Jason Haas, of MIT, writes that;
“Commercial massively multiplayer online games, or MMOs, like World of Warcraft offer a number of features common to great learning environments. These games are, to varying degrees, collaborative, inquiry-based, and self-directed, all of which make them a prime place to explore aspects of math and science learning. Having a “world” in which to situate problems also means that players can solve something that feels meaningful to them; and see the consequences of their individual and collective actions. The massively multiplayer nature of these games also creates an opportunity for students to address problems with colleagues. Problems too large for any one of them to solve by themselves can be solved collectively by gathering data together, comparing notes, and acting decisively, confident in their evidence-based decisions.
At their best (and, frankly, even at their worst), these games function as a kind of society.
So, if you can combine these existing practices with engaging math and science content, imagine the learning experience you could provide. Thanks to a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, we’re doing just that.
Our game, The Radix Endeavor, is a massively multiplayer online learning game, designed by our lab, The Education Arcade at MIT, and developed by Filament Games in Madison, Wisc. The game places thousands of players in an Earth-like world with a technical and social situation similar to our 1400s.”
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Anna Malczyk details four things that games teach teachers; how to make learning fun, how to motivate learners, how to foster teamwork and cooperation, and how to set meaningful challenges.
“Gaming and education are often seen as two extremes of a spectrum — the one is a frivolous pastime while the other is a serious, valuable activity. At the same time, we instinctively know that playing and learning are linked somehow — after all, children and young animals use play to acquire the vital skills they’ll need for survival in the grown-up world.”
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