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Lesson 5: Track A Summaries

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Schedule   ::   Lesson 5   ::   Track A Summaries   ::   Track B Summaries

Agency, B. E. C. T. A., Comptuer Games in Education Project.

Reading summary/quotes:

Use of games in education should be an area of interest to game developers and teachers alike. BECTA conducted what can be characterized as a preliminary study among seven secondary schools. An overview of the games, including how they were used and how they may have benefited students, is included. Findings and suggestions for future research are also included.

Some of the primary benefits to the use of games software in education included increased motivation and self-esteem as well as increased library use. (The computers were located in the library, which explains the increased library use.) Some of the problems identified include technical problems, games where the game itself dominates and dwarfs the learning objective, and games that are too complex for the learning objective.

One of the most intriguing aspects of using games for education is that they provide motivation (p. 2).

Just like films or T.V. programs, games can be an effective supplementary tool (p. 2).

Some of the most important aspects the games gave were immediate feedback that learners received as a result of their decisions, and a way of exploring and collaborating within the game environment (p. 5).

(Interestingly, the article states on pg. 8 that if games are too simple in their feedback it is not very effective for learning. However, games with more complex situations force the learner to think about many possible reasons for outcomes and to hypothesize about new actions and their possibilities.)

When the games were combined with input from the teacher and collaboration with other learners, the most effective learning was realized (p. 7).

The main reason the games were appealing is because they couched the learning objectives in a situation/context that was interesting and fun for the learners (p. 7).

Games were motivating and encouraged collaboration (p. 8, 9).

(Games that demand collaboration as they present situations that students may not be able to figure out unless they collaborate with someone else who has discovered the solution)

Games can be a great way to make data, which can be inherently challenging and dull, more interesting, i.e. looking in a database to find about information about football players. Football gives the data some meaning and motivation (p. 8).

If the game does not explicitly keep reminding and focusing the student on learning objectives, they may gradually forget about the objectives if they play the game for extended periods of time (p. 9).

Games are very effective in teaching critical thinking, logical thinking, extracting information, and a range of other thinking skills. Teachers can support this learning by making learners aware of how they should think about something (p. 10).

Related articles/class discussions:

Discussion points/questions:

  • Even if absorption were capitalized on in an educational context, could that go too far? Could a learner get too absorbed or even addicted to an instructional game? Even in the best educational game, would the instructor need to intervene to help the students structure their learning?
  • What are some reasons for the extreme motivation of games?

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 5: Track A Summaries. Retrieved January 07, 2011, from Free Online Course Materials — USU OpenCourseWare Web site: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License
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