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Video games are about

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Video games are about learning more than anything else. Oh sure, there are harrowing tales of adventure, exciting forays into the realm of action and vicarious experiences to enjoy. Yet, at the heart of console and computer gaming is a learning process; learning to control, learning systems, consequences and rewards. The best part about video games for learning? They are at once collaborative and autodidactic. They allow for the exploration of the depth of human potential on a level determined by those playing them, alone or together or somewhere in between. Video games are a glimpse into the future of the education institution. Just wait until 3D avatar spaces become widespread. Then it is just a matter of time before a direct interface with the technology and guess what? Have you ever seen the Matrix? I have, and I can't wait.

I've made a casual game to

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I've made a casual game to learn/review vocabulary. As a university EFL teacher in Japan (and student of Japanese myself), I was aiming to provide a deeper (and more engaging!) kind of game than the usual multiple choice/match style that is most common.
Try it out at www.lexwordgameapp.com
You can import any text-based flashcards from Quizlet - languages/SAT vocab etc - and teachers can also make their own sets at Quizlet.
Best,
Oliver

8th grade ELA teacher, MN

I'm grateful to have come

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I'm grateful to have come across this posting - I would have never considered the use of video games as instructional tools in my classroom. What an easy way to activate knowledge and build on it. Teaching tone and the plot line with video games are both things I could easily do now. What else: conflict? Hero quest? Creative writing? I'm not very familiar with the games myself, so I'll continue to research work others have done integrating games into lessons. Great article. Thank you for the resources and links!

Former High School Engineering Teacher now Author and EdD

Free Book for Teens...............

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Educators,
I'm Rob Garcia, a former high school Engineering teacher in San Diego. I left my defense contractor job to write a great book for teens. For the month of October, I am GIVING AWAY FREE an E-Book of it to all Edutopia readers that email me at robleegarcia@yahoo.com and request it. Teen Juggernaut is fully illustrated and has chapters on self esteem, dealing with bullying, the importance of math and how it can get you into a high tech career, fitness, and how to choose a college. I have already sent to over 7 countries all over the world and many states. I'm doing this to promote the book and to reward all of you that strive to make a young person's life better.

This book is VERY pro engineering and math, and also lists several ways to get to college on reduced or free tuition. I have used a lot of Project Based Learning methodologies as well.

I'm getting kickbacks from school accounts due to size, so Yahoo or Gmail accounts work better. Thanks and I hope you enjoy reading it.

Rob

Research

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I have to admit that I am intrigued by gaming, especially in core content areas. I am sure it will increase engagement, at least among that population that is hardest to engage. However, I wonder if there is any research to show that gaming actually helps students retain information and meet content standards. It seems like you would have to have custom made games for every state and I just think that would be too expensive. Does anyone know of research to support gaming in core areas?

Sparking Student Interest

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Last year I began teaching a unique class for regular ed students that have the potential to fail high-stakes testing. My class size cannot be over 15 and is usually no more that 12. I have a good rapport with most of my students and more often than not, the students, especially the boys, want to share anything and everything about video games. We used their collected data for graphing and they had a countdown on the board for the next new game release date. But, the thing that let me know that you have to find what interests them, was our poetry unit. I had students who had completed very few writing assignments all year put everything they had into this because they could write 15 poems about their favorite video game. They analyzed it, took the best parts of it and wrote fantastic poetry. I can't wait to use the ideas in your blog to teach tone and voice. I know my students will be excited to learn!

Secondary English Teacher

THANK YOU! This was a great

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THANK YOU! This was a great post to read as an English teacher -- and as a parent to two boys. I am looking forward to researching the links. I am also anxious to adapt the video game story line into an application to literature. Graphic novels are so big in schools, but what about adapting a classic text to a video game format? What kind of levels would Huck and Hester have to face? A question I'd love to have some input on as well would be this: gamers love to "level up" and reach success as the adrenaline of the win takes over; is this comparable to the feeling of a win on a sports field? In a musical competition? In another field? I'm curious about the correlation between the sense of accomplishment students get while being less active. How will this play out long term?

Yes

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Great article. I likely read more playing RPGs on my SNES than I did in all of elementary school.
Another useful resource on this topic is LearningWorks for Kids -- it covers how games digital media can be used at home and in the classroom - http://learningworksforkids.com/

Instructional Technology Coordinator, Pender County Schools, NC

Great Article - Real-world examples

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Very happy to see articles like this. This is an area I've been working in for a few years, now. If you'd like some specific examples of games and how we're using them, check out the following resources:
http://wowinschool.pbworks.com (Project devoted to the use of World of Warcraft and other online games for middle grades language arts)
Http://minecraftinschool.pbworks.com (Project devoted to the use of Minecraft in all areas, K-12)
http://storyandgameacademy.pbworks.com (Project that uses games from XBox, PlayStation, PC, iPad, etc., to promote middle grades language arts)

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