Video Games

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Yesterday Kelly and I took a vacation from homework (at least for me) and headed off to spend a day in San Francisco. Since part of the day involved a 45 minute BART ride I was able to catch up on some reading. On Saturday the latest copies of NEA Today and Technology & Learning appeared in my mail box. In what seems to be a strange coincidence to me, both magazines had articles on using video games in the classroom. If you don’t have your own print versions, click on these links.

NEA Today – “Educators Got Game”

Technology & Learning – “Getting it Wrong – Slaying Myths about Video Games”

The topic of video games in education has been of interest to me for awhile. However, I haven’t been quite sure were to start. Contrary to my generational stereotype (I’m 30) I not much of a gamer. That isn’t to say that I haven’t enjoyed a video game from time to time, but for the most part I rely on my students for keeping me informed on the latest video game trends. I am also not really sure where to find games that cover concepts taught as part of 7th and 8th grade science. Are there interesting and engaging games covering density and buoyancy?

In spite of a few hurdles I need to conquer, I am intrigued by the idea of bringing video games into my classroom. Video games play a huge role in the daily after-school activities of many of my students. According to my class technology survey, 65% of my students reported using the computers and the Internet to game at home. Today during a class conversation about how to participate in Moodle discussion forums all of the students who had participated in a discussion forum in the past had done so to find out more information about their favorite game. All of these signs say to me that my students are interested and engaged by video games, willing to spend extra time playing them, and willing to learn more about them on their own. Ironically, this is exactly how I want them to feel about the concepts I am teaching! It seems like video games might be a great portal for “tricking” them into learning.

On the BART ride home with my magazines finished I spent some time searching for articles, websites, and blogs on my phone. I found two interesting blogs on video games in education. David McDivitt, a history and sociology teacher in Indiana (who was quoted in the NEA article) and Bill MacKenty both have some great resources that have my mind flowing. Check them out when you have a chance and let me know if you see any great science games.

Joe

Photo: PSP by Wistreize

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