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The main concerns in education have been in optimizing the transfer of knowledge generated for students. However, with the advancement of digital technologies, our knowledge about the world is moving extremely fast and is in fact in a state of constant flux. This means that most of the knowledge that is created is tacit, because there is little time to distill, code, and communicate before the next change happens. This represents an enormous challenge to the relevance of education strategies. To borrow from John Seely Brown's "Learning in and for the 21st Century", the Cartesian view of learning is all about individual learning, generally adopted by conventional education. The idea translated into "I think therefore I am" has led schools to frame learning as the mere transfer of knowledge to the head of the individual. However, this same Cartesian seems insufficient to explain how new developments raise new issues that require their own answers, which means that knowledge starts to have a very short shelf life. The Cartesian view is also misleading, because, it seems, all the learning that happens at a deep level occurs through interaction and participation. The social view of learning - "we participate, therefore we are" - seems the most appropriate perspective in the era of digital communication technologies. Hence the need to adopt an approach to learning anchored in research, robust learning theories, and the best of traditional standards, but also designed to explore the great potential for learning in the field of new digital and social media.
Here comes "Connected Learning", "an educational approach designed for our ever-changing world. It makes learning relevant to all populations, to real life and real work, and to the realities of the digital age, where the demand for learning never stops." "We harness the advances and innovations of our connected age to serve learning: Just as earlier generations tapped the tools of their time to improve learning, we must do the same in the digital age." "We connect three critical spheres of learning: academics, a learner’s interests, inspiring mentors and peers."
Enter games. According to the Institute of Play, a New York based nonprofit founded in 2007 by game designer Katie Salen, "many experts believe that success in the twenty-first century depends on education that treats higher order skills, like the ability to think, solve complex problems or interact critically through language and media. Games naturally support this form of education. They are designed to create a compelling complex problem space or world, which players come to understand through self-directed exploration. They are scaffolded to deliver just-in-time learning and to use data to help players understand how they are doing, what they need to work on and where to go next. Games create a compelling need to know, a need to ask, examine, assimilate and master certain skills and content areas. There are experts that argue that games are essentially learning systems, and that this accounts for the sense of engagement and entertainment players experience."