Conclusion Post (311b)

•April 17, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Time to say goodbye to the topic of gaming in the classroom? I think not. I fully intend to utilize quite a few ideas that I’ve written about and researched in this/for this blog within my own classrooms. I am a fully knowledgeable software “acquirer” and could connect a class in a lot of the ways I’ve discussed. I think the wave of the future for the classrooms really is gaming, as it is a lot of what kids in this modern age know. I know, for one, that my brother knew how to utilize a Playstation Controller before he could read time or use a tv remote. What it boils down to is funding and effort. Since the technology for a lot of the games that I’ve mentioned is cheap now, and I definitely have the motivation to utilize them, I do not see any barriers to utilizing a lot of the ideas I’ve presented.
As far as the whole project goes…I was less satisfied with the results of this blog in comparison to my 310 blog. I just didn’t learn as much. Overall I feel that it was a success, though, since I did get a lot of new ideas about what exactly writing and reading has to do with video games.

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Civilization Series: A beacon among educational Gaming

•April 17, 2007 • 3 Comments

The civilization series requires players to essentially live out a civilization that has occurred on the planet at some time or another. This requires holistic knowledge of the civilization, right down to its mythology, customs, and history. You get points for playing through correctly, as far as historically accurate anyway, and must advance the civilizations at the appropriate times in order to get the most points. This MTV article:
CIV III

Talks about an experimental SS class that is utilizing it. I do not think that using the CIV series stops there, though. I think you can use it to teach Greek, Roman, and Scandinavian mythology in 8th grade english. I also believe you can utilize it in a civics class teaching the students how the bargaining process occurs between politicians. The uses are exhaustive, meaning that it has its limitations, but as far as gaming goes I consider it right on the edge for almost all of school uses. Most tactical sim games are just about the violence, but you can shut off the violence in this game and play it pretty much just like the SIMS, completely peaceful and requiring the necessary steps to knowing the civilizations.

A huge barrier to Games in the classroom is….

•April 17, 2007 • 4 Comments

obesity. People are going to be worried about it with so many video games flying around that most parents are afraid of their kids not getting off of their duffs. To put their worries to rest, though, I cite the new console Nintendo Wii, the Dance Dance Revolution game, and the Eye Toy for the PS2.  The article I referenced for this post is:
Healthy Games

The Nintendo Wii is a console utilizing a wireless remote that promotes all kinds of activity, as opposed to just “sittingon your duff.” Indeed, most games require that a person is standing up. Take for instance the tennis game on the “Wii Sports” disc that comes with the system. You are required to move around the room in front of the TV in accordance with the tennis ball, swinging the remote like it is your racket. The game provides you with a caloric “readout” at the end of every session stating how many calories it estimates that you burn. Now that is interactive!

The Dance Dance Revolution game is a huge focus of the article. It talks about utilizing the game for cardiovascular workouts. I can state from personal experience that this game is CRAZY WORKOUT TIME. Seriously. The fast paced music that you have to keep beat to and motivate your feet is right up there cardiovascularly with sprinting. Especially when you get to the upper levels of the game.

The eye toy is a different sort of workout. I was thinking more on the lines of cognitively impaired students who have trouble with their coordination and such. There are games for it that require the player to pop bubbles or the “whack a mole” type of games. This would build coordination and help the students focus their mind while still working out their reflexes and muscles.

Video games and the ESL classroom! Ay Caramba!

•April 17, 2007 • 5 Comments

Imagine this setting: You are teaching english in western Michigan, it is your first day. You walk into a classroom of ESL students, each in front of their laptop. You sit down at your desk, unfold your own laptop, and uplink into a virtual world where all the rest of the students already are located. Each has their own avatar, completely designed by them and created to represent everything that they are. You all group together, ready for another day’s quest to seek out language in the world you all have created. Each student gains points for correctly identifying structures, shapes, and objects within the world correctly in english, thereby breaking down the language barrier digitally and with confidence. Honestly, HOW COOL WOULD THAT BE? I would be totally geeked to be able to do this with a room full of ESL students. You could even recreate cities within the game world, and while the students were in the classroom they would be able to get a job, build a house, everything, and get an immersion lesson EVERY day instead of just rote memorization of grammar and vocab. I must admit, I stole this idea from:
ESL

But still, I think this would be not only a huge gap jump for ESL learners, but also a viable tool to  (dun dun dun bridging the RSS gap here) detrack schools in catching the ESL learners up to the normal students as far as understanding the language.

