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Charter School Teacher from NY

You made me rethink the idea

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You made me rethink the idea behind "games". Games do get a lot of attention and yet, we underestimate its influence. Educators try to discover the best possible ways to capture a learner's attention. And here we are overlooking the potential of such method. Game-based curriculum seems to encompass two important factors of successful learning - excitement and strategy. The excitement it brings about will obviously generate interest and motivation from students. Strategy, on the other hand, will usher in critical-thinking and that extra push to tap into their skills and win the game. The only thing left for us to do is to design the learning module according to a learner's needs. It may be tedious at first or at least until we learn the ropes of the game. Great ideas...Keep them coming!

Health Teacher

21st century teachers

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I enjoyed your thoughts. I think the most critical component that you mention is a skillful teacher. A skilled teacher can make a lesson out of just about anything, even Angry Birds. The problem is that there are not a lot of really skilled teachers especially when it comes to using digital tools in the classroom. I feel there are teachers that were taught to teach a certain way and integrating games and technology is not part of it. I hope universities can start to train teachers to be more prepared for 21st century skills and thinking about how integrating technology will assist in that process. Are universities training teachers to be 21st century teachers?

Ontario

Great post

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Really enjoyed reading this. Jackson - you are right on the ball when you say what is missing is the association of specific skills with activities in current games today. Being part of an organization that has created an educational game, I can attest to the fact that the ed community is not as open as they could be to the concept - although it is getting better!

Our game focuses on the development of early math skills (grades 1-5) by allowing children to enter a fantasy world, customize their wizard and level up as they progress through the game (learn additional skills), very similar to World of Warcraft. Using both adaptive algorithms in the software itself and a wrist sensor to detect a child's emotional state, the game adapts itself to retain a child's attention longer.

Check it out when you get the chance here. I would love to see the engaging aspects of gaming be put to good use!

English, Spanish, ESL teacher pursuing degree in Educational Leadership

Gaming is the Real 21st Century Skill...

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In reality, 21st Century skills don't have to have anything to do with technology, though technology very often facilitates their development.

My concern is that by saying Halo is educational (which it clearly can be) students and educators might miss the point. Technology by itself isn't educational, the critical thinking and problem solving skills are what is critical. What is most often missing is reflection on the skills used to solve a problem in WoW or Angry Birds. The 21st Skills education comes in to play only if students are encouraged to identify what they did, think in a metacognitive manner about what they accomplished and if they analyze their thinking throughout the process.

I totally agree with Miller's assertions, but believe that more time must be given to reflect. I actually love using table-top, board games to teach such skills. Games like Flash Point and Pandemic are extremely engaging boardgames that pit the game against the group of players who work together to solve problems like the outbreak of diseases across the globe. Students must talk, plan, analyze, and reflect in order to win and they have to do it in the middle of the game.

In the end I think such ideas are more closely related to project based learning, (as opposed to use of technology) where the project is a problem to be solved by using 21st Century Skills.

Editorial Assistant and Blogger

Games

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I got a lot out of your piece, Andrew. One of the fundament parts of game-based curriculum design that I like (and that James Gee discusses) is the idea that learning "failure" should be low stakes--a principle that encourages risk, exploration, and perserverance. Thanks for this important piece. -Todd

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