How this course works
This course takes place over 5 weeks. Each week starts on Monday and ends on Sunday. On Monday, you should watch the video lectures and begin the assignment, which consists of a hands-on activity and a reading. You will post your reflections on the activity and discuss the reading in the forums for that week by Thursday. Each week, a couple of the course instructors will monitor the forums and respond to your posts but you are encouraged to actively participate by responding to each other’s posts too. Also, each Wednesday, there will be office hours for online live chat by text or voice with that week’s instructors. When you post to a forum, you have the option of subscribing to the forum, which means that you will receive emails of new posts. In your profile settings, you also have the option of choosing to receive one email per day containing all the posts, instead of a separate email for each new post.
Week 1: 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.
Week 2: Integrating curriculum and games
You will watch 3 videos that show connections between games and classroom curriculum. Then you will play some games, choose one to evaluate, and discuss how a teacher might use the game in the classroom. Also you will read an article about how teachers can use digital games, simulations and social media for teaching and learning.
Week 3: Modeling
You will watch a video about modeling, complex systems, and agent-based modeling. You will also read an article titled “Why Model?” which the lecture is based upon and which describes more examples of modeling. You will use a web-based program called Toolblox to investigate a Fish evolution model and answer some questions.
Week 4: Constructionism
You will watch a video on “constructionism” and constructionism connects to modeling, computational thinking, and education. The lecture content is further explored in a reading assignment on constructionism. You will then put this theory into practice by programming a model in Toolblox to simulate the spread of a contagious disease and program your own extension to the model.
Week 5: Designing Games
- Watch lecture video about the game design process by Jason Haas.
Download the Designing Learning Games Video (130 MB, ZIP)
- Assignment: Create a “pitch” for a new educational game in the forum, using words and pictures. Describe who your audience for the game is, what the game is about, and how you envision it being played. You do not have to actually design the game, but making little versions and playing with your friends might give you some great insights. In general, you should not feel like you have to do this on your own – please feel free to talk to each other and try your ideas out on one another as well.