Should we teach games?

50 millions usersThis is a really interesting graphic which I found on ScoopNest. It took 75 years to get 50 million phone users. It took 35 days to get 50 million users onto Angry Birds. Today we can’t live without our phones or our games. Should we teach games, though? Should we teach the skills for creating games? Currently, we always tend to look at education from an economic rationale point of view . There is little room for learning and intellectual development for the sake of it. games jobsToday on SEEK there are 1008 jobs for games. If you look up Games Developer you only get 157 so the key word search has to be accurate. It’s only Thursday in Australia and already there are over 1000 jobs for games this week.I have been teaching long enough to know we had schools with rooms full of the new, mysterious golf ball typewriters which we used because everyone needed keyboard and typing skills to get a job. There were big discussions as to how much time would be allocated to keyboard skills and typing practice in the curriculum and then students were separated into separate classes so they could become executive in their office skills. I have heard no discussions like that about games and games development.

I read a heartfelt piece on TechCrunch the other night: Dear Teacher, A Video Game Developer Is A Real Job And Should Be Celebrated where a father talks about the need for teachers to recognise games developer as a future career. Matt Burns was clear and made some valid points. Teachers constantly need to shift their headsets into what are currently the job skills sets for any given decade.

Looking at all of this from an education, classroom stand point is matter for some big, robust discussions. It’s not just about games, edutainment, keeping the students occupied. It is about deconstructing games and their impact and looking at their educational value and the skills they teach and use so that we can have some valid input as teachers into this whole industry. It’s about thinking , creativity, collaboration, coding, maths, algorhythms, art, design, literacy, social skills – and that is just off the top of my head. I need more than one post and we need more than one thought.

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