#MSET Session 4: Digital Game-Based Learning in the Classroom

Presented by Ryan Schaaf of Howard County.

The last time I attended a session on using games in education I was under whelmed, but I think that was more from the presenter than the subject.  I am cautiously optimistic.

  • First paper handout I’ve seen this conference.  Printed PowerPoint slides.
  • “Let’s start with your Door Prize!  … I left it at home.”  It was cards for a contest for a game called “Legend of Zork.”
  • In games the teacher is the guide and students learn through exploration.
  • “Mirrors how humans think and how the mind works.”
  • His slides are walls of text.  I don’t think it’s hurting his presentation too much though.  He’s not just reading the slides, and paging through the handout shows that these are just to front-load background information.
  • Gaming appeals to multiple intelligences. (Yay, Gardner!)
  • “Teaches without its main purpose as teaching.”
  • Can be used to train in low-risk environments. Military, Aviation, Medical, Financial, and so on.
  • Motivation, Instructional Strategy, Closure, Assessment, Review, Reteach.
  • Current slide is showing the cover of GTA4 (very violent, not for kids) and the hunting scene from Oregon Trail (with LOTS of dead animals).
  • Gaming DOES NOT EQUAL babysitting.  (Same deal with TV, movies, Discovery Education Streaming, etc. – It needs a purpose!)
  • “The teacher has to be there to guide and direct.”
  • Use careful and deliberate search terms to find high quality educational games.
  • Showing a sample game on composting from http://bravekidgames.com/
  • Lore of the Labyrinth from Thinkport.  I think I’ve seen this game presented at this conference before.  It teaches math but not in a dry style.
  • http://shodor.org/activities/ for High School students.
  • Quia – pay to make games but play them for free.  I’ve toyed with this before.  They have a free trial.
  • Thinkfinity.org – Engineering
  • Showing data concerning gaming activity.  Students did not just enjoy it, they also spent more time engaged in the lesson.
  • “I’m not saying it should always be used, I’m saying it’s a good tool and at least as effective as other strategies.”