Rose Colored Glasses

Random Thoughts on Instructional Design

Powerful Learning Models for Education: It’s only a Game (or Simulation)

<presenters : Michael Searson and Panel

Michael Searson and the panel of presenters, representing Bill Halverson’s simSchool, addressed the use of games or simulation in the classroom to teach the Millennial Learner. Michael noted that the Millennial learner is constantly immersed in a stimulating, media rich environment. As a result of their constant engagement with technology, students are more comfortable with distributed and collaborative learning; able to participate in and actually seek out experiential, guided, and reflective learning experiences; appreciate problem-based learning; are committed to global perspectives; appreciate education; and are fascinated with new technology.

The Millennial learner, therefore, comes into the classroom with a variety of technological skills and expectations that learning should involve technology to make it real. The role of simulations in education is to take advantage of the skills and characteristics of these students and teach the students how to learn (development of higher order thinking skills, reflective decision making, cause and effect, etc) so they can go into the world and learn on their own.

The presenters went on to outline research supporting the use of gaming in education. Quoted sources included “Got Game?” by Beck and Wade; “Learning by Doing” by Clark Aldrich 2005, and Prensky’s categories of gaming (source title unknown). After presenting the rational for using gaming, various examples of simulations were reviewed. Here are the urls to a few of those examples:

Overall, I found the session very informative; however, there was some amount of repetition by the presenters late in the session. I would have liked to have heard more about how a teacher can justify the use of simulations in the classroom when they are being held to meeting mandated standards and preparation for mandated testing.

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This entry was posted on June 29, 2005 by in NECC 2005.

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