“Today’s learner is demanding to be taught in ways that they are comfortable with, they are digital natives not digital immigrants. They are no longer satisfied by traditional learning methods. In order to reach this learner we must provide them with tools that fit their learning style.” – Christopher D. Clark
Lately, I’ve been talking a great deal about the use of game play as a coaching methodology in soccer that I feel holds a lot of promise for youth players today. It’s something that is relatively new to the mainstream and therefore still open for plenty of debate. I’d like to build as much support for it as possible so please start by watching this.
If video gaming can be a promising new approach to modernizing education than I think the same can be said for using games in coaching. Games are realistic. Drills aren’t. Games provide immediate assessment of your performance. Drill don’t. I just think it makes so much sense to look at using a more games based approach in both coaching and teaching.
North American society continues to evolve and the types of work that our children will grow up to do will be very different than that which our grandparents – or even parents – did. And for that reason, as James Paul Gee notes, we need to educate them differently. Again, I ask if video games could represent a medium through which to teach people to solve problems and be more creative, than why wouldn’t the same stand for the use of games in youth sport?
What about today’s young adults – the 20-somethings. They’ve always had video games and a fair amount of digital technology available to them. It’s what they know. They are digital natives while anyone my age or older is more like a digital immigrant as we’ve often had to learn to be comfortable. In a 2004 paper on the topic of game based learning, author Christopher D. Clark notes that at the time of writing 50% of all Americans aged 6-60 played video games while 239 million video games were sold.
It is a pervasive industry. There will be those who say that this is ridiculous and that using video games to instruct violates educational purity. I think those people and their opinions are going to go the way of the dinosaurs.
Here’s another example of the power of video games to instruct taken again from Christopher D. Clark’s paper:
“If there is any doubt that video games have influenced the way we learn real world activities consider this. I observed my seven year old nephew one day as he was repeatedly watching a replay from a football videogame when I asked him “what he was doing”; he said he was “practicing for practice”. When I asked him what he meant, he said that his coach had told him that when he was running the play that he needed to square his shoulders when “hitting the hole”, so my nephew was watching the instant replay to see “how Ricky Williams squared his shoulders when he hit the hole”.”
Clark also notes today’s learner is a digital multitasker, capable of making sense of large amounts of digital information from a number of sources at the same time. Just look at the quality of some video games out there. Or look at the simulations being used to train professionals in the military, aviation or in medicine. Thing are so advanced and often so real. I’ve said in a previous post that this video game generation, when they come out to participate in youth sport, is quickly bored with the drill culture. Why wouldn’t they be? It’s like a fly weight boxer going up against a heavy weight. No wonder it’s getting harder and harder to get kids active. They can stay cozy at home and have their senses well stimulated in front of a screen.
I think it forces our hand as coaches and youth sports program administrators. We have to stay current or get left behind. Game based learning is where it’s at.
Next post August 27th.