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.”
To read the full article click here;
Here is a great video/lesson on the educational power of digital games and how using the principles of good game design teachers can improve their instruction.
The introduction is kind of slow – she starts with a survey – but, be patient (or skip ahead 1 to 2 minutes) and your will learn about the power of games for learning.
- From Angry Birds to Minecraft – What games teach us about learning – an #iste13 session (murcha.wordpress.com)
- Five Reasons Why You Should Play Minecraft with Your Child (closefamilies.wordpress.com)
“Anne McLaughlin and Jason Allaire, psychology professors at North Carolina University “run the Gains Through Gaming Lab, which examines how the playing of video games improves cognitive ability in older adults. To test their theory, the researchers asked 39 adults ages 60 to 77 to play World of Warcraft for roughly two hours a day over a two-week period. They gave the test group a cognitive exam before the two-week period began, and again after the two weeks were up. They also had a control group of adults who did not play the game. The researchers found that two weeks of playing World of Warcraft … there was significant improvement in both spatial ability and focus for the participants who scored low on the initial test… The results of the study were published in the peer reviewed journal Computers in Human Behavior.” Can playing World of Warcraft make you smarter? – latimes.com.