Finally, a proponent of the use of video games as an educational tool! I've always wanted kids to play Civilization for background knowledge on history, geography and politics; and to practice resource management, among other useful little skills. I found KOTOR a stimulating exercise in moral and ethical decision-making. Wildly careening down the crowded streets of the various NFS incarnations has probably honed my driving sense -- that is, to recognize dangerous driving, curb my own reckless behaviour and avoid other mad drivers while in reality-mode (though I nearly got myself, NBS and HP killed the other day. It's not infallible). In real-life, there are no cheat codes.
While video games are no substitute for proper guidance, there is a lot of learning going on without the gamer being aware of it. Although I'm just thinking of knowledge learning, Prof Shaffer is advocating using video games to train students in juggling technology in a multi-tasking environment in preparation for working life in the 21st century.
Shaffer sees even the US education system as not having changed much since the curriculum was put together in the 19th century. Today's world belongs to the innovator, not the assembly-line worker, so he's urging education to move towards the ideas market instead of remaining entrenched in drill-and-practice, the tried-and-tested method of the distant past.
So, our l33t gaming prowess is going to advantage us when we frag our job-hunting mugger-toad competitors to bleedin' giblets in a couple of years' time. Serves 'em right too! Who'd have thunk it?
P.S. Even S'pore has already moved to introduce video games into our learning experience (could they be referring to the Neopets involvement in the NE programme 3 or 4 years ago, I wonder?). It says so in the article: here.