Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Using Computer Games to Teach

Chapter 12 reminded me of when a few schools a couple of years ago decided to use videogames to help teach students through virtual scenarios. Patkin states that “the structure of the simulation somewhat resembles a game” (210). Back in 2006, the University of Minnesota created a mod with the game Neverwinter Nights to create scenarios to help teach journalism skills. It wasn’t a perfect simulation as it was missing many of the key aspects that Patkin describes the Virtual Organization to have, but it is a step in that general direction, such as providing students with quests in order to complete a level.

Here are some articles about schools using this game to teach:
Teaching journalism with Neverwinter Nights
Computer game to boost key skill

I guess this has already been done with Second Life’s online courses, which is an interesting topic since it combines virtual reality education with online education. I just thought it'd be interesting to see the use of already made computer games like Neverwinter Nights, or Civilization III to teach class as opposed to the forever changing, social-networking kind of world of Second Life.


Lance Strate said...

It is interesting, and given that, we might well ask, what are the advantages and the disadvantages of using digital simulations in education?

F Ng said...

Since Second Life seems to be a 3D version of a social networking site, the amount of customization of users' avatars is endless, allowing for more freedom than the restraints set in place by games already made with a certain setting put in place. Digital simulations will definitely allow for a wider range of interactions available for students, and for online classes, I can only see these simulations as being advantageous. It is already presenting some of the aspects that Patkin brings up for what VR could do to education--that VR allows the brain to "process information better when it is presented through sight, sound, and touch instead of just text and numbers" (208). Sight and sound are already there, and the final step would be to find a way for touch. Some disadvantages were already brought up, that it only works for some subjects.