David Aldridge, Edge Hill University.
The PESGB Birmingham Branch seminar series will resume this year and all members are warmly invited to attend. Seminars run from 5pm to 6.30pm.
David Aldridge is Professor of Education and Philosophy and Head of Department of Secondary and Further Education at Edge Hill University, UK. He is an editor of British Educational Research Journal, an assistant editor of Journal of Philosophy of Education, and a co-editor of Routledge’s Literature and Education book series.
This work in progress explores the intersection of philosophy of games and philosophy of education, particularly to the extent that this encounter can inform the field of educational game design and the ‘use’ of games in educational contexts.
There is considerable interest in learning through games in the general literature of education, and philosophers of education have shown some interest in particular in ‘serious games’, but there has been little engagement in education with the philosophy of games – particularly some well-developed discussions about what makes a game a ‘game’. There is also a reasonably extensive literature on the philosophy of educational ‘play’, but such work may – for reasons I will elaborate – have very little to do with the ‘play’ specifically of games.
Philosophers of games have developed some interesting critiques of the use of games in educational contexts – particularly the Higher Education phenomenon of ‘gamification’ – but work in this field shows a limited awareness of well-developed philosophical discussions of the nature and purposes of education.
There is little doubt that games, when encountered as such, can be educational and even personally transformative. But an interesting note of caution emerges when the insights from these two fields are assembled alongside each other. A game undergoes a transformation when employed instrumentally in an educational context. Somewhat counter-intuitively, while the game might remain a game even when played in school, it is precisely a game’s educative potential that diminishes when it is put to use in an ‘educational’ context.
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