G. Cappuccio

University of Palermo (ITALY)
The reflections contained in this research work deal with the educational challenge launched by the cultural and social phenomenon of videogames, which have become less pure forms of entertainment and fun, and in itself and more and more, metaphors of the big game of the reality of life.
Many of the earliest scholar studies which emanated from the research laboratories of pedagogical departments were typically concerned with the possible effect of games and young players.

For a long time, videogames have been forgotten as educative medium because they have been considered as mere trifles – low art – carrying none of the weight, gravitas or credibility of more traditional media. The diversity of mobile, social network, console and PC games challenges our definitions about what a “videogame” might be now and in the future. Yet, videogames, challenge our notions of identity, creativity and moral value, and provide a powerful new avenue for teaching and learning. Videogames are a fine icon of contemporary culture; they’re intellectual and emotional places of experimentation, creation of new languages, social interaction and exploration of the world.

Schools, workplaces, families and academic researchers have a lot to learn about learning from good computers and video games. Such games incorporate a whole set of fundamental learning principles, principles that can be used in other settings, for example in teaching in schools. In fact, the learning principles that good games incorporate, are all strongly supported by contemporary research in cognitive science. The science that studies human thinking and learning through laboratory research, studies of the brain and research at actual learning places like classrooms and workplaces [e.g., see Bruer 1993; Clark 1997; Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt 1997; Lave 1996; New London Group 1996; Lave and Wenger 1991].

The seemingly bewildering variety of game types renders it almost inevitable that game theorists, journalists and marketers have attempted to find ways of classify and make more manageable the object of their attentions. By far the most frequently used tool has been genre. The generic classification of videogames is so widely employed that it is often easy to overlook it altogether or merely consider it as natural.

One of the possible forms of videogame education is that of promoting its understanding and educative usage.

The present work, starting from the construction of an evaluation grid, aims at analyzing videogame products in order to learn how to think critically.
From an educational point of view, the data presented are meant to be functional tools to stimulate thinking activity and to activate appropriate mental processes in children.

The research dealt with the analysis of 50 video games designed for children aged 3 to 10 years of age.