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Gaming Can Make a Better World

Jane McGonigal
TED Conferece



Midterm Paper for EST 579 Educational Games
Dr. Lori L. Scarlatos

Assignment: write a paper that assesses the educational value of a learning game.

  1. Choose a game that you either have played or will have an opportunity to play. Write a brief overview of the game: who it is for, what platform it is to be played on, what educational purpose it is supposed to serve.   
    2.  Evaluate the game in terms of pedagogical and context criteria, content criteria, and technical criteria, as described in A methodological proposal for learning games selection and quality assessment.

    3.  Use the rubric found in Assessing Higher Order Thinking in Video Games* to give this game a rating.
    4.  In your conclusion, discuss the results of using these two approaches to evaluation. Finally, indicate whether you would consider using this as a learning tool, and why.

Assessing EVOKE: A Crash Course in Changing the World as an Education Game
The controversial educational philosophy of game designer,
Jane McGonigal

by Nancy Wozniak 

 This assignment caused growth in me as an educator.  I stepped outside of my traditional teaching mindset and took a good look at our current student population and their methods of communication and learning.  Walls of attitude and traditional teaching snobbrey toppled within me. Watch McGonigal's TED video and peel down past “If we want to survive the next century on this planet, we need to increase that total dramatically.  I’ve calculated the total hours of game play needed as twenty-one billion a week”  Look past her rhetoric and methods.  Bottomline, she's advocating making the learning experience real and relevant to the student's life.

I'm interested in motivational methods for learning. Our job as educators is to provide those motivators in our classrooms and promote intrinsic motivations in our student to take charge of their own learning.  I ask my students to think of their favorite teacher? What was it about that teacher that made their classroom a comfortable place to learn? What was it about that teacher that made the classroom experience so memorable?  Here's the top ten answers I've received.  The teacher was

10.     passionate about the subject

  9.     enthusiastic with presenting the subject. 
              •moved around the classroom
              •told interested stories

  8.     able help to hold my attention and if I came to class everyday, I didn't
          have to spend a lot of time studying the text book

  7.     able to make the subject real to me and apply it to my own life.
  6.     entertaining and had a good sense of humor. 

  5.     open to the students' comments and suggestions about the course

  4.     a student, also and encouraged our participation and input.

  3.     available to the students for extra help and attention.

  2.     open to new ways of learning the material.

 and the NUMBER ONE answer was ...

   1.    real and made the content real to us.

Video games and simulations are tools that easily bring real-world and relevant experiences into the learning environment in the classroom.  We shouldn't dismiss them.  Our role is to educate and we are faced with 21-Century learners.  We need to adjust our teaching methods and consider how they learn and learn ourselves.  It's not about, "It was good enough for me".  The priority is that our students learn and become lifelong learners in the process.

DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.