Week 12 post

Among all the latest technologies out there used in the field of education, I am probably the least informed about the world of gaming and simulation. I do play a few games on my ipod and laptop, but haven’t done any investigation into the world of educational games yet.

My first findings for this week led me to this article: http://www.mobiledia.com/news/138081.html

I particularly liked the idea of playing games to have tuition paid for. A bit too late for me. J And, Tuthopper has me envious. This company is focused on introducing and instructing children in code.

Having said that, I am not all that ready to join the bandwagon of virtual reality as an educational platform. I tried it for a class I took a while ago, and I have to say I wasn’t convinced that my learning experience improved because of it. That’s why I had to read “Why Virtual Worlds Can Matter.” The authors did get me to make  couple of paradigm shifts: participating in games such as World of Wars can help people develop a greater ability to adapt to change. And, this is so true of the times we live in. The second shift is in the whole concept of “learning to be” before learning about—reverse of what happens in a traditional setting. Reminds of that proverbial situation—learning to swim when you’re pushed into the deep end of the pool.

One of my biggest concerns is the amount of resources required to build and maintain virtual worlds. Is it worth the effort and money? The success story reported here is encouraging.  I also enjoyed reading about the SuperCharged game in “Open-Ended Video Games: A Model for Developing Learning for the Interactive Age.” Physics can be tough to chew. With games like these, students can be more “charged” about electromagnetism. What rings true about MIT students who found it challenging to grasp concepts from textbooks being more successful when introduced educational games is also true for lots of students across the country. But, like the report notes, games can only engage the student to a certain extent. After that, it’s up to the parents, mentors, and teachers to encourage students to continue pursuing that field of learning.

I love that some games give students the opportunity to participate in differentiated roles. This should give them a sense of their strengths, interests—which, in turn, can help them determine what careers they would love to take up as adults.

So, is all game-based learning successful then? What I gleaned from the report: “Learning in Immersive worlds: A review of game-based learning Prepared” is that we still have a little ways to go before we can conclude with confidence about the most effective use of gaming in the field of education. But, I think it’s worth pursuing.

K-12 is not the only sector caught up with this gaming bug. Gamification is also making a splash in the corporate world. I can totally see myself enjoying a career in the corporate sector developing games that help employees accomplish their learning objectives.

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One thought on “Week 12 post

  1. I’m not getting on the bandwagon quite yet either. I like games but virtual worlds may actually distract learners during the learning process. I have an example. This semester, for a design course, IST R541, I worked with a team to create an online module. The subject was using the flipped classroom approach to implement UDL principles. We thought it would be interesting to use virtual characters in the module. At first I refused because I assumed that the voices would sound too robotic. However, we found this site, http://www.xtranormal.com, and discovered that you could choose different accents. One character had a British accent with a better inflection than the others, so we decided to give it a shot. We conducted our first pilot test with one person today. For the question, What did you like least about the module?, this was the participant’s comment: “The language of the characters-very robotic.” Sigh.

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