Serious Games and Virtual Worlds: April 4-24, 2007

What do we need to optimise Serious Games in the classroom?

What do we need to optimise Serious Games in the classroom?

by Tia Carr Williams -
Number of replies: 1

Video games are particularly expensive to build say the Federation of American Scientists, a prominent Washington-based group, which issued a report last year calling on the departments of Education and Labor, along with the National Science Foundation, to pay for the development of “serious” games.

“I think there’s more enthusiasm around gaming for learning than almost any topic I’ve ever seen,” says Roy D. Pea, an education professor at Stanford University. He adds, nevertheless: “This is a very big hunch. Lots of research questions need to be addressed.”

“I think there’s more enthusiasm around gaming for learning than almost any topic I’ve ever seen,” says Roy D. Pea, an education professor at Stanford University. He adds, nevertheless: “This is a very big hunch. Lots of research questions need to be addressed.Rather than just learn how to use technology, students in today’s Web-dominated environment need to learn how to prioritize and manage a dizzying array of information coming at them through Web sites and e-mails, how to think critically about what they find, and how to use multiple media to communicate well, among other skills. Educators, scholars, and policymakers have yet to agree on what those new skills should be, much less on how best to teach them.

“We still have a lot to learn about supporting a whole range of digital-literacy skills,” says Margaret A. Honey, a vice president of the Education Development Center Inc., a Newton, Mass.-based research group, and a co-director of its Center for Children and Technology, in New York City. And, she says, new research in that area could provide a lasting payoff.

“Technologies are always changing,” she says, “but skills of discernment don’t change.”

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This is an extract from an Education Week article. What it brings into sharp focus is the knowledge gap that needs to be filled by educators who seek to fulfill their students learning needs revolving around their digital savvy.

I welcome the commentary from our esteemed assembled contributors to this conference to help us all understand how they have experienced both the barriers and opportunities in introducing learning games to their teaching environment and, as Professor Pea articulates, where do we optimally need to focus our attention and intention?

 

In reply to Tia Carr Williams

Re: What do we need to optimise Serious Games in the classroom?

by Deirdre Bonnycastle -

I have been trying with very little success to introduce Serious Games into the university environment. There are two barriers here

  1. Books and lectures are viewed as the best way to transmit knowledge. Games (and the videos of the previous media generation) are percieved as anti-education, things that dull the superior mind. tongueout
  2. Expense (development, freeing up experts).

I have begun to see some success with number 1 by teaching people to use PowerPoint games in their class. PowerPoint is such a familiar tool here that building games to reinforce the learning of factual information is readily accepted. Medical faculty have some appreciation for the vast amount of information that first and second year students must memorize so finding ways to make memorization less painful is encouraged.

The expense issue is a barrier I can't seem to get past.