Concentrating on one course of instruction, subject, or project to the exclusion of all others for several days or weeks; intensive — dictionary.com
“The assumption that video games are a waste of time has become an outdated argument based solely on the wistful remembrances of ‘the good old days,’” writes the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development website as part of their Educational Leadership publication. “James Paul Gee (2003) tells us that ‘good games – and the games get better in this respect all the time – are crafted in ways that encourage and facilitate active and critical learning and
In his national bestseller, Everything Bad Is Good For You, author Steven Johnson “thinks there are two main modes of intellectual labor that go into video gaming,” as the Kaedrin.com website notes in their article, “Manuals, or the lack thereof…” Johnson calls them probing and telescoping:
Probing is essentially exploration of the game and its
possibilities.…Telescoping has more to do with the games [sic] objectives.…Probing and telescoping are essential to learning.2
One of the best ways to grasp the cognitive virtues of gameplaying is to ask committed players to describe what’s going on in their heads halfway through a long virtual adventure like Zelda or Half-Life. It’s crucial here not to ask what’s happening in the gameworld, but rather what’s happening to the players mentally: what problems they’re actively working on, what objectives they’re trying to
achieve.3Many of these goals will have been obscure in the opening sequences of the game, but by the halfway point, players have usually constructed a kind of to-do list that governs their strategy.4
Probing involves a nuanced form of
exploration…thatoften operates below conscious awareness.5…You’re probing the physics of a world when you start detecting subtle patterns and tendencies in the way the computer is running the simulation.6…The game scholar James Paul Gee breaks probing down into a four-part process, which he calls the “probe, hypothesize, reprobe, rethink” cycle:
- The player must probe the virtual world (which involves looking around the current environment, clicking on something, or engaging ina a certain action).
- Based on reflection while probing and afterward, the player must form a hypothesis about what something (a text, object, artifact, event, or action) might mean in a usefully situated way.
- The player reprobes the world with the hypothesis in mind, seeing what effect he or she gets.
- The player treats this effect as feedback from the world and accepts or rethinks his or her original hypothesis
Put another way: When gamers interact with these environments, they are learning the basic procedure of the scientific
Johnson refers to managing numerous simultaneous objectives as “‘telescoping’ because of the way the objects nest inside one another like a collapsed
Probing and telescoping “encourage participatory thinking and analysis, forms that challenge the mind to make sense of an environment, not just play catch-up with the acceleration
1 Nathan Holbert, “Shooting Aliens: The Gamer’s Guide to Thinking,” ASCD, February 2008, Volume 65, Number 5, at http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/feb08/vol65/num05/Shooting-Aliens@-The-Gamer’s-Guide-to-Thinking.aspx (retrieved: 10 June 2012); See also: James Paul Gee, What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy (New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2003), p. 46.
2 “Manuals, or the lack thereof…” 5 August 2007, Kaedrin.com, at http://kaedrin.com/weblog/archive/001291.html (retrieved: 10 June 2012).
3 Steven Johnson, Everything Bad Is Good For You: How Today’s Poplular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter (New York: Penguin Group, 2006, 2005), pp. 47-48.
4 Ibidem, p. 48.
5 Ibidem, p. 43.
6 Ibidem, p. 44.
7 Ibidem, p. 44-45.
8 Ibidem, p. 54.
9 Ibidem, p. 54-55.
10 Ibidem, p. 61.
Kevin Crosby, “Gaming Addiction,” in Tinfoil Hat, SkewsMe.com, at http://skewsme.com/tinfoilhat/chapter/gaming-addiction/ (retrieved: 13 November 2012).
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