What did Bates miss?


Bates provides us with Computing, which Mobile shares affordances with, and Social Media as a subcategory, which Mobile serves as platform for, but Mobile offers potentials that Computing doesn’t cover, and Social Media’s potential is better realized on Mobile. Instagram is designed for Mobile. And there are apps that only for mobile and not computers. Mobile is flexible, allows for greater mobility and offers unique affordances.

Video Games and Digital Game-Based Learning

Bates uses the umbrella term computing to lump together many media, but singles out social media as a subcategory due to their unique characteristics.

Bates make brief mentions of games, under social media. They can be social but do not necessarily have to be so, and they provide very different affordances than social media.

Digital Game-Based Learning (DGBL) was defined by Mark Prensky in his book, bearing the same name, back in 2001. The educational use of MineCraft has been significant in the past few years and MineCraft Educational Edition was released last year. The strategy game, Civilization V is being made to available to high schools in the education edition titled CivilizationEDU.

Bates provides Lord of the Rings Online as an example of massively multi-player role-playing games (MMORPGs) , and there are many other examples of MMORPGs available (i.e. World of Warcraft, Dark Souls 1-3). Online multi-player games are social and collaborative, but single player and offline games can be used for teaching and learning, which would make them part of computing. Learners could build or explore in MineCraft on their own. And social is contextual: it can be online with voice chat or text chat, or it can be in a physical shared space, such as a computer lab, with verbal communication between learners while. The former is commonly the case when schools use MineCraft.

Virtual Worlds: Augmented and Virtual Reality

Bates touches upon virtual worlds and offers Second Life as an example, which is a form of a MMORPG, but not viewed as a “proper” game by its developer because it has no objectives much like MineCraft. But Bates misses Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). AR, as I mentioned in a previous post, have been well used by museums. Pokémon Go has made AR mainstream in a huge way. VR has recently gone mainstream with the release of Sony’s PS4 VR. There are multi-user versions of VR, primarily in the form of games.


Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Game-Based Learning. Retrieved from: http://marcprensky.com/digital-game-based-learning/

I don’t play MineCraft, but all four of my daughters started and one used it in school but only one still plays after several years. I tried but it was too challenging.

It’s a 3D procedurally generated, infinite environment “sandbox”, meaning the back end physics generate an endless, random, environment based on logic and rules.

There are several modes of plays in MineCraft: creative (build), adventure (explore), survival (well, survive) and hardcore (hardcore survival), which gives it appeal to a broad audience.

Players can build architecture and modify their environments or explore and modify downloaded maps and architectural models, such as pirate ships or the interiors of the Pyramids of Giza.

It was initially a single player game but there are multi-player servers allowing for multi-player interactions and experiences.

There are skins, mods, minimaps, texture packs, code you can download, etc.


About jhounslow

Soccer enthusiast, cyclist, web developer, e-learning professional, educator, husband to a graduate student, and father of four daughters.
This entry was posted in Augmented Reality (AR), Civilization, Digital Game-Based Learning (DGBL), EDTC0560, MineCraft, Mobile, Pokémon Go, Virtual Reality (VR). Bookmark the permalink.

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