Saturday, January 31, 2009

Gredler: Games and Simulations as tools to prepare students to the real world

Games and simulations are important tools in preparing students to the real world. Students will have the opportunity to test their knowledge, to experience the given task or scenarios, and to make their own decisions. Owning the experience and learning from it is crucial in shaping and molding them to the best that they can be.

Games serve as competitive exercises where the main goal is to win. In this manner, players are going to apply their acquired knowledge or skill. The player who has displayed exemplary performance that finishes first will be the winner. What I like with Gredler’s article as it presented the criteria of designing for educational games is that the players will not be penalized by losing points for a wrong answer. With this, the task is not discouraging. Instead, the players will be imaginative in maximizing all the possibilities in order to advance to the next level. It’s just like Crazy Machines, a video game that illustrates physics. Imagination paired with understanding of physics leads to success. This is really challenging!

On the other hand, simulation involves roles and places one’s own shoes to the situation or scenario. In this case, students are to take roles, to address certain issues and problems and to experience the effects of every step or decision they make. This is like a trial-and-error stage. I remember our counseling course on a simulation between the counselor and counselee. The scenario was that the high school student got pregnant. She could not abort the baby; the parents would kill her; she was not ready to become a mother; etc.! It was tough since she was bombarded with these concerns. At her young age, parents would be angry, but they would eventually accept the situation. It would also be good if a trusted friend would help in telling the parents. In this situation, the counselor is helping the student to arrive to her own decision on what’s the best for her. This helps students to be responsible to their own actions.

The distinction matters in order to identify appropriate tasks and to meet the needs of students. For instance, a medical student needs a simulation on how to perform a surgery. With this, one needs ample time to perform this task and not to compete with one’s classmates on who will finish first becomes the winner. There is a possibility that one could commit errors along the process. This is a significant learning experience.

My newly found career - playing Roller Coaster Tycoon

Matt Kennedy is my partner in my journey to play a video game in this semester. I am a neophyte in this newly found career, playing video games every week. I hope and pray that my partner will have patience in teaching me how to go about these things. I would consider this as a very challenging task. Honestly, I am not into this kind of pastime. However, this would also help me to understand the world my students. They love these games so much! When I come back, I will surely sound so strange to them. They were even surprised that I have an account in Facebook. Students perceive teachers only for lesson planning, reading books, researching and making paper, and “geek” stuffs. They just don’t have any idea at all :-) On the other hand, it’s also good to explore and experience their own world.

The game that we consider is Roller Coaster Tycoon. Personally, I am afraid of heights :-) Playing this game might help in conquering my fear as well. Also, this is good for managerial skills. As a manager, one should consider some strategies on attracting people and in being resourceful to available resources in order to earn profit in business. Just like a teacher, classroom management is important in learning. One is challenged on how to make the classroom conducive for learning. Learning should be fun and exciting! Thus, management skills are crucial to attain academic success. At this moment, I just want to familiarize myself on clicking the right button in making and beautifying my amusement park, …….. and to enjoy this new experience.

Game History: A glimpse of the past

When I read the article, I remember the games that I usually played before – Pacman and Super Mario Brothers. I never took time to know its origin not until I read this chapter on history of video games. I never knew about these SEGA, Atari, Namco, Donkey Kong, Zaxxon, Galaxian, etc. However, I heard about Game Boy and Playstation. It is also possible that some of these games reached my country but have not known. I can also remember that I got crazy with Brick Game. I never expected to discover this much. I’m sure there is still more!

At first, video games served as training ground for the military and as a source of entertainment for students, faculty, researchers, academic and government institutions as a relief from traditional duties. Eventually, this came not only to a few but to the public as well. Thanks to the Internet – World Wide Web!

Arcade phenomenon – people got crazy. Even today, most of the parents' concern in my school is that their sons go to Internet cafĂ© instead of going to class. They spend their allowance on playing computer or video games instead of their school project. I believe that researchers and educators reflected if these students could be addicted to academics, too. Students need something to see, hear, touch, and manipulate. Hence, this led to make games and simulations as tools for learning. With this, it is very important that companies should critically design their own product. For educational purposes, it would be a great help if they consult researchers, teachers, administrators, and other experts in order to meet the instructional needs.

Nowadays, games cannot only be experienced at home and arcades. It becomes handy like the portable Sony’s PSP. In 10 years time, I can imagine a virtual environment 3-D game, just like what I see in futuristic movies like Matrix. The direction of games for learning is more complex and innovative. I hope to reach that age.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Hobbit

The game was all about directions. One has to be keen in paying attention to the instructions in order not to be lost in the game. Even if I didn't fully grasp the whole game, it gives me an idea that it is like the movie Lord of the Rings. The hobbit struggled along the way. This is useful for high school students in testing their patience and perseverance.

First Post

I would like to take this class because I want to integrate games and simulations in language learning. Honestly, I am not into video games. I only tried "Super Mario". With this IT age, I would like to understand high school students on their passion on video games and how can I include this in teaching English as a second language. At present, I am a TA in Tagalog and I will be coming home to my country this May. MY country has limited resources of technology and I would like to maximize simple, affordable and accessible resources for the students.