (Squire, 2008, p. 5).



One thought on “Squire on Game-Based Learning”

  1. Aw, this was an incredibly nice post. Finding the time and actual effort to generate a really good article… but what can I say… I hesitate a lot and don’t seem to get anything done.


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