Learning games

Gaming advances as a learning tool, reports eSchoolNews. At a junior high in Laramie, Wyoming, teams of business students use “Restaurant Empire” to “create virtual restaurants, tending to details like training the wait staff and calculating whether sushi would turn a profit.”

They had to write reports and use Microsoft Excel to track the numbers. They also divvied up business responsibilities within their groups.

. . . Using computer games to teach is hardly new. The military has been doing it with pilots and soldiers for decades, and corporations have been gaming for years as well. PricewaterhouseCoopers, for example, taught its employees about derivatives — a category of investments — using a game about a mining company in outer space.

Social studies games include:

•”Civilization” (Sid Meier)
•”Capitalism” (Enlight Software)
•”Age of Empires” (MS Game Studios, Ensemble Studios)

Via This Week in Education.

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  1. I’ve used an early Sid Meirs game called Colonization (not the Alpha Centaruri version) to help teach about the colonization of the new world. If nothing else, it provided an incentive for the students to do their work diligently, since it was played in “free time”.

  2. Catch Thirty Thr33 says:

    As a fan of the SimCity series (I have 2000, 3000 and SimCity4), I can see how that game can teach economics and various aspects of urbanization. Provided, of course, they do not know the cheat codes! 🙂

  3. wayne martin says:

    Keeping players’ attention is a large part of the challenge of any computer interface design. Game designers have been working on this for a couple of decades now. A lot of their knowledge is anecdotal, or proprietary, but academics have been looking at some the techniques with the goal of integrating these ideas and techniques into distance learning tools.

    Each summer there is a symposium at the University of Wisconsin which brings together hundreds of researchers and practitioners of the art and technology:

    Every year more than 1,000 attendees come together at The Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning to share expertise, experiences and resources. Over the years, this collaborative event has created new understandings about what constitutes best practices in the field.

    This library contains streaming media from keynotes and forums and more than 800 proceeding papers and session handouts from information sessions, roundtables, workshops and course design showcases. Use buttons at left to access these free archived materials.
    There is a lot of material from previous sessions on their WEB-site.

    (Select Shared Library Space)

    The “Keynote Presentations” selector provides videos of Keynote speeches; the “New Directions Forum” contains papers of topic-specific presentations.

    Many of the papers deal with the role of games in the evolution of this technology.