Connecting Games and Learning
You will watch two videos about games, learning and play. Then you will play an online math game, read a chapter by Jim Gee and participate in two forum discussions.
Eric Klopfer gives an overview of the course and talks about how “learning games are hard fun.”
Download the Learning Games are Hard Fun Video (125 MB, ZIP)
Scot Osterweil talks about “what makes game work?” and introduces Lure of the Labyrinth for the first assignment.
Download the What makes games work? Video (91 MB, ZIP)
Assignment 1 (DUE Thursday)
Play Lure of the Labyrinth (http://labyrinth.thinkport.org/www/index.php) and post in the forum about how you might use Labyrinth in the classroom.
For this week, you’ll be playing Lure of the Labyrinth, a game that was designed at the MIT Education Arcade, and played by thousands of students in schools. The game targets the subject areas of math and literacy, but has other applications as well.
At first, we recommend playing Lure of the Labyrinth as if you were a student. In fact when you log in you’ll be asked whether you are a teacher or a student. Log in initially as a student, as that is a faster log-in. Dive deeply into the game the way a student would (you don’t need to know anything to start) and play it as if that were the assignment. Don’t jump too quickly to your teacher role. Instead, play through several levels and puzzle areas. If you struggle, you can ask for help from your peers in the forums. (We will give you one hint: once you are in the game world, find the maps in your possession to locate your assignments.)
Once you have completed at least a couple of levels of several puzzles (4-5), then you can switch to thinking of your role as a teacher. Now, plan how you might use this game in your class if you were a teacher in one of the related subject areas. You should consider issues like:
-Where would students play the game? At home as homework? In class?
-When in the sequence would students play the game? Before a topic was introduced? After?
-What else would you use in conjunction with the game? Lectures? Worksheets? Readings?
-How would you assess student progress and learning? In game feedback (assume that you could see how many times each student tried and succeeded or failed on each puzzle)? Traditional tests? Observations of student play?
-What activities could you structure around the game to make it more useful? Have students work in teams and support each other? Play the game in the context of learning enough to solve a problem given to them at the beginning of class?
Then post your thoughts in the forum by Thursday. We will respond to some of your posts, but we encourage you to respond to each others ideas as well.
Assignment 2 (DUE Thursday)
Read “Learning and Games” by Jim Gee, a chapter from The Ecology of Games edited by Katie Salen. Discuss the reading in this forum by Thursday.
Additional Week 1 Resources:
Learning Science Through Computer Games and Simulations
Massively Multiplayer Online Games as an Educational Technology: An Outline for Research
The Simulation Cycle: combining games, simulations, engineering and science using StarLogo TNG
Video Games and Learning Course (through Coursera)