How Serious Games can enable the Digital Student

How Serious Games can enable the Digital Student

by Tia Carr Williams -
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Generation N thinks in fundamentally different ways from previous generations, who have not spent thousands of hours engaged in small-group digital competitions. Gaming in the science classroom has the potential to deeply engage students, while providing a natural forum for integrating technology with dynamic visual representations of the natural world. Teachers using an application created for online chat (ActiveWorlds) can design 3D simulations and upload them to the Internet without paying the high price or acquiring intense knowledge of computer programming or 3D wire-frame design. Games designed in this application won’t be as rich as costly commercial games, but the environments can be modified based on the skill level of the competitors (students) involved.Students today use virtual communities to discuss shared interests (communities of interest), to develop social relations (communities of relationships), and to explore new identities (communities of fantasy). ruckman and Riner found that text-based virtual worlds support constructivist learning through meaningful collaboration and interactivity. They proposed that 3D simulations, as well as allowing the visual learner to be immersed in a 3D setting, should have a text-based chat module.

Virtual reality research suggests that participation in a 3D environment also supports the constructivist paradigm of instruction and may bridge the gap between experiential learning and information representation.

(source article)

Preliminary Skills: Basic Literacy -- the ability to read and write Technical Skills -- the ability to operate core technologies and tools desired for specific projects.

Multimodal Literacy -- the ability to process information across multiple systems of representation.

Emerging Skills:

Play -- a process of exploration and experimentation.

Performance-- trying on and playing different identities.

Navigation -- the ability to move across the media landscape in a purposeful manner, choosing the media that best serves a specific purpose or need, or which might best provide the information needed to serve a particular task.

Resourcefulness -- the ability to identify and capitalize on existing resources.

Networking -- the ability to identify a community of others who share common goals and interests.

Negotiation -- the ability to communicate across differences as you move through a multicultural and global media landscape.

Synthesis -- pulling together information from multiple sources, evaluating its reliability and use value, constructing a new picture of the world.

Sampling -- mastering and transforming existing media content for the purposes of self and collective expression.

Collaboration -- sharing information, pooling knowledge, comparing notes, evaluating evidence, and solving large scale problem.

Teamwork -- the ability to identify specific functions for each member of the team based on their expertise and then to interact with the team members in an appropriate fashion.

Judgment -- the ability to make aesthetic and ethical evaluations of media practices and to reflect on your own choices and their consequences.

Discernment -- the ability to assess the accuracy and appropriateness of available information.

These skills each lie at the intersection between the self and others. These are cultural skills and not individual skills. The goal is communication and participation, not simply self-expression, and that requires an understanding of the impact of one's ideas on others. Any ethical framework we develop should emerge from this understanding that media may have been personalized in the early 1990s but it is now collaborative and communal in an era of networked and mobile communications technologies.