Game-Based curricula, personal engagement, and the modern prometheus design project

Sasha Barab, Patrick Pettyjohn, Melissa Gresalfi, Maria Solomou

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

6 Scopus citations


Once understood in the context of the narratives that give it meaning, law becomes not merely a system of rules to be observed, but a world in which to live. We have reached a challenging junction at which, on the one hand, teachers and schools face increased pressure to prepare students for standardized tests, whereas, on the other hand, they face a generation of students who regard the school curriculum as largely irrelevant to their own lives. It has become all too common to develop curricula and teach domain content distinct from the people, places, and situations through which the content has meaning. While it is expected that the information learned will somehow, later, be connected to those situations in which it is useful and meaningful, this is rarely what occurs. All too often the knowledge students “acquire” in schools remains inert (Whitehead, 1929), something demonstrated on a test in a school context where it can be traded for a grade but not applied to a situation in which it has intrinsic worth (Lave, 1991, 1997; Wenger, 1998). The irony is that we then wonder why children appear unmotivated to learn after we have disconnected meaning from the learning situation, assuming that the learner somehow will attribute the same functional value to the information as the teacher does Unless we begin to engage youth in rich situations that add meaning to disciplinary concepts – as part of the learning process – the content of schools will be perceived as a thing to be acquired and exchanged for a test score (having exchange value) and not as a useful tool that has direct functional value in the world or to the learner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGames, Learning, and Society
Subtitle of host publicationLearning and Meaning in the Digital Age
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9781139031127
ISBN (Print)9780521196239
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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