Sunday, October 21, 2012

Gaming: The Puck Stops Here


I was pretty excited for this assignment because I enjoy gaming every now and then when I have time (or when I don't want to do homework).  I was very intrigued by all of the talk about flow and after learning about it, I can see where Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is coming from.  Every time I sit down to play a game, time passes very quickly, and I have to stop and think where the day went.  I get so wrapped up in what I am doing, everything else becomes distant and I am in a "zone," much like Mihaly describes.

So for this gaming assignment, I chose NHL 10 because I love sports games and they are the most real to me.  Don't get me wrong, I love Halo and Grand Theft Auto and those, but lately I just can't get into magic and wizard games.  I have never played a hockey game before, so I thought this could be interesting.  What happened was, I became hooked.  I looked at the clock after what I thought was close to the assigned hour and it had been over and hour and a half but only felt like 20 minutes.  There is no doubt that I had reached "flow," and here is why:
  • With this hockey game, you make a player with your name and have to compete against computer hockey teams.  Being able to be "yourself" makes it much more personable and more likely that you will want to achieve to the best of your abilities.
  • Struggle came often.  Since this was a new game for me, I was often playing poorly and underachieving.  So, I tried harder and harder to overcome obstacles and achieve at a higher level
  • Feedback was immediate.  If you scored a goal in overtime of a hockey game.  You win!!  Having that feedback right in front of you was what made you push harder for more and more feedback.  (Immediate Feedback is just one of nine characteristics of flow.)
  • Finally, it was fun for me.  I know that everyone will not want to play a hockey game, but this was interesting and fun for me and that is another reason that I couldn't be torn away from it.  
In playing this game, it has really hammered home the idea that we need to make everything relate to students in a way that is interesting to them.  Also, using fun mediums like games can really bring some learners together to attempt at something that they may not have thought of before.

I think, whether it be gaming or another type of activity, as long as we find something that really connects students to the material that we want them to learn, then we will have no problem helping them learn and master the content that we put in front of them. 

Image taken from:,r:2,s:0,i:143