Sunday, March 27, 2011

Insight # 4: Gaming Alters One's Understanding of Location and Movement in the Real World

I hope this makes sense.

I've been very caught up with simply moving through space in Minecraft.  What I wasn't expecting was for this to alter the way I experience movement and location in the real world.  Suddenly, I'm not just driving in my car, but I am on an xy axis  within a cube and I can easily visualize myself at exact locations within it.  I am relating to my world in a different way.  I don't know if this is truly a new pathway in my brain or that it's simply that it has never occurred to me to relate to my world in this way.  Whatever has caused it, I am relating to and thinking about space differently. And, it seems very natural; I'm not being "taught" formulas for the cube;  I'm not using manipulatives to make discoveries about cubes; mentally, I am visualizing myself within the cube and that is new for me.

My hunch is that children who have grown up as gamers experience space and location in a different way from non-gamers.  They probably are not aware of this difference, but it has enormous implications for teaching.  If gamers experience space the way I am now experiencing it they should easily be able to understand concepts like area, volume, vertices, angles. They should have a natural ability to visualize these concepts and teachers need to approach learning by tapping into that innate knowledge. Does that make sense?


  1. It makes surprisingly good sense in that your purpose is to find those connections between gaming and pedagogy that will be useful in the classroom. You might also look at the language you are using to describe your journey through gaming and compare it to the language you used previous to gaming.

  2. Bobbie, very good suggestion. I hadn't even considered the language connection, but a change in language would be a natural outcome. Unless we have a vocabulary, we cannot even begin to articulate what exactly we are experiencing. You've given me something else to think about. Thanks.