Four Ways to Teach with Video Games

A presentation I put together for college classes related to technology and/or education. Provides background (historical and theoretical) about video games in the classroom, and explores four approaches to teaching with games. Read the notes for way more context and info—this is meant to be presented, not viewed slide-only.
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  • 1. Using Video Games to Teach four approaches
  • 2. Video Games are Bad <ul><li>Video games have acquired a lousy reputation with many people </li></ul><ul><ul><li>They’re violent </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They’re mindless </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They’re addictive </li></ul></ul><ul><li>All true! </li></ul>
  • 3. Violence Example: Modern Warfare 2
  • 4. Mindlessness Example: Bejeweled Blitz
  • 5. Addictiveness Example: World of Warcraft
  • 6. So What? <ul><li>Problems with specific games ≠ problems with all games </li></ul><ul><li>Some of these criticisms are also true of: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the web </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>TV </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>movies </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Games are a tool </li></ul>
  • 7. Proper Tool Use: A Counterexample
  • 8. One More
  • 9. Video Games are Educational <ul><li>Gaming is a new kind of literacy (Gee) </li></ul><ul><li>Games incorporate good pedagogy (Gee) </li></ul><ul><li>Digital natives learn differently (Prensky) </li></ul><ul><li>Games are highly persuasive (Bogost) </li></ul><ul><li>We know games can be used to teach because we’ve been doing it for almost 40 years </li></ul>
  • 10. The Oregon Trail
  • 11. How to Teach with Games <ul><li>Content-aligned games </li></ul><ul><li>Games as texts </li></ul><ul><li>Students making games </li></ul><ul><li>Classes as games </li></ul>
  • 12. Teaching with Content-Aligned Games <ul><li>What is content alignment? Simple examples: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I’m a math teacher. I need a game that teaches the students how to do the order of operations.” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ I’m a history teacher. I need a game about the Civil Rights movement.” </li></ul></ul>
  • 13. Content Alignment: Number Munchers
  • 14. Content Alignment: Epistemic Games <ul><li>Epistemology </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ a branch of philosophy that investigates the origin, nature, methods, and limits of human knowledge.” —Random House Dictionary </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Epistemic games encourage players to think like experts in a field </li></ul><ul><li>Other epistemic activities: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>School paper </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Model UN </li></ul></ul>
  • 15. Epistemic Game Example: Civilization 4
  • 16. Content Alignment: Challenges <ul><li>There aren’t games about many subjects </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Games that DO contain educational information may not be appropriate </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Games don’t always represent accurate information </li></ul><ul><li>Educators don’t have the resources or expertise to create their own games </li></ul>
  • 17. Will Wright Example: SimCity
  • 18. Will Wright Example: The Sims
  • 19. Will Wright Example: Spore
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  • 21. Games as Texts Example: BioShock
  • 22. Games as Texts Example: BioShock
  • 23. Games as Texts Example: Neverwinter Nights
  • 24. Games as Texts Example: Halo Novels
  • 25. Students Making Games <ul><li>Wait, what? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Small is OK </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Making ≠ playing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Modding is making </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Why do this? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Allows students to demonstrate content mastery </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technical skills </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Builds digital literacy </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Not easy to do </li></ul>
  • 26. Students Making Games Example: Simple Games
  • 27. Students Making Games Example: Simple Games
  • 28. Students Making Games: Neverwinter Nights
  • 29. Students Making Games Example: ScriptEase
  • 30. Game-Like Course Design <ul><li>Games reflect pedagogy, so can pedagogy reflect game design? </li></ul><ul><li>How to do this? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Difficulty level </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Retry </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gated progress </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hint system/tutorial/walkthrough </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Narrative </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>High score </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Does it work? </li></ul>
  • 31. The Educational Games Database (TEGD) <ul><li>Teachers need gaming literacy to do any of this stuff well </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>Max Lieberman </li></ul>
  • 32. Suggested Web Games <ul><li>Budget Hero (US federal budget strategy game) — </li></ul><ul><li>Lunar Colony (economics strategy game) — </li></ul><ul><li>Climate Challenge (environmental policy strategy game) — </li></ul><ul><li>Bow Street Runner (history adventure game) — </li></ul><ul><li>Ayiti: the Cost of Life (3 rd -world simulation) — </li></ul><ul><li>Jamestown Online Adventure (history strategy game) — </li></ul>
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