Week 05: Game-Based Learning RSS Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • mcquaid 10:56 am on October 17, 2011
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    A flaw in most music / rhythm games is that they don’t actually teach you how to play any real instrument. While browsing Amazon today, I saw a gaming product that’s pure genius… a game that teaches musical skills – “Rocksmith”. Essentially, the game has a cord that lets you plug in any guitar to […]

    Continue reading A Serious Game Posted in: Blog Café, Week 05: Game-Based Learning
  • jarvise 4:40 am on October 10, 2011
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    A big thank you to all for an engaging, collaborative week of Game Based Learning analysis. The discussions were enlightening (and fun!) and we saw various ways of engaging with, and analyzing the effectiveness of, games for learning. There were several very formal analyses done, and others that were more of a quick overview of […]

    Continue reading Concluding Week 5 Posted in: Week 05: Game-Based Learning
    • bcourey 5:32 am on October 10, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Great job Tamara, Michelle, Julie, Emily and Andrew! You gave me an opportunity to try our a lot of games that I had not heard of and opened my eyes to the possibilities that go beyond simple practice of skills that I expected to see – the idea of embedding so many social justice issues into a game format was new to me – as a non-gamer, I see I have been missing an opportunity to bring what I want the students to know, into a format that they love. Thanks for that! As for market venture potential – I can see that there is room to make games that deal with complex concepts – and seeing how some of the games fell a bit short on this, there is room to make them even better.

    • jenaca 6:22 am on October 10, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Great Job Week 5- Tamara, Michelle, Julie, Emily and Andrew! You gave me a new insight to games and education that I had not focused on before. I really enjoyed the way you set up the week and how you had us actually try games out to see what we thought about them. It was a great way to learn more about different games and their purposes!
      I also appreciated sharing our personal experiences about gaming and learning about the ways others interacted with them….I wonder if we were to ask younger students the same question whether their answers would be more focused on “yes, we are familiar”…but more specifically what game they are familiar with!
      Great Presentation.

    • Karen Jones 10:55 am on October 10, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Thanks for the opportunity to explore this area of learning that I tend to forget or ignore in my curriculum planning, Team 5. It got me looking back at previous course work and considering it in a new light. As well, I now have a number of interesting games bookmarked, and will look at incorporating them into my classes.

      I really liked how you set up your platform, wiki, and the discussion. You’ve set the standard for the rest of us to aspire to.

      Great work,

    • Deb Giesbrecht 6:07 pm on October 10, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Excellent week guys! Thanks for enlightening us!

    • Deb Kim 6:50 pm on October 10, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Thank you for doing such a great job! It was truly an interesting topic to discuss.
      You all did an excellent work:)


    • Jay 9:32 am on October 11, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Thanks for engaging us all this week! Well done

  • Alice 10:08 pm on October 9, 2011
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    I chose to play and review Edheads, mainly because I hadn’t yet seen it covered here (and because the military game, with the US Mil keeping the scores, creeped me out a little). I played a game that concerns stem cells. Having a fairly low science literacy, I was happy to learn what a stem […]

    Continue reading EVAing Edheads: what makes a game? Posted in: Week 05: Game-Based Learning
    • Julie S 7:26 am on October 10, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Allie,

      Excellent question. How does the market differentiate between interactive storytelling and games and if so how? Would ‘Create a Stem Cell Line’ be better marketed as an e-book, or as you put it, an interactive lesson. Is there room in the market to differentiate interactive lessons and then possibly further as ethical issues related to new technologies?

      I read a chapter in a book recently where the authors question whether or not games can be successful as learning tools and suggests that interactive storytelling would be more successful.

      Weib and Muller (2008) argue that ‘stories provide more explicit knowledge transfer’ (p.321) and further that ‘In general, the question on how to integrate learning successfully with elements of play and games is unsolved’. (p.323). Weib and Muller acknowledge Gee’s 36 principles of game play but argue that he misses the key concepts of fun and drama that games should provide.

      They list principles specific to interactive storytelling as characters and the story world, a hook, user agency, dramatic arcs, and usability. I don’t know how the line could or should be drawn when there are successful commercial games that have significant story telling principles incorporated.

