Home' Teacher : August 2010 Contents 32 TEACHER AUGUST 2010
skills and functions, which each player
then makes available to the team, and
players develop team affiliations through
a com mon endeavour or quest.
These learning principles demonstrate
that in digital games, game-based learning
means learning through, about and for the
Learning through, about and for
Our problem according to Dennis Hemphill,
is that, 'Solong as sport isdescribedas sim-
ply the demonstration of physical skill, it
will remain a second rate form of knowl-
edge,' relegated in our cultural divide
between white-collar intellectual work and
manual blue-collar work to second place in
As Hemphill observes, though, 'If we
use an alternative way to look at sport, it
could stand alongside literacy and nu mer-
acy as an equally valued way of knowing.'
Understanding the contribution sport makes
to learning, rather than seeing it as simply
accumulated physical skills in the HPE
curriculum and school sporting programs,
has the potential to more prominently rec-
ognise the psychological, sociological and
vocational dimensions of learning through
At Flinders University, 'sport literacy'
is now being used as a way to bridge best-
practice sport teaching curriculum models
and 21st- century digital game -based learn-
ing principles. The emphasis on sport liter-
acy, rather than just sport, is to indicate the
functional uses of sport knowledge in mul-
tiple contexts. Sport literacy recognises that
there is a competency in comprehending and
using the text, so to speak, of sport, that this
competency is acquired over time, and that
it can be explicitly taught and transferred
across varying sport forms. There are four
distinct aspects of sport literacy, to do with:
sport as an applied, practised and situ-
ated set of skills
sport as a body of knowledge with mean-
ing that can be interpreted, understood
and used creatively
sport as a socially and culturally con-
structed 'text' which can be communi-
cated and read in various forms, and
sport as a learning process.
Sport literacy offers us a way to recon-
struct sport that goes beyond the traditional
dualist separation between physical learn-
ing and mental or cognitive learning, which
positions the former as academically infe-
rior to the latter. It understands sport as an
articulation of intelligent behaviour, where
intelligence is understood as the capacity to
comprehend, understand and reason in a
way that allows the successful negotiation
of a body of knowledge which is dynamic
and changing in nature.
There are clear links between sport and
digital games, and between sport and learn-
ing through sport literacy. It's time we edu-
cators started making use of them.
Shane Pill is Lecturer in Physical Educ a-
tion Studies in the School of Education
of the Faculty of Education, Humanities,
Law and Theology at Flinders University.
Bransford, J., Brown , A. & Cocking, R.
(1999). How People Lear n: Brain, mind,
experience, and school. Washington,
D.C .: National Ac ademy Press.
Gee, J. (2007). Good Video Games and
Good Learning. Ne w York: Peter Lang.
Hemphill, D. (2008). Sport smart.
Educ ation Re view (20 February): 15.
Lindley, C . (2003). Game taxonomies:
A high level framework for game an aly-
sis and design. Available at http://www.
Prensky, M. (2005). Engage me or enrage
me: What today's learners demand.
Educause Review. 40(5): 60-64.
Prensky, M. (2001a). Digital natives, dig-
ital immigrants, part 1. On the Horizon.
Prensky, M. (2001b). Digital n atives,
digital immigrants, part 2: Do they really
think differently? On the Horizon. 9(6):
'So long as sport is
described as simply
the demonstration of
physical skill, it will remain
a second rate form of
knowledge,' relegated in
our cultural divide between
work and manual blue-
collar work to second
place in our schools.
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