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Monday, October 03, 2005

Video Games in Education: Application

I haven't posted much this past week, in part because I have worked too much, but also because I am now in the application phase of the research project I have been working on for the past few months. Once again, though, I have found myself lacking in motivation and structure for my work in this open-ended phase of the project, so I am once again turning to this blog as a possible solution - it worked wonders during the research phase.

So, I have been working on a 3 hour course titled "Introduction to Video Games in Education", which I will actually teach at the OCDE tech center on December 13th. (Sign up if you live in Orange County!) Tonight I offer up my draft of the slides I will use during the class. I have almost certainly over planned at this point, but all of the theory in the opening section I have previously presented in an entertaining 15 minutes at the Walden residency this summer, so this may be do-able, even if it may make participants' heads spin a bit.

In any case, if you are interested, take a look at the powerpoint file and let me know what you think. (I hope you have the fonts I used, but if not, that will be valuable feedback, too.) Thanks.

Click here for a zipped version of the powerpoint file. (2.7 MB - sorry, I have cable and don't usually bother resizing my images.)

In the coming days I hope to start posting reflections on articles again, too. I've been making my way through last months' Issue of Innovate.

Also, I had the good fortune of interviewing / chatting with Clark Aldrich on the phone last week. If all goes well, I will also be talking with James Paul Gee this Thursday afternoon. Parts of these talks will appear in the "Video Games in Education" webcast scheduled to be available October 13th through the OCDE at http://vc.ocde.us. At this point we also plan to produce a companion podcast in order to share more of the audio only conversations, so keep an eye on our RSS feed at http://edtech.ocde.us. Henry Jenkins will be interviewed via iSight for the webcast this week also (again, if all goes well), and other educators are submitting video of their implementations of games in education. I'm more than a little excited about this project, as you might imagine.

Thanks for reading.


PS. I finally received "Got Game: How the Gamer Generation is Reshaping Business Forever" in the mail this afternoon. :)


At 8:43 AM, Blogger Mr.Ball said...

I especially like that you talk about the Gears that Seymour Papert writes about in his 'The Gears of My Childhood". I think this relates to me the best form of learning- fun discovery.

It's cool to see that you have included many mainstream games as learning tools. Are you planning on including anything in the course about convincing parents that this 'Hard Fun' can be genuine learning? I've started to talk with my parent community about what they think of games and it's been a little tough breaking down the barriers. Mind you I teach grade 3.

It feels odd making comments because I see the notes and I know they are topic you will cover but I’m not sure how much or in what ways for some of them.

These might be too specific...
I saw on one of your slide that you are going to discuss Constructivist Learning Environments. Will this be brought forward as a Digital Constructivist Learning Environments? What about a section on what the characteristics of a replay-able learning environment are (this is one that I'm starting to look into)?

Is it possible to sign up for a distance learning side of this course? Seriously.

At 10:33 PM, Blogger Mark Wagner said...

Mr. Ball (is it Aaron?),

Thank you for your feedback. I'm glad you caught the gears reference and I'm looking forward to sharing it with the participants. I turns out I was exposed to it from his books, beginning with Mindstorms I think.

I hadn't yet thought about building the argument for 'hard fun' for the audience of the parents. One of the people we interviewed recently, Jenkins I think, suggested that it is becoming easier to convince parents and teachers of the potential of games in education, because more and more parents and teachers have grown up with video games, and may even be players themselves. (His point was that the challenge is now to convince developers that it is commercially viable to develop games for education.) Thank you for the tip; parents are probably an audience I should give more thought, too, since the participants will almost certainly be faced with the need to convince parents when they return to their classrooms. I suspect that in a one on one conversation with a parent, many of the same reasons I suggest to teachers would be convincing for parents as well, particularly the importance of learning what I refer to as 21st century skills.

Also, my current research is exploring games as constructivist learning environments. My research here is what has lead me to the focus on context-embedded, inquiry-driven, and socially negotiated learning... or as I try to simplify it now, context, choice, and collaboration. I have not focused so much on replayability. In fact, I am opting for multi-player socially-negotiated environments, such as MMORPGs, instead of the replayability of something like an ordinary RPG. Aldrich talks about this trade off in his books. I gather from your email (and your blogs) that you are conducting (or have conducted) some related research and would love to chat with you about it.

My colleague Mike Guerena and I have been considering webcasting (and archiving) the class on december 13th, especially in the wake of the webcast we plan to make available on October 20th (keep an eye on vc.ocde.us) and the companion podcasts that will probably accompany it (at edtech.ocde.us). I forwarded him your email, and I think we will arrange to film, webcast, and archive the class. Thanks for asking. :)



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