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Andres Reyes

Let Them Play and Create!

3 min read

Reflection on Big Thinkers: Sasha Barab

    In the Big Thinkers video, Sasha Barab talks about media and its role on shaping literate comprehension in students.  Barab explains how media standards, even though well intended when first designed, are very uninteresting to students as well as being very limiting.  Barab explains how modern virtual learning spaces with slight gaming metrics grabs more of the student’s attention and excitement than that of mundane media. 






        Barab explains how society is at a different time and how textbook resources are, in a sense, outdated.  He tells how it’s really not about getting the information, but more about using the information.  Games give students a purpose from the get go.  The student has to think: “What are the rules of the world?” “What laws affect the world?” and “What happens when I do this, what happens?” He gives examples of different games like:

Trauma Center   ,



and Quest Atlantis                                                                 


                                                                                                                                                                       as games that require students to learn a bunch of information so they can accomplish certain goals in a game (save a life in surgery, level up a Pokémon or save a town) even better than previous attempts.  In this model, failure is a motivator and not something to be avoided.  An awesome quote by Barab is that if we limit students to be ignorant vessels to be filled with things, we are not creating futures for them at all.  A mantra said by professor McVerry and heard multiple times in our class. 





        According to Barab, we as future educators need to let parents know and have our voices heard that there are additions to the “old ways” of literacy and that this new media literacy will be determining the students’ future.  Memorizing facts is old-school…  We can find more information on our cell phones in 5 seconds than we can remember in our entire high school careers.  Educators need to advocate for ourselves and for what students do outside of school.  We can’t stay out of the “tech-game” and miss opportunities to transform the old institutions of academia into newer advance institutions where students are allowed to manipulate media and use games as a way to learn and create…



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