YouTube video on how to do stuff on Gears of War.

Deja vu! Whether it was that or a feeling of recognition, I had a positive reaction to PCHSDirector’s Blog (Dave Meister) entry on Making Ourselves Smarter. The part that resonated with my experiences with my son, who’s been gaming ever since he could sit in my lap and tell me where to go in a maze while I was still trying to figure it out, is shown below:

My son has become a WWII and Vietnam War era weapons expert.  He can recognize and describe the capabilities of weapons I have never seen or heard of (and I am a history teacher!).  He has learned a lot about World War II and Vietnam because of his interest in video games set in those historical eras.  He has done research outside of the games because he simply enjoys learning about the two conflicts and because he has a group of online friends that gets together regularly to play those games.  

Because the games are social in nature, he and his friends work together to compete with other similar groups.  I watched (and listened) to them one night as they differentiated what they were doing in order to take on another group of online players.  It was really fascinating as they talked each other through the “contest”, each with different types of expertise at playing the game.  Together they were really good at taking out their opposition.  If they had not been so good at collaborating, sharing each others’ expertise, the other group would have stood a chance.  What a wonderful example of how we are smarter together! 

Although my son quickly progressed far beyond Enemy Territory (a fantastic WWII game that is available online) and Urban Terror (more up to date weapons)–both of these games are multiplayer and no-cost–he’s now playing other games that tap into the collaborative nature possible. Since Dave above has already elaborated on that experience, I’ll share something new that I’ve observed.

My son has taken up with viewing YouTube videos to find out how to better play a game. These YouTube video tutorials are incredibly detailed and walk him through exactly how to do better in his Pokemon games. In a lot of ways, while they haven’t replaced the conversations with other kids his age, they have gone a great way at enhancing them. Think of it this way–my son is getting a high-end education on gameplay from experts from around the world…and he wants to give back. He wants to create his own video tutorials and share them with everyone (he’s already made one and its available on YouTube under a pseudonym/handle).

At times, I’m not sure if I’m in favor of this experience…he’s learning how to make himself smarter using videos freely available off the web, applying what he learns, all without the traditional teacher standing over him grading him. Success, for him, is measured on whether he gets the job done, whatever that job happens to be…pride and accomplishment flow, not from the grade he gets, but whether he can effectively communicate his own vision of how to achieve success to others.

Pretty scary if you ask me. I love these quotes from Lyn Hlt in the comments at Dave’s blog:

“Since much of the most relevant knowledge on the edge is tacit knowledge, edge participants naturally place a heavy emphasis on building diverse networks of relationships that will help them to collaborate more effectively with others in the creation of new
“Tacit knowledge is held by individuals, so if firms want to enhance their participation in tacit knowledge flows, they must find ways to expand and enrich the social networks of their employees, helping them to connect with other individuals on relevant edge.” (Source: The Power of Pull: How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion by John Seely Brown)

A YouTube video on how to play a game better by yourself….

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Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin’s blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure