Affiliated with the University of California's systemwide
Humanities Research Institute
The MacArthur Foundation
I can’t play video games. I forget this simple fact every couple of years and a dark cloud swoops over Casa Garcia and I am enveloped in the feverish button mashing of some complex simulation for a hazy month or two. I have the kind of personality where, once I’ve begun playing a game, I am consumed.
In high school, around the time I should have been doing research on colleges, keeping up with homework, and diligently eyeing my GPA as an eager-to-get-into-my-preferred-university high school junior, I started playing the Sims. The sandbox-like nature of the game: hey, create a family, build a house, throw a party! was open enough for me to want to continue developing and supporting the microcosm of life on display on my flickering computer screen. I wasn’t even good at the game: I would aimlessly click and send characters wherever. Sometimes trapping unsuspecting parents in a basement and erasing any means of escape, I was drunk on my god-like powers.
I was reminded of all of this, recently, when watching a video describing a recent game coming out today for SimCityEDU called Pollution Challenge! made by GlassLab, a nonprofit video game development group focused on creating next-generation educational video games and assessment. Built around the most recent iteration of the city-building and management game SimCity, Pollution Challenge! focuses on getting middle school students to think about environmental issues in cities and the kinds of critical problem-solving skills needed to look at complex, 21st century challenges.
Describing her feelings overcoming an obstacle within the game, a middle school student says, “Being in charge for once is kind of cool.”
Civic LessonsWhile descriptions of the game tend to focus on how it helps with critical thinking and guiding students to learn from previous mistakes, I suspect the more powerful (and difficult to assess) outcome is how students see their role as citizens. Can a game like Pollution Challenge! move students to consider ways they can address similar challenges within their own communities?
I'm a big advocate of student publications. Many have some great ideas to share, and we encourage student blogging very strongly in Plymouth. There is nothing to stop them going farther and publishing their work in mainstream journals - if their work is good enough it should be shared widely. It's also very motivating for them. Some of my previous students have published in journals in the past few years. Check out this little gem from Dan Kennedy on the VLE/PLE debate. I'm therefore very pleased that we have another success. A 3rd year research assignment by one of my students Lucy Kitching (which I subsequently collaborated on and helped her re-write for publication) has appeared in the current issue of the prestigious and highly accessed online open access journal European Journal of Open, Distance and E-Learning. Congratulations Lucy! Here is the title and abstract:
Playing Games: Do Game Consoles have a Positive Impact on Girls’ Learning Outcomes and Motivation?
Games based learning is currently a hotly debated topic in education and is a fertile field of study (Holmes, 2011; Abrams, 2009). Many schools are exploring ways in which games can be embedded into the curriculum, to enhance learning through deeper engagement and higher levels of motivation (Miller and Robertson, 2010). This paper explores the use of game consoles to support learning for young students (ages 8-11) and evaluates their recent success in primary education. Over time game consoles and video games have been portrayed as a male oriented technology. This research investigated the current use of game consoles in learning and how it might positively affect a child’s learning and motivation, but focused solely on female students’ experiences. In the study we investigated the research question: ‘Do game consoles have a positive impact on girls’ learning and motivation?’ A semi-structured questionnaire was distributed to girls in Key Stage 2 (n=49) across three schools that have already incorporated game consoles into their curriculum.
This is another in a series of blog posts written by students from my Public Intellectuals seminar in USC’s Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism. Chivalry is Dead: SUBA51′s Killer Is Dead, Gigolos, and The Status of (Virtual) Women by James B. Milner I usually don’t purchase video games without doing my homework. This [...]
In a series we're dubbing How Do I Do It?, our inaugural course "Design a Classroom Game" brings together a team of game designers, learning designers and teachers who will lead you through the process of designing your own learning game to play with your students.
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A new Kickstarter project aims to bring tactile learning to the iPad through the usage of an innovative game controller.The post Kickstarter Project cloudBoard Brings Tactile Learning To The iPad appeared first on Edudemic.