PiÈce De RÉsistance

Board Games as a Disruptive Innovation in Early Grade Education

Authored by: Jennifer Dickens , Eric Dickens , Craig Vivian

Handbook of Cultural Studies and Education

Print publication date:  November  2018
Online publication date:  November  2018

Print ISBN: 9780815385080
eBook ISBN: 9781351202398
Adobe ISBN:


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Recent pedagogical innovations in the gaming hobby and an explosive growth in the board game industry have introduced new ideas in game design, alternative approaches to game-play, and curricular opportunities involving games that did not exist previously. These recent changes to the conceptual and practical aspects of gaming can be leveraged to challenge the standardization of education by allowing children to explore fundamental knowledge domains using the medium of board games. Board game designers and manufacturers now create and distribute engaging experiences through gaming that afford children playful autonomy, collaborative incentives, and creative possibilities. Learning episodes that involve gaming capitalize on children’s proclivity to engage in narrative and social learning rather than individualizing and decontextualizing their educative experiences. Drawing on the multiple disciplinary perspectives of the three authors, this chapter presents a narrative structure critiquing the current approach to early educational practice by weaving together an elementary ESL practitioner’s observations and concerns with the disciplinary suppositions of two education professors. In concert, they argue that board gaming offers unique openings to resist the incursions into education by purveyors of politics and business with a call to develop a learning culture in the early educative years based on the inherent learning opportunities in gaming mechanisms and structures.

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