EDTEC 670 - Exploratory Learning Through Simulation and Games
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Musings and findings about teaching with games. Created by the learning community of EDTEC 670 at San Diego State University.
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Browsing a Fortune magazine, I found an interesting article titled: “Videogame geeks go to Hollywood” by Evelyn Nussenbaum. I transcribed some paragraphs below:
I've read all four of these articles and they are very interesting and hot off the press. The Performance before Competence principle (opposite of what you usually get in school) in the Good Video Games and Good Learning article seems so important to learning. By interacting with what you are trying to learn, it has to make it more real and relevant.
While this is not game-specific, I believe we are about to enter (or will at some point) into a web-authoring experience of some type. Even if we don't, I got this link from Dr. Bober in our 795A class, and wow, is it fab! The site is
Here are the titles of four recent articles on games that I found interesting, and you might also. All four articles appeared originally in the Summer 2005 issue of the Phi Kappa Phi Forum magazine, Vol. 85, No. 2. These articles are all available as full text PDF files through the SDSU Lirbrary’s Public Access Catalog (PAC), using the Academic Search Elite (EBSCO) Database. Simply choose "publications" under "advanced search" and type in Phi Kappa Phi Forum.
Unfortunately, one cannot directly link to the full text files because the PAC is password protected. This is probably just as well, as now I will not have to worry about any midnight visits from the copyright police.
“Good Video Games and Good Learning,” by James Paul Gee.
"Game Design and Game-Development Education,” by Mohan Rajagopalan and David Schwartz.
At Bernie's suggestion, I've been exploring Second Life, a vast, online, multi-player simulation developed almost entirely by members across the globe. Recently, I came across a Real World blog by an "embedded" journalist in Second Life. (Yes, a real person, blogging as an avatar in an online simulation - wild).
This website says that it is the largest, most comprehensive human-edited directory of the Web. And, that it is constructed and maintained by a vast, global community of volunteer editors. While I don’t know if this is true, they do have a good web of links to items about games. Take a look at the following part of the website: http://dmoz.org/Games/. I specifically went to Games: Board Games: Resources. They do have a great list of sites that you can visit. The Board Game Geek forum is listed, as is the Board Game Designer’s Forum (for beginners). I thought that was an interesting concept. Anyway, it is worth a good look, especially if you have gotten more interested in the gaming industry now that you are taking this class.
After last Monday’s class Motivational Analysis Exercise in which I observed as a “Mike” or Csikszentmihalyologist, I have been thinking a lot about motivation in general. More specifically, I have been reflecting about what I find motivating in terms of playing a game. As I grew up (at least chronologically) before the age of computers, the internet, and video based games, I started thinking about some of the toys and games I played with as a youth. This led me to locate the National Toy Hall of Fame, which has links for thirty one different toys. I played with most of them, with personal favorites being the Tinkertoy construction set, and Gilbert’s Erector Set. I was definitely in a state of flow as kid playing with these toys, letting my imagination run wild. These toys were just basically pieces that you could fit together anyway you wanted to, along the likes of wooden blocks or LEGO bricks. Like any toy, play occured while one was in flow, and typically quit when when boredom led to an out of flow condition.
The side of the Tinkertoy container encouraged users to submit unusual model constructions to the game manufacturer for evaluation. To wit, my Mom took a picture of something I made out of Tinkertoys and sent it in. A few weeks later, the company sent me a “Junior Tinkertoy Engineer” certificate “in recognition of creative imagination, ingenuity, and skill.”
This was really quite motivating to me back in 1963, and probably helps explain why I still enjoy building things.
Here's a blurb I found describing an educational game that is actually being used as an experiment in educational psychology. It may be something along the lines of geosense.net. You have to create a login and wait for someone to play. No one was there when I looked at it, but it sounded interesting.
I liked this article about learning and video games. Researchers used a teaching game with features similar to commercial video games. I saw a lot of similarities between the motivational elements discussed in this study and the Making Learning Fun and ARCS readings for class. This study found definite motivational benefits to learning via video game.