      I’ve included the references to a couple of book chapters below if anyone is interested in learning more about the argument of interactive storytelling vs. games.

      Numento, T., Uotila, F. (2009). Events as Organizational Stories an Event-Based Approach for Learning Media Production, in Multimedia and E-Content Trends. Bruck, P.A. (2009). Pp. 167-178.

      Weib, S., Muller W., (2008). Learning with Interactive Storeis. , in IFIP International Federation for Information Processing, Volume 281; Learning to Live in the Knowledge Society; Michael Kendall and Brian Samways; (Boston: Springer), pp. 321–328.

    • David William Price 8:38 am on October 10, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      I’ve been thinking a lot about games as well. In my Intro to Educational Computing class in the Winter, a team presented about game-based learning. Even after reading the articles presented this week, I still struggle a lot with the breathless claims of authors I feel are ignoring a few millennia of history.

      I’m not all that comfortable with the idea of turning all learning into a game because people enjoy games. Why? We’re making way too many assumptions about what a game is and what life is and what learning is.

      Looking at people from an evolutionary perspective, what were the actions that led to survival of the human race? Hunting, gathering, taking risks, looking for cause-and-effect relationships, balancing the saving and spending of resources, etc. Do we need to turn learning into a game? No. Life already is a game. School is already a game. Learning is already a game. Games don’t create those behaviours… those behaviours are what made humans successful in the first place.

      Consider the the phrase “gaming the system”. Students can “game” the system in schools. They can get great results with small amounts of concerted effort. I rarely did my French homework in high school. Instead, when class began, I’d choose three questions spread out over the assignment and work out the answers. Then I’d put up my hand to answer each of those questions.

      Workers can “game” the system in the workplace. They can advance with small amounts of concerted effort. They can identify who they need to impress and what kind of activity impresses that person.

      Lonely people can “game” the system in relationships. They learn how to identify likely matches and what buttons to push to make people like them.

      “Game theory” is used in economics and negotiations.

      People “game” systems all the time. “Gaming” is about turning the self into an active participant using strategy and tactics. Games are not things, they are mindsets. Instead of making games that teach, we can look at how we can shape mindsets instead– mindsets not only of students but also of teachers and designers.

      Is learning to game school or game the workplace something we want people to do? In some respects, yes. In other respects, no. I would’ve learned a lot more French if I’d done all of my homework. While I adopted a gaming mindset, the particular game I played was not one that benefitted me in an optimal way.

      I think it’s important to focus on assessment and really nail down the behaviours we want to see from people and think of the kinds of mindsets that will shape the behaviours we want to see.

      If we assume that a “game” must look a certain way, and that we have to fit education into that mould, then we are making a lot of unwarranted assumptions about what life is really like and we are focusing on medium (Kozma) instead of methods (Clark).

    • Allie 1:22 pm on October 11, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Thanks for your thoughtful comments on my post, Julie and David.
      David, I too immediately thought of other uses of the idea of games – such as the oldie-but-goodie psychology text “Games People Play.”
      I think you make a great point in remarking that people’s desire to play the system (work or school) really depends on whether they feel attached to the dominant objective.
      And perhaps that’s why games (now I’m reverting back to the standard idea of game) are useful in educational settings; they provide some kind of motivation for students to learn something they might not feel is worthwhile to do (playing hangman to learn spelling, for instance). Using games is a way to game education (to use your way of using game as a verb)

  • David William Price 4:42 pm on October 8, 2011
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    Tags: cube analysis, earthquake, haiti, planning, production, review, simulation   

    WHY I DIDN’T CHOOSE THE OTHER GAMES NOT ENGAGED WITH NUNAVUT I played the Nunavut hunting skills game, but found it more aimed at having me, through trial-and-error, “learn” about some hunting information without providing any context or experience. I didn’t see how to make this information meaningful to me. HOPELESS THIRD WORLD FARMER I […]

    Continue reading Hope in Haiti – A long plan, a nuanced experience Posted in: Week 05: Game-Based Learning
    • Karen Jones 1:03 pm on October 9, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      What a thorough and comprehensive post, David.

