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Serious Games for Transformative Learning : A Communication Perspective on the Radical Binarisation of Everyday Life

Serious Games for Transformative Learning : A Communication Perspective on the Radical Binarisation of Everyday Life
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Author(s): Thomas J. Yannuzzi (Penn State University, USA) and Bryan G. Behrenshausen (Millersville University, USA)
Copyright: 2010
Pages: 29
Source title: Interdisciplinary Models and Tools for Serious Games: Emerging Concepts and Future Directions
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Richard Van Eck (University of North Dakota, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-719-0.ch004



This chapter discusses the ways in which an understanding of key concepts from both communication studies and critical pedagogy can improve the use of serious games in learning environments. By exploring a history of educational theory that champions the ontological work of critical pedagogy, the authors note how critical self-reflection can be facilitated by serious games. This chapter then distinguishes between models of human communication as information transfer (on which some educational gaming situations are implicitly based) and models of human communication as social construction, or a process of co-constructing social realities and identities (on which new and future gaming situations might be based) as a way of demonstrating to both designers and educators the benefits of viewing games communicatively. Because video games are symptom and emblem of life in informatic control societies, their role in education is exceedingly important for cultivating students’ critical reflection on the binarisation of everyday life (which is increasingly structured by algorithmic logics that polarize lived experience). Serious games often provide opportunities for gamers to become “experts” of scientific or informational knowledge and often more skilled technique—or skilled, technical know-how. However, they often fail to provide opportunities for critically reflective practice or the development of praxis. Incredibly rapid technological/scientific advancements in societies focused on production leave little room for mindful activity. Although we continue to “advance,” we often fail to unite two fundamental aspects of critical learning: the moral and political (praxis) with the technical and productive (techne). Serious games can assist in doing this.

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