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Lesson 2: Track A Summaries

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Schedule   ::   Lesson 2   ::   Track A Summaries   ::   Track B Summaries   ::   Both Tracks Summaries


Hayes, Find out who you really are: Adult learning in virtual worlds

Reading summary/quotes:


This article points out some key attributes common to learning in virtual worlds, including nonlinearity, multimodality, challenge, and learning by teaching. Examples include Black & White, Tomb Raider, and Deus Ex.

Computer games offer a way to better reach younger learners, who have “hypertext minds” and think in non-linear ways. Furthermore, adult learners can also benefit from the many aspects of computer-games, such as experimenting with new identities, learning by exploring, and learning by teaching. New theories and methodologies are needed to utilize this new context of computer-game learning.

“…videogame designers are more “learner-focused” than most adult educators, due to the pressure to create games that will be appealing and competitive in a rapidly expanding market (p. 2).”

“…games are typically challenging, requiring considerable skill, strategy, and mental prowess (p. 2).”

Discussion points/questions:

  • What assumptions are made about learning for adults from games?
  • How can having a new identity motivate learning?
  • How do “god games” have different types of learning opportunities for adults?
  • Why are computer games effective as a means of overcoming some of the shortcomings of current e-learning?
  • Why are new ideas about learning necessary to better understand computer-games as educational tools?
  • What is the difference between learning and understanding?
  • How can games like B&W be used in formal learning? (Can they, or are they just for informal, non-school learning?)


Kirriemuir, Video gaming, education and digital learning technologies

Reading summary/quotes:


This article lays out some basic definitions for gaming and learning technologies. It also addresses the different ways that games are accessible. For example games are played on PC’s, XBOX, PS2, Game Cube. These formats are discussed and compared. The use of game consoles in education is addressed, including an interesting piece on using handheld game consoles such as the Game Boy in learning. Several advantages and challenges are identified. Future directions for gaming in education are also mentioned. The video game industry is very large, with high percentages of both male and female players. There is great educational potential with video games, provided there is a strong interdisciplinary approach taken in their development (teachers develop content, game designers add entertainment value, artists design characters, etc.). Networked game play offers further advantages for social, small group interaction, especially via the use of handheld devices.

“Essentially, most video games can be viewed as simulations of some form (p. 2).”

People play video games because of “…three main reasons: fantasy, challenge, and curiosity (p. 3).”

Gaming has large potential for multi-disciplinary work “…geography and urban planning are associated with in-game landscape…the arts for character development; and music for sound effects (p. 7).”

One reason why “edutainment” software has failed is largely because the software “…seems to contain gaming or entertainment components designed by a teacher, and learning components designed by a games designer, whereas it should be the other way around (p. 9).”

“…even in the face of growing anecdotal, empirical and pedagogic evidence of the benefits of gaming when correctly incorporated into a learning environment, some will still cry foul because games are…well, games (p. 13).”

“For education, what is needed is more high-quality user-relevant software, combining the best game techniques (contributed by games designers) and proven learning techniques (contributed by teachers), implemented on consoles with which learners are familiar, rigorously tested, independently evaluated, and widely publicized (p. 13).”

Related articles/class discussions:

  • BECTA article (Lesson 5 Track A) : From page 2 of the 2002 BECTA Survey, item #7: “However, there was significant reluctance to consider the use of such consoles in the classroom, due to their marketing as hosts of purely “fun” software…”
  • Kirriemuir & McFarlane article : To help overcome the point above, “…the software is not mentioned…as being a game, but as “software”, “a demo”, “a simulator” or some other more study-oriented description.”


Discussion points/questions:

  • In what situations would a GameBoy be useful for education?
  • What learning software or games would you develop for a GameBoy (or similar portable, networkable handheld) if you could?
  • Is the idea of having schools play against each other feasible? What type of learning could be done here?


Kirriemuir & McFarlane, Use of computer and video games in the classroom


Reading summary/quotes:


This paper highlights trends in computer gaming relating to education. It reports on the second round of a survey know as BECTA 2003, which seeks to uncover how and where video games are used in schools. The survey is interesting in that it focuses on the use of so-called “pure” video games, which are commercial, non-educational console or PC games. It found that very few of these kinds of games are being used in the classroom. Some teachers adapt games to serve different instructional purposes then originally intended by the creators. Games like Sim City and Rollercoaster Tycoon are being played and used as learning tools. Other games are used as rewards for good behavior. When games were used in schools as research projects, measuring learning was difficult. Other challenges included extra distracting game content that could not be disabled. Some games had extra features which added unnecessary complexity or tempted the users to diverge from the intended learning outcome. It should also be noted that the games provided a topic for extended discussions among students as they explained and justified their game-playing strategies

“Pupils justified their choices of actions to others in their group; discussed strategy to a depth which would make an army commander proud; and came back after school to continue, often in groups (p. 6).”

Discussion points/questions:

  • Does “pure” gaming have a place in school? What kinds of games might be appropriate, other than simulations?
  • How can game designers make games that teachers are more likely to integrate into their curriculum?
  • Why aren’t games more widely recognized for their educational potential?


Contributors: Tom Caswell, Marion Jensen, Jennifer Jorgensen, Jon Scoresby, and Tim Stowell
Copyright 2008, by the Contributing Authors. Cite/attribute Resource . admin. (2008, May 20). Lesson 2: Track A Summaries. Retrieved January 07, 2011, from Free Online Course Materials — USU OpenCourseWare Web site: http://ocw.usu.edu/instructional-technology-learning-sciences/instructional-games/Lesson_2__Track_A_Summaries.html. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License
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