Serious Gaming and 21st Century Skills

Samnath, Kayla 

IL: information literacy and 21st century skills

Romero, M., Usart, M., & Ott, M. (2014). Can Serious Games Contribute to Developing and Sustaining 21st Century Skills? Games and Culture, 10(2), 148-177. doi:10.1177/1555412014548919
            This article examined if serous gaming could help develop 21st century skills. Authors Romero, Usart, and Ott (2014) first define and explain the need for 21st century skills. 21st century skills encompass the idea that technology has become “an entire strategy for how to live, survive, and thrive” in this new day and age (p. 149). Younger generations “communicate, buy and sell, search information, and socialize differently” (p. 149). Now a day’s technology has enabled most everybody to not only information share with peers, but with others all around the world. Some sets of skills used as an example are personal skills, social skills, and learning skills. These skills involve “the ability to rapidly filter huge amounts of incoming data; extracting information valuable for decision making, and the ability to separate signal from noise in a potentially overwhelming flood of incoming data” (p. 151). After defining what 21st century skills are, and why they are necessary, the authors then focus on defining what they mean by “serious gaming”. According to the authors, serious gaming (or SG) is education oriented, and that “games in which education (in its various forms) is the primary goal, rather than entertainment” (p. 151).
            The authors explain how “games enable an active learning approach that encourages critical thinking, group communication, debate and decision making” (p. 167). These mirror what scholars have defined as 21st century skills. For example serious games have challenges that promote collaboration, competition, strategy and tactics that are used within the mechanics of the game (168). In a day and age where technology is connection everyone, serious games promote these skills and enable massive amounts of learning.
            I found this article to be quite interesting and helpful. It examined 21st century skills in terms of serious games. I felt this to be quite important due to the fact that gaming is on the rise. It is very relevant in terms of today’s youth culture. Technology and gaming are synonymous, and this has implemented the need for 21stcentury skills.  With new technology emerging daily, the ways people learn and interact with their environment is forever changed.  
            For a reader who is unsure of how to define or examine 21st century skills, this article does a great job explaining them through the example of serious games. The article offers a large chart on data gathered by the authors that compare certain 21stcentury skills to skills acquired through gaming. Some of the major examples used are: Collaboration and teamwork, communication, computer/digital literacy, social skills, creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, self-direction, adaptability, manage and solve conflicts. This article does a great job in assisting novices to understand the importance of 21st century skills and what they can offer learners.

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