Unit 11: Games in education

1. Objective

We are wired for play. As the saying goes: “We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing”. Games are becoming more integrated into our lives as technology advances, and the experiences are becoming more interactive and immersive.

Games are now considered not only important to our cultural narrative, they are also being considered as art. But do they have a role in education? Over the last few years, games-based learning has become a significant area of research and practice for educators, and has opened up new methods for stimulating skills in creativity, problem-solving, and teamwork.

By the end of this unit you will have become more familiar with the video games landscape, explored resources on linking games to learning outcomes, and investigated ways in which games are used in education.

2. Tasks

Here are the key tasks for this week:

  1. We are all gamers
  2. Learning through games
  3. Level-up!

3. Reflection questions

How would you describe your own game experiences and interests?

What do you think can be learned from playing games?

What kind of roles do you see games having in educational settings?

PS. A good games Twitter hashtag to follow is #gbl.

5 Responses to Unit 11: Games in education

  1. Brenda says:

    An impressive and mind-boggling unit of work! It’s east to see the appeal these games have to students. They are excellent educational aids.
    For the most part they are visually exciting and let gamers proceed at their own pace. As part of the curriculum they are valuable tools. Also as has been noted, they provide different levels and skill sets for various ability levels.
    My own interest level in games is fairly minimal. I must admit on a personal level, people playing Angry Birds and Words with Friends especially when out socialising is irritating!
    In educational settings the control hopefully would be better!

    • Krissy Barr says:

      Hi Brenda,

      I was also captured by the presentation but still unsure as to where I stand thus enjoyed reading the comments both positive and negative.

      Great talk though 🙂

  2. Sandra says:

    I’m not a gamer and prior to doing this unit was bemused by those who sat in front of a screen playing games for hours. I can now see there’s more to online gaming than I gave credit for and acknowledge that games can be valuable in an educational setting.
    Whether it be ‘old fashioned’ games such as board or card games or the modern equivalent, games allow the player(s) to either follow the rules or ignore the rules & take risks within a safe environment. You can choose to play independently or collaborate with another.

    Marc Prensky’s article resonated with me. The following statements are still valid ten years after the article was written:
    Video and computer games are quickly reclaiming the intense social connection that games have always had..

    Most …games have multiple winning strategies to choose from, including cooperation.

    Electronic games are ….open to girls, and girls are becoming more open to these games as well.

    Many positive messages exist..

    I think we’ll see an increase in the use of games in the school setting. I suspect games are already widely used in primary schools, but not so much in secondary schools. I’m sure this will change. In my secondary school the junior school Maths teachers and the German teachers are the only faculties that use online games regularly to bring some fun and stimulation to their subjects.
    Thank you for including this unit. To be honest it would not have been my choice but I’m glad I’ve been introduced to all the wonderful possibilities that games and gaming presents.

  3. megang says:

    I wouldn’t describe myself as a gamer, although over the years I have been addicted to some simple games like Free Cell and Book Worm. I have played Wii games with my Kids, especially Wii Sports and Guitar Hero. They are lots of fun. Guitar Hero was the seed for my sons interests in playing drums and electric guitar. The games they play are far more complex. They play such things are Age of Empires and Age of Mythology. They have learned to strategise and learned lots about history. They have played in these games collaboratively so that is another skill which I consider to be a ‘life skill’. I will never forget my son telling me he was off to meet his friends at the inn to make plans – he was, of course, talking about an inn in his game’s virtual world (Runescape)! When he was young we used to monitor it carefully. He still plays lots of Minecraft, which is a highly collaborative game.
    Games have lots to offer in education although I do think James Gee and Kate Salen make a good point we will need to change our ‘testing and accountability regime’.
    On rainy days many of the students play maths games at http://www.maths.com/games. They say they are not really maths games, and they are just a lot of fun. They don’t even realise they are learning! 🙂 🙂 🙂

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