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Games & Simulations

Overview

"Edutainment" - the comination of education and entertainment - is a driving principle in the develop of games and simulations for learning. Instructors often find that students have difficulty focusing on a task for extended periods of time. This short attention span is often attributed to being a product of the "Nintendo Generation" - a generation that has been raised by MTV and video games. In these environments, focus is held for a matter of seconds before it is directed to a new activity.

Some designers and instructors have taken a "if you can't beat them, join them attitude" by experimenting with the impact of games and simulations on the success of student learning. This has been very effective in classroom activities (especially simulations), and is now being transfered online. As an example, in our department, Steve Yurkiw (curriculum developer) has developed a series of games that allow students to practice learning concepts. Games like solitaire and Jeopardy have been favourably received by students. Probably the best line I've heard is "Hey, this makes learning fun!"

Games and simulations are well suited to the online environment. Students at a distance have the ability to practice and develop skills through highly engaging activities. Learning is generally viewed to be a process of developing connections (new information to old)...a game or simulation heightens the capacity to make these connections by making learning a by-product of completing a challenging activity.

Resources

Learning Video Games Blog
This is a website that will provide current news and resources on a growing phenomenon: the use of video games for learning and educational purposes.

Quandary
"Quandary is an application for creating Web-based Action Mazes. An Action Maze is a kind of interactive case-study; the user is presented with a situation, and a number of choices as to a course of action to deal with it. On choosing one of the options, the resulting situation is then presented, again with a set of options. Working through this branching tree is like negotiating a maze, hence the name "Action Maze".

Games to Teach
" Over the past 12 months, the Games-to-Teach team has been laying the foundation for next-generation educational gaming. The goal for the first year of this work was to propose 10 conceptual prototypes of games that could be used to support learning in AP / Introductory college-level math, science, and engineering education and research the issues behind developing and marketing next-generational games."

Games2Train
A good site demonstrating the potential of games.

Innoken
Example of gaming/elearning provider.

Education & Games
"Our games are popular among people of all ages and educational backgrounds, from grade schoolers through university level educators and students.

elearningpost Interview with Marc Prensky
"I have been saying for over a decade that games have all the motivation but little useful content, and business has all the content and no motivation, so why not put the two together."

Forio
"Forio provides business simulation management training and e-learning. Forio business simulations can be delivered through learning management system platforms or as a stand-alone web-based management training simulation."

Games (Flash) Examples
Several game examples by Media1 Interactive. Commercial site.

OutStart - SoftSim
"OutStart's SoftSim brings learning to life through simulation. End users, be they employees, customers, or partners, learn more quickly through SoftSim's "hands-on" online training that is available anytime, anywhere. Whether the challenge is to teach employees how to set up access to a new printer, or train clients on using sophisticated applications such as SAP or Seibel, SoftSim expedites the training process."

LearningWare
"Create your own classroom or self-directed gameshow style games, quizzes, tests and surveys using LearningWare's software templates, described below. All are Y3K compliant. Our mission is to make learning fun."

Strategic Management Group
Simulation-centric site - example of the commercial role simulation training.

WisdomTools
Story-based teaching to improve student learning. Several examples are available.

Learning Gets Cool
Short article on learning with games...includes several useful links.

SimManager
Case study of Motorola's use of simulations to train future leaders.

Computer Games in Education
Excellent listing of games and simulation resources...from Web Tools

   

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