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Posts Tagged ‘games

I used to facilitate workshops on game-based learning quite regularly. I fondly recall how I leveraged on the same games to facilitate learning on topics like ICT in education, systemic change, and flipped learning.

I did this with preservice teachers, inservice teachers, non-teachers, and even visitors from other countries.

I revived some evergreen ideas on gaming for a new course this week, but had a tough time ensuring that the Flash-based games could work. These were really good games like Dafur is Dying and the McVideo Game.

Neither is hosted by their original makers and I had to find alternative hosts. I do not know how long this will last.

Despite Flash practically doing its best impression of The Walking Dead, it lives on online. Not because it is superior to what we have now — Flash is a security nightmare — but because good ideas were built on flawed ones.

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This video with the clickbait title follows the Betteridge Law. This is any headline asked as a question that can be answered no.


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The answers are more nuanced. After reviewing some research, Hank Green concluded by pointing out that the differences of gamers and the nature of games mattered first.

Something similar could be asked of and answered about any technology enhanced or enabled process, e.g., do iPads improve grades, does access to social media harm socialisation, do algorithms boost teaching?

The nature of people and what they do matters. Let’s not be tricked by the press squeezing the low-hanging fruit and vendors leveraging on what you do not know.

Just as video games do not cause the type of violence you read about in newspaper headlines, the good that you see in technology-mediated interventions are not the due to technology alone. It is part of a socio-technical system and the social part is too rich and complex to have a simple answer.

One of the things I get participants of my inservice course on change management to do is play mobile video games.

Not only do I want them to get insights on the learner mindset, I also use the games as shared platforms from which we draw principles of change.

I look for cross platform mobile games (iOS and Android) of course. I used to ask that participants play a flavour of Angry Birds and Tiny Tower.

With the release of newer games, I am thinking of using Plants vs Zombies 2 (PvZ2) [iOS/Android] and Tiny Death Star [iOS/Android] next semester.

Both are free and work nicely on phones and slates alike. I think they will help participants experience the principles of change management for themselves before we draw them out by discussion and reflection.


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Tom Chatfield outlined seven ways video games engage the brain. You need to fast forward to the 8min 40sec mark before any of the seven are mentioned!

  1. Having experience bars for measuring progress
  2. Offering multiple long and short-term gains
  3. Rewarding effort
  4. Providing feedback that is rapid, frequent and clear
  5. Including elements of uncertainty
  6. Creating windows of enhanced attention
  7. Interacting with other people


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It’s the weekend. It’s time to chill out with a music video that features Angry Birds, Plants vs Zombies and other iOS games as they may play out in real life.


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I chanced upon this short PBS documentary on games in Vimeo’s “Staff Picks”.

It covers quite a lot of ground but what impressed me the most was how games have evolved from being male-centric and about wanton violence to being more about user expression and construction. They have become about giving players choices and having them deal with the consequences.

Games have become about life, sometimes mirroring its dark and painful aspects, but remain about playing, feeling and thinking. That is why I think game-based learning works.


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I tweeted this resource last week and have shared it with my ICT class as we prepare for sessions on game-based learning.

The video is not about game-based learning. Instead, its focus is on the gamers of today and tomorrow, and how they hope to see gaming evolve.

What caught my attention was the statistic that 75% of the respondents would like to see games in classrooms and for learning. Actually, this shouldn’t be too surprising given how the 2011 Horizon Report for K-12 predicts that game-based learning has a two to three year time-to-adoption period.

I am ready if they are and I am doing my best to prepare teachers who are ready too!


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