The infinite (and beyond….)

•April 17, 2007 • 2 Comments

There are infinite possibilities to using games within the classroom. Infinite, I say. Why? Because the only limitations with the technology are provided by the programmer’s mind. There is not much left to “dream” about when it comes to gaming. Every day 2,000,000+ people log on to World of Warcraft and socialize while playing their favorite game. TWO MILLION PEOPLE. That’s downright amazing. Now, imagine if you will, a reading class that is trying to utilize different languages to read text in their original form. A passage comes along that is rough to read mostly because (lets say we’re reading The Prince by Machiavelli) in Latin there is little room for contextual interpretation. Boom, down goes the white screen and up comes the computer. Link to the Latin class that’s going on down the hall on a virtual classroom. Up link the text, the two classes work together to interpret the work side by side. Now that would be holistic learning possibilities, right? The article that gave me the idea for this is:
Incorporating Games

In it, the article speaks about using games in different classes. When I was in highschool, we tried this holistic learning attempt bridging english and history, not a wide gap but it was a step in the right direction. My history teacher always talked about how cool it would be to link all the classes together and learn everything in total synchronous learning. What better way to do it with a virtual classroom, a kind of game for all the students? Think about it!

A game review (sample of a game that fosters proper reading skills)

•April 17, 2007 • 2 Comments

There is a game for XBOX 360 and PC right now by the name of Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion. Now, mind you, there are roughly infinite playing hours inside this game, so I have not fully explored the world or really gotten very far at all (I’m level 6), but I have gotten a considerable idea of what the game is about. It is the basic search and quest RPG where you have a role to play in saving the planet, which is a given in 99% of RPG’s, but the cool part is that the entire game is pretty much interactive (no background interactions, but destructible terrain is a pain to code). The world is a living, breathing one where characters go to work, eat, sleep, and do everything else that normal people do. This includes, dun dun dun, write books. That is right! There is an entire library full of short stories (not to mention shelves of manuals and guides) within the game. The texts are flavorful, but not extremely difficult, so the people playing the game can get enjoyment out of the short stories themselves. Now, I’ve actually been looking around for the short stories, so I can’t promise that they automatically are gained. There is, however, a massive amount of textual background to the game anyway. If a student were to demonstrate to me, through screen shots for instance, that they were published in the world of Morrowind writing guild (yes there is a writing guild) OR that they successfully gathered and read the entire works of a writer within Oblivion (there are ways of showing how much of the text has been read) I would grant them credit for the reading (or extra credit if I couldnt’ get a lot of support for gaming inside the classroom). This game, honestly, takes at least a 10th grade reading skill to comprehend, not to mention everything that must be memorized and categorized. Anyone who is against gaming within the classroom just needs to sit down and play this for a while, then see how their brain feels after absorbing roughly 500 pages worth of text. A professional review for the game is as follows:
IGN

Writing about games? Why not?

•April 17, 2007 • 1 Comment

Utilizing video games in the classroom can be a tricky subject. When I talked to my parents about it (after they asked me what I was doing in class these days) they smirked and said nothing useful has ever came out of that “stupid nintendo bulls***.” Of course I differed in opinion and it sparked a huge debate about if they have any viable use in the classroom beyond the obvious outside of classroom stuff I have already spoken about. One of the top arguments I made was that if students can do book reports, why can’t they do game reports? It is the same kind of writing, that is to say semi-professional review, and as long as I provided the students with a list of appropriate video games (ones that actually promote good reading skills, not the mindless violence sort) much like any teacher does with books, I do not see any problem with letting students do “game reviews.” I actually found an article that discusses this very topic. The writer went to a conference on utilizing games in the classroom, and one of the most important topics was writing about games. The article is as follows:
Game Reviews

Honestly, the only thing holding the gaming industry back from the educational market is funding and ideas. What would be brilliant is to see complete “divisions” at gaming places designing and crafting educationally spawned gaming. That would be a step in the right direction for certain.