Resources and Reflections

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Gaming software in your budget?

Education is boring to most students but one would be hard pressed to prove that students find learning boring. Most of your lessons are boring and you’re the dispenser of knowledge but not a guarantor of learning. As many have finished budgets many have considered school supplies for purchasing. Textbook purchases spurned debates because the rationale to purchase textbooks these days should be tempered with the knowledge that many online textbooks and teaching sources are free. So why buy thousands of dollars worth of textbooks that will rarely get used and destroyed? Some have considered this point and decided to focus on other teaching and learning tools. Some have focused on interactive and visual devices like Smartboards and LCD projectors – and other technologies. But all these tools seem to be somewhat less than passive tools for dispensing knowledge. And these tools are no different than using textbooks.

If experts say that students need to become creative-thinkers, problem-solvers, life-long learners, then how do we create a learning environment that encourages thinkers? We need stimulating, collaborative, active, and self-fulfilling tools. Textbooks are under-stimulating and isolating. Smartboards and LCD projectors are glorified presentation tools but a little more stimulating than textbooks. Has anybody put in for educational video games – or perused free ones like http://www.re-mission.net/ , http://www.food-force.com/ , http://www.darfurisdying.com/, Legend of Zelda, Morrowind ? Or costly ones like Myst, Civilization, TheSims, or Making History to name but a few? All these games rely on teams and social activities similar to the world of our students. All these educational games promote creativity, thinking, and problem-solving. Most importantly students teach themselves how to learn.

With that said, there is no reason to think that kids learn in a vacuum. Teachers teach kids!

A must read: http://www.pbs.org/teachers/learning.now/2008/03/should_video_games_replace_cla.html

Free game from IBM: http://www.powerupthegame.org/

View these sources:
http://www.gamesforchange.org/ and Games in Education video at http://www.seriousgames.org/index2.html


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