I must take issue with your comments on Vygtosky. I can say most emphatically that Vygtosky would not support video games as the more knowledgeable other. In fact, video games don’t speak to the ZPD at all. I realize that Dr. Gee (et al) often use this terminology but it is not typically used in concordance with Vygtosky’s intentions.
It’s worth noting that Vygotsky spent little time (6 pages out of thousands) on the ZPD and for the record, the ZPD requires assessment to determine.
To clarify, Vygotsky supports the ZPD to be used by an educator to determine the exact gap between what a child cannot do, and what a child can do with a little help. You’re right in calling that a growth area, but Vygotsky would not support interaction with video games as a form of this growth. In fact, he advocated interaction between a child and the Ideal Form of Behavior, which he meant as an adult.
As an aside, Vygotsky would not support peer groups as a form of the ZPD either. I often hear educators use the ZPD as a reason to have students work together on something, but it simply isn’t the case.
Let me direct you to some resources on the matter.
Gredler, M. E. & Shields, C. (2008). Vygotsky’s legacy: A foundation for research and practice. New York: Guilford.
Gredler, M. E. (2005). Learning and instruction: Theory into practice (5th ed.). New York: Prentice Hall.
Gredler, M. E. & Shields, C. (2004). Does no one read Vygotsky’s words? Commentary on Glassman (201). Educational Researcher, 33(2), 21-25.
I study under Dr. Gredler, a tenured professor who studied under Robert Gagne (can’t figure out how to put the accent on the e, yikes) and who has spent years researching Vygotsky and has read his entire works many times. She is considered a leading authority on the matter.
I invite you to revisit Vygotsky and I think your understanding will change a bit, especially in terms of video games.
I am well familiar with the Schaffer (sp?), Gee, Steinkeuhler (oh gosh what is her husband’s name? drawing a blank, his thesis was Civilization in a high school history class and he’s also at the U of Wisconsin-Madison), Dede, etc etc.
For an alternate perspective, let me point you to such folks as Feldon at Washington State, Clark, Yates, others at the U of Southern Califorina (his book Learning and Media is excellent, 2001) and others.
Point is this, there is an alternative viewpoint to the whole debate of video games in education, but many do not accept valid counter arguments due to the “fun” nature of video games.
To sum it up, after having read much in this area and after having completed a lengthy lit review concerning MUVE’s in K-12, I just don’t see the evidence for video games having a direct effect on learning content matter.
Notice, I’m looking for researched evidence, not anecdote. In fact, I’d say that video games in education can be harmful to learning content matter.
Notice I’m talking about content matter, not learning how to design prims in Second Life. I’m talking about learning the basics that we all need to know, the 3 R’s.
Sorry for the long comment, but I think much clarification is needed here.