For the Love of Learning – Learning and Video Games – Epi#83




Show Title:

For the Love of Learning Episode 83

Learning and Video Games


Monday November 21, 2016  8:00 pm – 10:00 pm EST
Tuesday November 22, 2016 1:00 am – 3:00 am GMT



Peter Gray
Francesca Rao
Emil Zitlau
Kaameel Chicktay
Tameer Chicktay
Luis Fernando Jack
Lukas Lantz



There is no arguing that video games are an intrinsic part of today’s culture and no indication that they are going away anytime soon. Still, there are two schools of thoughts about them. Those that believe video games are a positive aspect to people’s lives, and those that believe they are negative.

As the gaming industry becomes bigger and better, kids are growing up with video games on their computers, tablets, and smartphones and consoles. Learning systems are being designed to mimic games, and in turn, games are integrated into our daily lives in so many ways. Since video games have the capacity to engage children, teens and adults alike, there are more and more positive outcomes attributed to gaming than once thought possible.

The benefits of playing video games have been considered by the experts for years, research dating from the early 1980s has consistently shown that playing video games produces more agility, improved hand-eye co-ordination and raises players’ self-esteem. Others argue that video games boost memory, support cognitive health and sharpen decision making.

However, most reported effects of video games – particularly in the popular press – appear to centre upon the alleged negative consequences, like addition to playing, desensitization to violence and less time outside or in nature.

We’ve got a lot to talk about and an incredible panel to explore all of these issues with.

Dr. Peter Gray


Peter Gray, research professor of psychology at Boston College, has conducted and published research in neuroendocrinology, developmental psychology, anthropology, and education. He is author of an internationally acclaimed introductory psychology textbook (Psychology, Worth Publishers, now in its 7th edition), which views all of psychology from an evolutionary perspective. His recent research focuses on the role of play in human evolution and how children educate themselves, through play and exploration, when they are free to do so. He has expanded on these ideas in his book, Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life (Basic Books). He also authors a regular blog called Freedom to Learn, for Psychology Today magazine. His own play includes not only his writing and research, but also long distance bicycling, kayaking, backwoods skiing, and vegetable gardening. Before joining the faculty at Boston College, he earned his undergraduate degree at Columbia College and Ph.D. in biological sciences at the Rockefeller University, and taught at Hunter College and City College in New York.

Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier, More Self-Reliant, and Better Students for Life, is now available in paperback and for the kindle.

See also his Psychology Today blog and and join him on Facebook

Francesca Rao

Francesca Rao is an Unschooling mum to Reuben (8) and Isaac (6) who has a background in Fine Art, Psychology (she trained as a Psychodynamic Counsellor) and taught English for the British Council for many years.

She used to travel with the boys in a camper van and ran the (now retired) Free Range Explorers blog, Lainie featured them on her Raising Miro website here:

Francesca became passionate about gaming when her father bought her a Commodore computer in the 80s and she realised she had to learn to code if she was to play any games on it! She has identified as a gamer and computer geek ever since, even teaching a class for a number of years on IT and computer programming logic.

When the boys also displayed a love of gaming, she was happy to partner them and they spend a lot of time playing together in co-op mode, making cosplay costumes based on video game characters and even travelling to Minecon, the Minecraft (their favourite game) convention.

Emil Zitlau

Emil is 28 years old and the father of a 2 year old boy.

He studied logistics at the TU (technical university) in Dortmund, Germany. During the end of his studies he realized that the so often highly praised path of higher education and a well paid job won’t bring him happiness.

After this, Emil founded his own tutoring institute in order to help students with problems at school. During the following 3 years he got to feel the whole scale of misery and failure of the schooling system. These experiences as well as the documentary film ‘Alphabet’ brought him to the topic of unschooling and the talks and writings of one of the movement’s most famous representative in Europe, André Stern.

After Emil’s son was born 2 years ago, other related topics also came to his interest: radical unschooling, attachment parenting, need-based parenting, unconditional love and child development.

At the moment he spends his time at home with his son and is enrolled in education studies at the Uni Hagen, Germany, in order to research those topics further on an academic level. He’s training to be a transformative life coach, he just got enrolled in the Neufeld diploma course and he’s an active member of the Schulfrei-Bewegung e.V. which informs about and promotes education outside of school in Germany.

Gaming has been a great passion for Emil since age 6 when he got his first video game console (Sega). He’s spent a lot of time playing through all existing genres and he probably hasn’t missed a big title in the last 15 years. His favourite genres are story-driven action adventure games und strategy-based games. Looking back he thinks playing video games helped developing many of his greatest skills and abilities like analytic and strategic thinking and managing things simultaneously.

Kaameel Chicktay

Kaameel is 18 years old. He’s been unschooled his whole life and wouldn’t have it any other way. Well actually, he did attend school for a day once….. worst day of his life LOL! But yeah. He lives in South Africa (Beautiful Country…. just with a tad bit of crime). He’s just a boy making his way in this fascinating world. Learning and Growing everyday.


Tameer Chicktay
Tameer is 17 and lives in South Africa. He’s been an unschooler all his life. He’s ever so grateful to be an unschooler, as unschooling gives him the freedom to choose how he uses his time and thus creating a much more enjoyable and productive lifestyle. When he was younger he played tennis on a daily basis for several years and now his current lifestyle is set around competitive gaming.

Luis Fernando Jack


Luis is 17, he lived his first 3 years in Ecuador, the next 3 years in Philadelphia and Florida and moved to Norway in 2005 when he was 6 years old. He and his older brother went to school in Norway for 4 years. The family then realized that they needed more time together, they had already enjoyed homeschooling in the US, and returned to that lifestyle.
Luis’ style of education has been unschooling for facts, but required practice with skills like writing, math and argumentation. His interests include just about everything – Lego early on and more real life technical skills recently, like programming, building new computers from old bits, DJ-ing, percussion, karate, a cactus garden, and growing vegetables.

Lukas Lantz


Lukas is a sixteen year old unschooler who lives in Åland Islands, Finland. He loves to both play music and listen to music, it’s a hobby that he really enjoys! Lukas also likes to write and read. Another thing he does very often is playing videogames with his friends.



Lainie Liberti

As always, you can find out more about your host, Lainie Liberti at her website and the alternative education & world schooling project she runs with her teenage son at: You can also connect with her on twitter @ilainie & facebook.

For full archives of this show and programming schedule, please visit: 

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For comments, questions, suggestions or if you’d like to be guest on the show, please contact us here.

1 Comment

  1. Mary Jack

    Amazingly interesting show with a brilliant variety of panelists. Super lucky to have a heavy-weight with an open mind and familiarity with current research on board!
    I just wanted to add a super example of collateral learning – Luis plays an online game which Russians seem to like (western Russia is only 1-2 hours ahead of us in Norway) so he has learned to swear in Russian. Of course he didn’t start playing that game in order to learn to swear in Russian!
    Also regarding socializing – Luis plays with a gang of 4-5 who live 3 hours south of us, plus 1-2 in Sweden, plus Lukas (from this show) in Finland. Due to the friendships developed through gaming, they also play Cards Against Humanity through Skype – not strictly gaming, but clearly raucous fun.
    Thanks for a great program!


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