Resilience and video games

When I first started gaming, my playing style was very conservative. I didn't want to do anything that would get my character killed.
When I played 8-bit Nintendo, you only got a certain number of lives and after that you had to start over from the beginning. There were some games that I must have played the first level over and over again just to get to a second part that I was trying to get past.  It was frustrating, because I could already do that part of the level, but I had to keep doing it anyway.  Then when I got to the part that gave me trouble, I didn't want to take ANY RISKS because it wasn't worth having to go back to the start.  The price was too high, considering this was a game I was playing in my free time after school.  After a while, I just stopped playing video games.

A lot had changed by the time I came back to games.  Finally, I played Portal on my PC. But I still felt a lot of pressure to hang back and try to make sure I didn't do anything that would make my character fail.  It took a while for me to realize that the costs of failure in this game were now much, much lower.  Now with auto save at certain checkpoints, character death didn't mean losing all the progress I made, it just meant a quick re-spawn and another shot at whatever I needed to do.

After that experience, I began to see video games as learning environments.  There was some skill I couldn't do, but I wanted to get better at it so I could advance my character in whatever adventure.  Autosave and checkpoints lowered the cost of failure enough so that I was able to take more risks and explore more ways to achieve my goals in game.  When the cost of failure was high, I didn't want to take risks.  When the cost of failure was lower, I began to use a growth mindset.

I want the same for my students, and I see standards based grading as a way to develop that growth mindset. There cannot be a huge penalty attached to risks in the pursuit of learning.

No comments:

Post a Comment