Wednesday, 17 October 2012

#mLearn12 Lauri Jarvilehto on #games the learning playing brain

Learning as Fun: introducing gaming pedagogy by Lauri Jarvilehto.
www.filosofianakatemia.fi

Wonderful keynote linking gaming to pedagogy to neuro-science!

We can reproduce relevant information, because we engaged in it previously.

Games that truly engage children and high quality substance, might result in the best possible learning.

Flow channel: learning and engagement (Milhaly Csikszentmihalyi) sits on an axis of challenges and skills.

Boredom: (interesting Tedtalk Robinson related to ADHD non-accurancy) versus anxious.
Flow = total immersion of something that is happening now (cfr the Zone).

As teachers, you can redirect children into the flow.
We all have the neural mechanisms to get into the flow, but we need to be lucky!

Learning and the brain
Learning => new neuron connections.
The brain is constantly evolving.

Concentrated work: you need to switch of outside impulses.
Creative thinking is pushed by games, colorful things...
=> due to constant dynamic of our brain and how it is wired.

Dopamine is the most rewarding hormone => works at optimal level, giving a good feeling, it pushes our prefrontal areas to concentrate better. The neural links are strong and lasting, so being engaged and happy strengthens your learning and knowledge durability.
But overactivating the dopamine level => getting anxious.
Brain study of emotion has shown that emotion pushes learning (ex. sick by soup => no longer soup).

2 successful learning: having fun or dictatorship system => both result in emotionally constructed learning. Example: tiger mom approach (VERY strict raising, ex. Agassi's dad, forced to play tennis).

So how do we get our children into learning and play
Playing is an evolutionary requirement of every living creature (Stuart Brown: how it shapes the brain, 2009).

Experiment: stop playing (no intrinsical motivation), only do 'serious work'. By the end of one day, the majority of people showed sever symptoms of depression. Playing is at the very heart of what we are.
Play is also optimal for getting into the flow. And play can push us just a little bit further, hence learning.
Neuroplasticity is one of the major neuro-science fields of today (e.g. the brain can restructure, if a certain area is disconnected, other parts of the brain can take over, BUT the challenges first need to be lowered to get back into the flow).

Games (and horror) rise the dopamine levels in the brain => affecting learning.
Good games automatically adjust to the gaming actors.

Danger of non serious games: a game without substance will lift the dopamine level, but without a learning award (e.g. Angry birds (classic), there is Angry birds Space (substance)).

Substance is VERY important to get a meaningful, rewarding experience.
Example dragonbox: algebra application with really complex algebra, and based on dragons and boxes.

We all have all the tools available, so let's see what we can out of this.

(Inge, look at this flow model for your own learning!)