As our group worked on the Gold Rush game, it has really gotten me thinking about the whole game development process. Creating a game would be a perfect project for a middle school set of students, especially if the steps were broken down even more for them. It would include cooperation, problem-solving, thinking outside the box, conceptual design – all elements that would challenge but provide valuable learning for middle-schoolers. For any of the school teachers out there, this might be a great way to incorporate multiple subjects and state standards into one series of lessons.
I’m not sure if this has been mentioned previously, but GenCon (http://www.gencon.com/) is coming up November 17-20th in Anaheim, California. This is the 38th or 39th year of it. It is kicking off National Games Week (http://www.nationalgamesweek.net/) Nov 20-26th. They cover every type of gaming from card games, board games, computer games to role playing games. Has anyone ever been and can give some feedback on what it is like to attend? I would be interested to know if anyone in the class who is a “gamer” can tell us anything about the Industry Guests of Honor. Are they well-known gurus in gaming?
Out of the department of American Studies at the University of Virginia comes a project using Monopoly as an example of how "A game is an extension of social man". This project, called Packaged Play, is a fascinating look at how games like Monopoly are a mirror of man as a social being. I wasn't even looking for something for the blog, but while helping my son do a search for Monopoly-related images for a chemistry project (don't ask), I happened upon this site and HAD to share it. I encourage you to visit the PackagedPlay site and see for yourself, but knowing how short we edtec students are on surfing time, here are a few of my favorite insights:
"In plays, there are genres, stages, lines, actors, a hero, a villain, a climax, a conclusion, and most of all, a moral or lesson embedded in the plot. Now parallel this to game play. In games, there are types, boards, rules, players, a winner, a loser, chance, an outcome, and the values learned from playing the game, as ingrained by its objective.
An individual sits down to play a game. They are a "player." Their "stage" is the board, upon which they act out this newfound role. Their "lines" are framed by the rules they must follow in order to suit the objective, or "plot." At the rattle and roll of the dice (the climactic moment) the outcome is evidenced and the conclusion realized. And so the curtain falls as the "hero", the winner, conquers the "villain", the loser."
There is sooo much more to savor here...check it out if you can.
The “Most Important Games Ever Made,” is a list of fifty video/computer-based games from 1 UP.com . All fifty of the games listed, such as Pong, Zork, and Tetris, are linked to individual pages which describe game details, provide resource links, show a list of progeny descendant from the original game, and offer opinionated musings as to why each game on the list is historically important.
I don’t think that very many Apple customers would agree with this, but “The Macintosh” computer made the list as game number 22! Ironically, the linked page says that “creator Steve Jobs discouraged the development of Mac games for fear the machine would be seen as a toy.”
Whether these are or are not the most important games ever made is something I am not qualified to venture an opinion on, and of course is certainly open to debate. However, by reading the historical background of the games presented on the site one can trace the evolution of video/computer-based games, from 1962 to the present.
Just found a website called The Daedalus Project: the psychology of mmorpgs. (mmorpgs: massively multiplayer online role-playing games)
I was recently reading and article that talked about game theory and Prisoner’s Dilemma (if both prisoners refuse to talk, they both win because the police have less proof. If one talks, the other one gets a harsher punishment. The dilemma is that neither can make a good decision without knowing what the other will do). Are there board games out there that put into play this type of dilemma where players can both win if they can figure out the other’s strategy? In cards, it seems like this is how bridge is played? Any thoughts on this?
If you aren’t familiar with Tivitz, it is a really interesting educational game. I went to a middle-school where one of our labs is located and observed a Tivitz tournament that was amazing. Students that are not exceptionally good student in Math were so involved in this game. What is really great is that each time the game is played it is completely different because the students are creating new math problems. Also, it can be played at any level depending on the roll of the dice and the game board. They have an online version as well, but the kids seem to really love the board game even more. I definitely want to go through and review it more to see how closely it fits all of the elements we have discussed for board games. Take a look at http://www.tivitz.com/. Robin O
I did a few of these activities. Very interesting. I did better with sound and pictures than with the written word when it came to short term recall. The literature on the NASA site said that short term recall is better when using sound. I believe that. I've also always heard that our strongest sense that invokes emotion is the sense of smell. I remember years ago hearing about how realtors were using the technique of having "freshly baked" cookie smells in homes that they were trying to sell. Maybe they don't use that strategy any longer. But then, I haven't been to any open houses recently!