      You’ve certainly highlighted key features that should be present in games targeted at adults, especially the incorporation of a varied perspective that doesn’t belabour the obvious, and changes with the user/character.

      Way to set the bar higher!

  • schiong 2:49 pm on October 8, 2011
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    My first game console was an Atari. There were 2 games that I often play: Pac-Man and Tank (not sure the exact title). At that time, a game was just another form of entertainment for me. It had no educational significance. My Atari became lonely when Family computer came out. Let me see if I […]

    Continue reading Simple Mind Posted in: Week 05: Game-Based Learning
    • khenry 6:52 pm on October 8, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Schiong,
      With reference to Ice Climber and educational content, I too did not relate the educational aspects of my gaming experience until much later. Makes me wonder if they really impacted on cognition or was it a composite of activities? I do believe though that content and tasks/tools required/used within games if cleverly designed can create cognitive development and information processing skills and higher order thinking skills Blooms Taxanomy (http://www.tedi.uq.edu.au/downloads/bloom.pdf).

    • kstooshnov 9:16 pm on October 8, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      …are easily amused, that seems to be the message of your experience with video games and learning. It is analogous to catching the last five minutes of a police procedural on TV to find out ‘whodunit’ without watching from the beginning of the episode to understand why ‘it’ was done.

      Such games provide visceral thrills that many assume have nothing to do with learning, yet the metacognition that goes on whenever a digital native picks up a control pad is awe-inspiring. They learn most often by doing, rather than being told (taught) what to do, whether they are fitting together tetrominoes, escaping from ghosts or busting blocks of ice. In most cases, the game only needs to increase the speed to make gameplay more challenging, and perhaps this is why gamers are able to pick up on the ever-changing nature of technology, while non-gamers repeatedly need to get out the instruction manual when programming their PVR.

  • David Berljawsky 5:14 am on October 8, 2011
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    I make no qualms about it, I was a huge gamer in my youth, probably all the way until my early 20’s. Most games have little to no educational value, yes they may help with special awareness and some hand eye coordination, but in reality, most were, well, games. Now this is not to say […]

    Continue reading A Couple of Games From my Youth Posted in: Uncategorized, Week 05: Game-Based Learning
    • Juliana 8:21 am on October 8, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi David,

      I liked how you brought up “disguised education”. I think it is quite amazing what we learn, when we have no intention of learning and good educational games have a way of exploiting this.

      Great post!


      • jenaca 6:13 am on October 10, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Adding to what you both said, I really liked the way you identified the learning without really even knowing it- “disguised education”. I think this is a great way to help kids have fun and actually enjoy learning.

    • Jay 9:34 am on October 8, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi David. I remember “Where in the World is Carmen San Diego” and was glued to that game as a child. I am sure it spawned my love and curiousity for other countries, travel and culture and as a kid I lived virtual adventures and exotic trips to places around the world through that game.

      As to tetris, was terrible at that game and never had the patience (or spacial awareness) to stack awkwardly shaped blocks together. Felt too much like work more than play. Never really was a puzzle person.

    • Everton Walker 1:54 pm on October 8, 2011 | Log in to Reply


      Good job! Would you classify all games as being educational since they elicit thinking and awareness? Shouldn’t we redefine educational and incorporate features that are required for one to function successfully in educational settings?


    • hall 5:55 pm on October 8, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      I enjoyed reading your post. I remember playing TETRIS, it is a wonderful game and useful one for mathematics and science students. It can be used to teach shapes and patterns.

    • khenry 7:03 pm on October 8, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi David,
      I remember Tetris but was not as hooked, funnily Conroy since I like Math and Science. User Interface design I wonder? But I did enjoy ‘Where in the World is Carmen San Diego’. Like Everton I also wonder at the educational aspects of gaming from what they elicit.


  • khenry 3:10 pm on October 7, 2011
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    I would not say I had direct personal learning experience with digital game-based learning within an educational setting but rather from games bought by my family with which I interacted. Most of the games required pattern sequencing. Other than that there were mainly nintendo games from which I would say I learnt strategy, paying attention to […]

    Continue reading Gaming experience – Does it really shape cognition? Posted in: Week 05: Game-Based Learning
    • hall 6:07 pm on October 8, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Your post is an interesting; it caused to think of all those days as youth when I spent late night playing games. Also I remember going my friend’s house after school to play Nintendo games which caused me to get into trouble with my parents.

