Videogame Addiction: Fact or Fiction in .NET framework

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Videogame Addiction: Fact or Fiction
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structural characteristics of video games: A psycho-structural analysis. CyberPsychology and Behavior, 7, 1 10. Young, K. (1998). Caught in the Net: How to recognize the signs of Internet addiction and a winning strategy for recovery. New York: Wiley. Young, K. (1999). Internet addiction: Evaluation and treatment. Student British Medical Journal, 7, 351 352. Zimbardo, P. (1982). Understanding psychological man: A state of the science report. Psychology Today, 16, 15.
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5 Meeting the Needs of the Vulnerable Learner
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The Role of the Teacher in Bridging the Gap Between Informal and Formal Learning Using Digital Technologies Laurence Peters
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I never try to teach my students anything. I only try to create an environment in which they can learn. (Einstein, as quoted in Prensky, 2001a, p. 71)
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This chapter explores the role of learner self-identity in relation to formal and informal learning. It also examines the part digital technologies play in both these contexts. In particular I highlight how difficult it is for both students and their teachers to break free of the notion that the only real learning and knowledge is to be found in formal learning, defined as the information transmitted in lecture fashion by the teacher and found in textbooks and approved by teachers in the form of assignments, grades, and assessments. By contrast, informal learning can be defined as any activity involving the pursuit of understanding, knowledge, or skill which occurs outside the curricula of educational institutions, or the courses or workshops offered by educational or social agencies (Livingstone, 2001, p. 51). One does not have to be a disciple of Foucault to understand the importance of the wall between institutionally sanctioned learning and what exists beyond it. Clearly informal learning is perceived by most teachers and students as standing at some distance from its formal counterparts. It is not too much of an exaggeration to conclude that informal learning is just not seen as part of the school s business and so, not surprisingly, it is widely ignored. Neither the progressive era of education nor its modern renaissance in the 1960s could do much to scale that barrier, as informal learning continues to be defined in opposition to school, whether it is incidental (finding out something by accident), socialized (learning without knowing you are, as with table manners or language), or intentional (pick-
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Bridging the Gap Between Informal and Formal Learning ing up a book). Informal learning, particularly the socialized kind that leads to most children s ability to master grammar of any language by the age of 4 without formal instruction, has a more powerful reach than formal learning. Yet its potential is seldom tapped by schools which continue to regard real learning as the transactions carried on in the classroom and controlled by the teacher. For example, few honors are available to children who have not just learned computer functions and applications but also how to repair and service them, or who can play advanced videogames. Rather these children may be identified as techies or at worst nerds or geeks. The power of digital technologies is that they lend themselves to informal learning and as such pose a challenge to the conventional orthodoxy that formal learning is the only real and valid kind that can be accepted in schools. One of the better explanations for why this state of affairs continues to exist has been offered by David Tyack and Larry Cuban (1995). They coined the phrase the grammar of schooling to explain the way various concepts such as the lesson period, and the notion of a curriculum that needs to be covered and assessed within certain defined parameters, got started some time in the nineteenth century and became considered as the normal way schools, teachers, and students operated. Given this context it is not surprising that, for example, students obvious interest in videogames should be sidelined by schools even when some educational aspects of certain games have been well described.1 A leading advocate for a more game-driven curriculum, Marc Prensky (2005a), is engaged in an uphill battle to convince his colleagues as to their value. Commenting on how bestselling games deliver on their promises of exciting children s imagination, a place where students can continuously reinvent themselves, he contrasts that with the realities in classrooms:
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Rather than being empowered to choose what they want ( Two hundred channels! Products made just for you! ) and to see what interests them ( Log on! The entire world is at your fingertips! ) and to create their own personalized identity ( Download your own ring tone! Fill your iPod with precisely the music you want! ) as they are in the rest of their lives in school, they must eat what they are served. (Prenksy, 2005a, p. 64)
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Increasingly this type of control over technology and the ways that students use it to learn informally creates tensions, particularly in the high school setting. Prensky argues passionately that students want engagement the same level they gain from computer games in their learning:
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In my view, it s not relevance that s lacking for this generation, it s engagement. What s the relevance of Pok mon, or Yu-Gi-Oh!, or American Idol The kids will master systems ten times more complex than algebra, understand
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