Constance Steinkuhler, a games and learning scholar, discusses her firsthand experiences in seeing how youth-centered learning and online gaming leads to compelling turnarounds in youth engagement.
Constance's research-based practices focus on solving the disconnect between learning that takes place in gaming environments and in-class learning: "When I started doing studies around science and literacy and civic engagement around online games, when the biggest population of those games is teenage guys and they're not faring well in school, it begs a real question. What's happening in this space between kids and their school world and their school identities instead of their game identities and what they're doing around games?" (2:24)
Steinkuhler shares a specific example of the power of interest-driven learning: "We had a reader that was in 10th grade who read at the 6th-grade level: was not faring well in school. I handed him a 15th-grade level text from the [World of Warcraft] and he's reading it with absolutely fine comprehension: 94, 96-percent accuracy." (5:39)
The reason for the higher comprehension rate, Constance found, was: "Something called 'self-correction rates.' When [students] choose the text, when they care about it, they actually fix their own comprehension problems more than two times as often as when they don't care about the text."
Constance Steinkuehler is an Assistant Professor in the Digital Media program in the Curriculum & Instruction department at the University of Wisconsin--Madison. She is a founding fellow of the Games+Learning+Society Initiative and chairs the annual Games, Learning & Society Conference held each summer in Madison, Wisconsin. You can learn more about her work and focus at constances.org.
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