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Game-playing cultures

shin1068111's picture

By looking at the games we have played at the end of the class and how much everyone enjoyed participating in it, we can definitely say that we have game-playing culture embedded within ourselves.

Our game-playing culture sometimes enables people to experience different gender roles, assess how humans perceive information, and somewhat experience science and technology depending on what types of games are being played. For example, role playing games (non-computer based) enable people to experience gender role playing. Some of the word games or games such as Mafia make it possible for people to experience how they perceive and process information. Generating poem games use a computer algorithm, which involves technology.

The games we played in the class provide a compelling example that shows game-playing is highly involved in gender, information, science and/or technology. It could be coincidental that we could make a connection between the games and GIST. However, this connection definitely shows GIST plays an important role in our lives and our gaming culture is a good example that clearly shows the importance.



jlebouvier's picture

playing and pictures

As I was reading these posts I automatically thought about the connection playing has to images. Apo talking about the roles gender being taught through playing house. Not only do we learn at a young age through these games, but we associate images with these games as well. We have movements and visual aids that lend in the memorization of these games. Through these games we then associate certain images as being fun and others as serious. If you think about any of the games you played as a child there are specific symbols that fit with each one. I will always remember the little old man figurine and the basket that go along with mousetrap.

heera's picture


i want to know how its effect.

merlin's picture

children and game play


When children begin to play games, it actually a stage in cognitive development and represents an increase in cognition. There are 5 stages of play development between the ages of 0 and 6 years, each of which requires a greater cognitive ability: solitary, spectator, parallel, associate, co-operative. pretend play (which usually begins between 12 through 18 Months) is particularly important because it is the precursor for theory of mind development (when a child understands that another person's thoughts are separate from her own). Even though children don't develop a  theory of mind until between their third and fifth birthdays, pretend play helps to begin to understand something about other's thoughts. For example, in order to play along when Mom pretends a banana is a phone, a child must have some idea that she is projecting the thought of a phone onto a banana. In addition to this psychologists have postulated that pretend play might be a tool that helps children realize that thoughts guide people's actions, language and emotions. This is also why pretend play is so important to children's social learning.

Co-operative play (the highest in complexity, beginning at around age 4 and especially age 5) , as Apocolipsis mentioned, is the highly structured play stage which encourages children to fall into different gender roles and play out roles they've observed in their own world.

So I totally agree that play is something we learned form a very young age as being crucial to our development in many ways. I could be argued that we couldn't have developed properly without it.. especially in the areas of social development.

But what is interesting is that in this part of our lives, we were learning to build stereotypes about social roles. We learned that mommy cooks in the kitchen and takes care of the children and daddy gets home from work. This is how most children go about pretend play. There is a social pressure from children around them too to play these roles "right." This contrasts with our pretend play as adults, as we've seen form the classroom exercises. People were able to play around freely with stereotypes and try to break them down throughout this class. maybe this signals an even more sophisticated stage in development, and it would be interesting to determine when this ability surfaces. Maybe in the teen years? maybe for some, never..


merlin's picture



Apocalipsis's picture

It's not a coincidence...

Although I definitely agree that we have game-playing culture embedded within ourselves, I would take your statement a step further to say that game-playing is embedded so deep into our existence that it has demonstrated and taught (through symbolic interactionism) how humans are to behave. Even when people are not using technological devices to play games, we have all played house as children where we learn gender roles and out into action what we have learned from our families/ communities. I think those initial childhood game stages (even playing peek-a-boo in our infant years) are what prepare us to perceive and process information into categories. I would argue that the connection between the games and GIST is not a coincidence. 


aybala50's picture

learning and games

 This is actually really interesting to me because several years ago I read a book (and I hate to say I don't remember what book it was), and it was about children, adults, and playing. It was all about how children play in order to learn real life skills that they will need as adults. There were examples of a small village in Africa and the way in which games children played were related to the jobs they may inherit from their parents. There was also a section of adults who played games and at this point it was mostly for social reasons and because they had grown up playing games. The impression I got from the work was that people were, after a certain age, just programmed to play. Games are, I feel, definitely a way in which people learn. It is such an interesting topic for me because in my work with 3-year-olds at an intervention program, we make use of play and games often. Children understand, at a very young age, that games and playing are fun. They learn very well through games and it would be interesting to see how children can learn through virtual games...(as I've never experimented with this at the intervention program)


alesnick's picture

learning and games: Was the book Playing on the Motherground?

 Hi Aybala -- I think it was David Lancy's book, that you read in Empowering Learners?  I remember the lesson your group taught involving how younger kids learn by figuring out how to join older kids in a game?

Anne Dalke's picture

playing and learning

For more on this, see Serendip's playground.

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