      I have used jeopardy game to review and deliver content as you have done and I found it were useful.

      • khenry 7:25 pm on October 8, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        I wonder at the transference from these activities and therefore the level of theoretical knowledge and application required for effective design to realise desired interaction and transference. As I mentioned, regarding your comment to David B’s post, I was not as hooked on Tetris yet I enjoyed Math and Science. I appreciate it more now. I can’t help but wonder if the design of the user interface was just not appealing to me at that age. So many elements and levels to consider! In Prensky’s paper on Digital natives Digital Natives he talks of how design an content must marry to suit users ‘The professors had made 5-10 minute movies to illustrate key concepts; we asked them to cut them to under 30 seconds. The professors insisted that the learners to do all the tasks in order; we asked them to allow random access’


  • David William Price 1:43 pm on October 7, 2011
    0 votes

    Tags: aces of the pacific, air warrior, flight simulators   

    The first time I ever flew in an airplane, I was flying it. Crammed into a tiny single-engine plane, the instructor turned the controls over to me and told me simply to fly straight and level. It was far more interesting than I expected and perhaps what surprised me most was the elevator drop effect […]

    Continue reading My first flight that wasn’t Posted in: Week 05: Game-Based Learning
    • Julie S 3:41 pm on October 7, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Great story David,

      I’m glad you brought up the flight simulators. I’ve had friends who have told me how realistic they are but your story really gives evidence to that. I’ve tried them once or twice but I found the learning curve pretty steep so I never got into them that much. It’s interesting to hear your experience of how the knowledge transferred so well from simulation to real life.

    • Jay 9:47 am on October 8, 2011 | Log in to Reply


      For a while I played a few flying games myself. One was Aces over Europe and set in WW2 and the other being the game based on the movie “Top Gun”. I am not sure how accurate the controls were in terms of in comparison to a flying a real plane, and I am sure that the hundreds of hours with top gun does make me certified to become a fighter pilot. But many of the other simulation games are quite real and I have read arcticles the military uses games and simulation to practice tactics.

      I find it interesting that your curiousity and interest pushed you to buy a textbook and learn and practice maneuvers. Do you still have an interest in learning in this area today even though you don’t play simulation games anymore? Flight lessons maybe?

      It is always interesting to see how learning in our childhood and youth shapes us and we are still able to recall these experiences, some very vividly.

    • mcquaid 10:45 am on October 8, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      I would have said your interest nose-dived (ba-dum-bum!).
      Seriously, flight simulation, I think, is one of those long-time successes in terms of educational / simulation games. I can still remember one of my cousins playing an old one (probably circa… 1993 or 1994), and being totally wrapped up in it. He was a bit of a history / military buff, too. I can remember him chatting with other simulator players, and back then, to me, it was all Greek. The most I ever really got into playing any kind of flying games was arcade ones: Crimson Skies : High Road to Revenge and the Tie Fighter / X-Wing games. I think my interest in flying real planes and having it be very realistic grounded my simulator career.

    • hall 6:49 pm on October 8, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi David,

      enjoyed reading your story. It certainly reinforced the fact that game is a useful educational tool. I realised that long hours I spent playing car games was very good because I learnt to drive a car without the help of an instructor. Therefore, I understand the reason that you seemed so adept when you flew an aeroplane for the first time.

    • jenaca 6:11 am on October 10, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hey David,
      I also really enjoyed reading your post. It definitely helped me see that games can in fact be a very important and useful educational tool.

  • hall 2:23 am on October 6, 2011
    0 votes

     I think the playing of games is a very good activity. I have being playing games as far I can remember, both board and electronic games. I remembered playing an electronic car game as a teenager which has helped in driving skills, decision making and avoiding collisions. Since recently, I have being playing three electronic […]

    Continue reading Chess, Monopoly and Chinese Checker Posted in: Week 05: Game-Based Learning
    • Chess, Monopoly and Chinese Checker | ETEC 522 | Chess IQ 7:24 am on October 6, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      […] Chess, Monopoly and Chinese Checker | ETEC 522 Filed Under: Chess, General, NIC Tagged With: checkers-which, chess, chinese, […]

    • jarvise 9:37 am on October 6, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      You make some really great points, Conroy. As a math teacher, the ultimate skill needed by students is perseverence. How often do I have a student who can’t solve a problem quickly, gets frustrated and does not want to continue trying. Being able to work at something with no quick, obvious solution is one of the foundations of mathematics. Great post!


