Five Questions: David Shaffer, game scientist

I became interested in David Shaffer's work reading the MacArthur blog, Digital Media and Learning.

Given my interest in philosophy, his use of the word "epistemology" in conjunction with gaming jumped out at me because, as a method of knowing, it fits a kind of embodied, embedded knowing that people ranging from dancers to studio furniture makers experience all the time. The notion that we know through doing is also challenging ideas about sentient, intelligent behavior long held, for example, by philosophers and scientists working in artificial intelligence. Gaming, or knowing through doing, is a way of approaching old problems afresh.

I recently posed a few questions to David, who graciously agreed to answer them for readers of IFblog.

The following is a continuation of an occasional email interview series, "Five Questions." Other interviews may be found in the "five questions" category in the category cloud on the blog.

Thanks David,


1. What attracted you to computer gaming as an academic field?

What attracted me to the field was the fact that computers have created a world of global competition, where passing standardized tests only prepares you for standardized work that can be done for less money by someone a mouse-click away. The only good jobs in the digital age are for those who can think in innovative and creative ways to solve complex problems.

And that's just what good computer games can help children learn to do.