Games and Learning

How this course works

This course is designed to take place over 5 weeks. For each week, there are video lectures and assignments which consist of hands-on activities and readings. After you have completed each assignment, questions are provided for you to reflect on the activity and the reading.

Brief biographies of course instructors

Week 1: Connecting Games and Learning

The videos for this lecture will introduce you to using games and simulations in your own courses, what it means to immerse and engage students in learning games, and present an online game called Labyrinth. The assignment will ask you to play the game, think about how to apply the game to your course, and read a chapter on what it means to design an effective educational game.

Week 2: Integrating curriculum and games

Week 2 starts with a review of Labyrinth, the game played in Week 1, and how the rules work. Then you will be introduced to multiplayer online games, giving special attention to Radix, a game especially useful for teaching math and science. Afterwards, we will guide you on what to look for in a game to best meet the needs of your students and curriculum learning goals. Try out some games, choose one to evaluate, and think about how a teacher might use the game in the classroom. For reading, you are provided with an article about how teachers can use digital games, simulations and social media for teaching and learning.

Week 3: Modeling

This week covers the importance and usefulness of modeling, focusing on complex systems and agent-based modeling. The video is based on an article titled “Why Model?” which describes more examples of modeling. A web-based program called Toolblox is provided for you to investigate a Fish evolution model and answer some activity questions.

Week 4: Constructionism

“Constructionism” is connected to agent-based modeling, computational thinking, and education. The video for this week will introduce you to how constructionism is crucial to games and learning and present a programming activity to try out. The activity will engage you with a model in Toolblox to simulate the spread of a contagious disease and allow you to program your own extension to the model.

Week 5: Designing Games

In this week, you will learn about how to design a game with goals in mind, and meaningful and challenging rules. After watching the video, you will be guided in creating a “pitch” for a new educational game, using words and pictures.