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The Anti-Education Era: Creating Smarter Students through Digital Learning by [Gee, James Paul]
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The Anti-Education Era: Creating Smarter Students through Digital Learning Kindle Edition


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Length: 257 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

One of the first champions of the positive effects of gaming reveals the dark side of today's digital and social media


Today's schools are eager to use the latest technology in the classroom, but rather than improving learning, the new e-media can just as easily narrow students' horizons. Education innovator James Paul Gee first documented the educational benefits of gaming a decade ago in his classic What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy. Now, with digital and social media at the center of modern life, he issues an important warning that groundbreaking new technologies, far from revolutionizing schooling, can stymie the next generation's ability to resolve deep global challenges. The solution-and perhaps our children's future-lies in what Gee calls synchronized intelligence, a way of organizing people and their digital tools to solve problems, produce knowledge, and allow people to count and contribute. Gee explores important strategies and tools for today's parents, educators, and policy makers, including virtual worlds, artificial tutors, and ways to create collective intelligence where everyday people can solve hard problems. By harnessing the power of human creativity with interactional and technological sophistication we can finally overcome the limitations of today's failing educational system and solve problems in our high-risk global world. The Anti-Education Era is a powerful and important call to reshape digital learning, engage children in a meaningful educational experience, and bridge inequality.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 700 KB
  • Print Length: 257 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press (8 January 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009OZN6KS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #426,334 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars 11 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars “how to get smart before it’s too late” 3 November 2016
By atisha - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Being an admirer of Gee’s previous work on Video Game’s educational potential, I had high hopes for this book. Judging from the title (which I now think is a ruse devised by the publisher) I thought it will attempt to answer critical questions such as what is digital learning and how it can have a positive impact on education. Well, the book is only tangentially about that. Of all the different kinds of activities the term “digital learning” may imply it advocates for online multiplayer games such as The Sims can create “affinity space”. And it is sort of implied that this will solve all our biggest problems.
In terms of structure the book is divided into two sections: the first, under the title ”how to be stupid”, gives an outline of the cognitive traits of human being. A large part of this is absolutely common sense. I waited and waited for some original insights to come up. But there is none. On the bright side of things, I think this introductory notes may serve well for middle school students in an elective course on human psychology. But the condescending tone may offend some of them.
The second part, “how to get smart before it’s too late”, has some lofty claims. Basically it argues that human minds work better together. Who can possibly disagree with this? And an example of this is that a disabled sixty year old woman can do really well in The Sims. But this sounds more like folk wisdom than serious proposal. Has the author ever heard of a term called “collective intelligence”?
In terms of style, I have to admit that in order to strive for an easy to digest style for the mass, an academic such as Gee has apparently abandoned any attempt at elegance and nuance. Seriously, casual blogs and discussion forums give me more reading pleasure. Turn to a random page I spot two sentences:
1. The Sims is the best-selling video game in history and has over the years come out in newer and newer versions. (Page 124)
2. This had one good effect and one bad one. The good effect was that more people could design and unleash their own creativity. The bad effect was that people needed to learn less and work less hard. (Page 125)
The book is permeated with this kind of lazy and vague wording that is ill-fitting for an accomplished writer and scholar and certainly doesn’t belong to a book that deals supposedly with the issue of education. I suspect this is one of the reasons why I, as well as some other readers, find it incredibly repetitive. Who can cope with a lack of style in language AND a lack of ideas in the same time?
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What universities should have been 24 July 2014
By Alan Broomhead - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
The Anti-Education Era is James Gee's attempt to describe "what would constitute a proper education for a person who wants to be a producer and not just a consumer, a participant and not just a spectator, an agent and not a victim in a world full of ideology, risk, fear, and uncertainty" (p. xii). The book's title, failing as it does to hint at Gee's grand vision for education, is either very modest or just plain off-target.

The big ideas:

Effective learning comprises a 'circuit of reflective action' involving observation, hypothesis testing, action in the world, modification of one's knowledge, observation, hypothesis testing, and on and on. Essentially the scientific method applied to all learning with the goal of seeking the truth.

The problem, according to Gee, is that there are so many ways for human beings to be stupid (his word), that this ideal is rarely attained. For example, people tell themselves 'mental comfort stories' that make them feel better but don't explain anything; they imagine their memories work like video cameras, faithfully recording the past; they try (or are made) to learn with inadequate context or experience; they isolate themselves in 'imagined kin groups' or in 'lonely groups of one'; and they believe pseudo-empirical stories such as creationism. People's failure to base their learning in an empirically-based circuit of reflective action has led to inequality and poverty, financial crises, environmental destruction, and many other ills.

Gee's most important insight is that the world is now so complex that it is time to realize we have "come to the limits of individual human intelligence and individual expertise" (p. 170). He argues that humans work best when they are connected to tools, and that they can use each others' minds as tools. "What if human beings are not meant to be individuals," he asks, "but rather, are meant to be parts of a bigger whole?" (p. 152) When human minds are integrated in the pursuit of a solution, what emerges is "a mind of minds" (p. 153), or what Gee calls Mind (with a capital M) as opposed to an individual mind (with a small m). Digital media can create an environment where individual minds can meet to form a greater problem-solving Mind, through the creation of 'affinity spaces,' of which there are already plenty on the internet.

This is what universities should be, but have failed to be, according to Gee. Instead, he believes, they are "agents of the short-term thinking and short-term profit seeking typical of our contemporary society" (p. 7). Ouch.

There are plenty of provocative ideas here, and they are grounded in the ideas of Gee's influential forebears. Students of Dewey or Vygotsky (or at least Vygotsky's successors) will recognize their influence in Gee's call for experience in education and his belief in the social basis of learning. When you read a book like this though, you might wonder if anyone is really taking notice, or if a voice like Gee's is just crying in the wilderness against the increasing trends toward vocationalism and credentialism in education.

Gee is a great thinker and a good writer, able to express important ideas clearly and in straightforward language. This is a stimulating read for educators, and might serve as the beginnings of a theoretical foundation for online or traditional educational design. It could change the way you think about learning, and if you are an educator, how you think about the organization of teaching.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We need to understand what is going on in education 25 February 2014
By Jesus Victor Fdez Roman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you are interested in the way technology is going to transform (transforming) education this book is a must.

James Paul Gee hits the key parts of education that are going to be altered via social media. Well written and well founded i definitely recommend this book if you are a teacher or a father.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars ... to read this for a class and it's soooo boring. I'm an avid reader do it wasn't even ... 8 October 2015
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Had to read this for a class and it's soooo boring. I'm an avid reader do it wasn't even so much that I hate to read as much as the fact that the book takes forever to get to the point and then iterates the same point over and over with little variation between chapters.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The book is too repetitive and boring. He could've written it with a third of ... 24 November 2015
By CarlaH - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book is too repetitive and boring. He could've written it with a third of the pages and he would still be able to make his point.