Here are five games direct from the NASA Cognition Lab , located at NASA's
The Mnemonicizer, (the mnemoic device device)
Fascinating article, entitled LeapFrog's Game: The local toymaker wowed Wall Street, but the educational frenzy it spawned may not be in children's best interests.
The following section was taken from a literature review entitled, "Social Effects of Electronic Interactive Games". It can be found in its entirety at http://www.mediascope.org/pubs/seeig.htm#research%20and%20literature%20review This was the part I found especially interesting:
Games, Learning & Society program officially launched at Wisconsin-Madison: "A small plug for the new Games, Learning & Society program offered through the School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Details here:
Here's a really attractive web site that really leads to exploratory learning. If you look around, you can find information about serious games and using them for vaarious corporate educational purposes. I won't tell you how and where to find this info. That's part of the fun!
Have you ever wondered why you have not been able to attain your vision? Or why the changes you make never seem to last? If so, then perhaps The Manufacturing Game® is for you!
The Manufacturing Game® experience provokes participants into exploring their mental models and thinking systemically; it encourages collaboration through team learning and enhances communication.
This is done through an innovative "high-touch, high-tech" learning lab using accelerated learning technology. The goal of the game is to “create a profound change in beliefs and commitments about defect removal, and an immediate action plan for dramatically lowering defects in the participants' processes. This is the paradigm shift needed for an organizational change effort to work. Typical improvements have been forty percent fewer failures and a third lower costs within a short time frame.”
Further, the learning lab “incorporate a highly integrated system of learning technologies into a single experience that compresses time and space and allows participants to quickly see the consequences of their decisions and strategies without the fear of failure or reprisal.”
Believe it or not, all of the above gets accomplished through a 4' x 6' board game which takes six hours to play!
Participants have three roles to play: Operations, Maintenance, and Business Services. The object of the game is to satisfy customer demand by producing and shipping the finished product and returning a profit to the company. Over the course the game, players see a simulated year of plant operations.
It's back again. The Experimental Gameplay Project at Carnegie Mellon aims to generate 50 games this semester. Four new ones every Wednesday. Each week has a theme, and this week's is Temperature. Seems appropriate as we bake under these Santa Ana winds.
Browsing for topics to post, I found a link to some seminars called GameSetandMatch II.
Games and geography... two of my favorite things are combined in Earth Contest.
The new Wired has an article on Nolan Bushnell, video game pioneer. He has an interesting take on what (video) games should be all about:
"These days when you say videogame, people think of immersive games that take over your life and require three thumbs to control," Bushnell says ... "My goal is to create games that almost retreat into the background. I'm interested in bringing them back to their role as a social facilitator, the way party games help people to interact. The game should be secondary to the social interaction between the players."
The big idea behind uWink Media Bistros is to counter all these negative trends [video games emphasizing sex, violence, complexity requiring significant individual investments of time] at once. Bushnell hopes to create a social oasis where customers leave their anxieties at the door and join together in a childlike spirit of play. The games will be simple and wholesome, giving customers an easy way to meet and interact, thereby diminishing the anomie of insulated modern existence.
This week while you're getting your game ready for playtesting, take a break and scan The Online Guide to Traditional Games. It's a nice overview of the oldest board games and their variants. Might give you some fresh ideas.
Here's an interesting email just posted to one of the lists I'm on:
Here is a recent article on new gaming curricula. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute offers a minor in game design and will be soon offering it as a major. Apparently, there are about 50 institutions that offer gaming curricula. I am sure that number will be exploding within a short amount of time.
The Buttkicker is a computer gaming add-on designed to add more realism to video games. It's a metal device that attaches to office-type chairs and rumbles when a game emits low bass frequencies.
The authors talk about the three types of rules:
Operational: Rules of Play
Constituative: Rules that exist below the surface (logical and mathematical)Implicit: Unwritten rules (etiquette, good sportsmanship, etc.)
This was interesting. Although they said that the interface was different, to me, it is still a navigational structure where you make the decisions on what part of the site you want to check out. You just aren't clicking. It is a more elegant design, however.