    • Keisha Edwards-Hamilton 7:24 am on October 7, 2011 | Log in to Reply


      Games are great. Using activities and games in class encourages active learning, as well as collaboration, and interactivity. Games help and encourage learners to sustain their interest and work. These also provide intense and meaningful practice and also promotes life long learning. For example, a student will always remember a skill that was taught while playing a game embedded in a lesson at school.


    • Everton Walker 10:39 am on October 7, 2011 | Log in to Reply


      Good work man! Games really have the power to move us and keep us thinking. It was just yesterday I told my year two practicing teachers to explore the power of games in the classroom when they go out in a few weeks’ time. I have even encouraged them to play games too as I am noticing that they tend to ignore instructions on the blog and during exams. A game is all about following instructions and executing so I hope they will adopt that procedure.

    • Doug Smith 5:37 pm on October 7, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Conray, that’s really interesting that you have seen a correaltion between gaming and performance in your courses. Perhaps it helps the students to move away from “plug and chug” questions, or move away from decoding questions to really trying to understand them.

    • Tamara Wong 6:06 pm on October 7, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Great points! This explains my consistently bad scores between chess and math. I’m glad you mentioned how games help even with your relationship and stress levels. I imagine things like that might also transfer to our students.

      • hall 7:08 pm on October 8, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        You are welcome. I am glad that I was some help to you. I really think that the playing of games is a very useful problem solving tool.

    • Deb Kim 6:16 pm on October 8, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Although I’m a secondary Math teacher, I’ve never played Chess or Chinese checkers.
      I know that It requires some (mathematical) strategies and males are usually better at these kinds of games. I haven’t seen any of my femal friends play Chess or Chinese checkers.
      Come to think of it, whenever I give my Tech Immersion students free time, I always see boys playing online games and girls watching YouTube music videos or working on their homework. I wonder if playing games has something to do with a differnece between sexes.


      • hall 7:13 pm on October 8, 2011 | Log in to Reply

        Hi Deb,

        That is a very good observation. You have caused me to become more alert in observing males and females attitudes towards the playing of games. Maybe that can explain why males normally perform better than females in mathematics and science.

  • Angela Novoa 5:41 pm on October 5, 2011
    0 votes

    When I started playing 3rd World Farmer I was a little lost about what I should do. I thought that this was not a good educational game. But I decided to continue playing in order to figure out what are players supposed to do. While playing I was discovering the things that I had to […]

    Continue reading When I started playing 3rd World Farmer … Posted in: Week 05: Game-Based Learning
    • jenaca 3:52 am on October 6, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hey Angela,
      I encountered the same experience as you while playing 3rd World Farmer. I wasn’t sure what to do, but after sticking with it soon found that it is a great way to exercise decision making and problem solving!

    • Julie S 1:52 pm on October 6, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Good point Angela, I think this game could really benefit from a multiplayer version. It would be more interesting and I think more meaningful because you would have a more authentic community experience.

    • Keisha Edwards-Hamilton 7:34 am on October 7, 2011 | Log in to Reply


      I agree with you that it would be more attractive for users that the game could foster a collaborative learning. Doing this promotes higher level thinking skills, increases student retention, builds self-esteem in students, enhances student satisfaction with the learning experience, promotes a positive attitude toward the subject matter and develops social interaction skills.


    • hall 7:22 pm on October 8, 2011 | Log in to Reply

      Hi Angela,

      I like the listed benefits of playing games. I agree with you that the playing of games fosters creativity and critical thinking and create a friendly-user platform. I also think that the playing of games allows one to see the true character of a person. For example, the playing of a game will observe if a person gets angry easily or is competitive. Some ladies they used the playing of games to identify the characteristics of their partners.

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