While Paint-a-Long is a great resource in the classroom as I have previously mentioned in Video Gaming Blog Post #2, I do think the game lacks a few critical components. While Paint-a-Long is age appropriate for a 1st grade classroom, it has limited ability to reach students and develop further learning. Examples of limitations are the lack of manipulation and distributed knowledge. As Paint-a-Long is not action based, there is not an opportunity for students to engage in a space that is unfamiliar to them. Due to the creativity and artistic nature of Paint-a-Long, there is not an opportunity for players to engage in well-ordered problems that would lead to critical thinking and problem solving skills. Gee’s Principles suggest that meaning is made through actions, goals and experiences. In addition, it is claimed that digital games for 21st-century learning environments that further develop learning are: interaction in the social and material world, and participation in distributed social organizations (Squire 22). The simplicity of Paint-a-Long does not allow the opportunity for players to participate in problem solving, or self-organizing learning communities. With Paint-a-Long lacking several aspects of real-world digital games such as community building, and simulation, the app is a great resource when a teacher implements it in the classroom correctly. I think Paint-a-Long can lead to more purposeful and hands-on learning experiences for students, but it needs to be paired with other instructional strategies and activities for holistic learning of students.
Gee, J.P. (2007) Good video games + good learning : collected essays on video games, learning, and literacy. Chapter 4: Good video games, the human mind, and good learning. New York : Peter Lang. pp. 22-44.