Educational Games and Simulations

One of my first quests for Edtech 532 involved watching this TED talk.  I have seen much better videos about gaming and how to use their mechanics in education. But this video is a good introduction if you haven’t read much about gaming. It starts with some staggering statistics on how much we are spending on games. The speaker, Tom Chatfield, eventually explains 7 ways in which games engage us. It’s a bit dry, but informative.

During the video, I found myself musing about creating a game-based learning math course. There are so many resources on the web (mostly low quality, but there are a few gems) that it seems like it would be easy enough to pull together a set of activities to create at least a mini-math quest. Without creating a few of my own tools or using offline materials, I could not cover all of the skills expected by the Common Core State Standards for any grade. But I could definitely create a game that could be used as a component of a math course. The teaching would happen offline, in the classroom. The game would be a way for students to maintain math skills they had learned. It would be the “spoonful of sugar” that would make homework more enjoyable.

Eventually, it is my goal to create a math game that does teach, in addition to provide practice, in a game-based format. This game will engage students, put them in the drivers seat of math in way that helps them understand it in a meaningful way, not just a memorization of rules. Students will learn math by doing math in situations they find interesting. Doing so will require a team of software developers, math education whizzes, and all sorts of creative types, just as game developers do. I am certain my ideas for this game will continue to morph this semester. I’ll be throwing out what doesn’t work and pulling in more of what works. It’ll be an interesting process of refinement that I am curious to see develop over the coming months.


AECT Standards

1.1 Instructional Systems Design — Viewing and reflecting on this video gave me the opportunity to analyze elements of game-based learning. These elements, when combined thoughtfully in gaming applications, can be key to engaging and motivating students to go beyond the effort they may normally put towards their learning.

2.3 Computer Based Technologies — The mechanics of game-based learning are best managed and most effective when they are incorporated into computer-based technologies. Computers allow us to analyze bits of data and tailor education in a way that’s just not possible in a non-digital format.

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One response to “Educational Games and Simulations

  1. Pingback: Gamifying Education | Sharon Vogt: EDTECH Learning Log

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