Great piece, Renee.
I'll definitely check out this game.
The issue about the learning that happens through games is that
reflection is necessary. It is one thing to play the game, it is another
to reflect on your choices, on the game responses, on the assumptions
built into the game. So the reflection -- which is best done socially
through discussions about the play of the game -- form part of the games
From the cursory glance at the site I couldn't get their thoughts on
the reflection aspect -- but I'll look some more.
> * Studies consistently show that active learning approaches
> increase student comprehension, enhance student problem solving
> skills and increase retention rates.
> * Simulation games generate or enhance personal interest in a
> subject and expose students to a variety of viewpoints and a
> range of outcomes related to particular situations.
> * The creative aspect of the exercise makes it seem more like
> play; active learning techniques enhance students’ enjoyment
> of their educational experience. The pressure to solve a problem
> for their character can motivate students in a way that is far
> more typical of the pressure they will face in real life.
> * Role playing exercises help to develop real-world skills, many
> of which are very difficult to teach using more traditional
> methods of instruction: self-awareness, problem-solving,
> conflict management, communication, initiative, and teamwork.
> Why a game-based environment
> A considerable body of scholarship has shown that computer games
> provide an environment for active, critical learning. Through computer
> games one can learn to appreciate the inter-relationship of complex
> behaviors, signs (images, words, actions, symbols, etc.) systems, and
> the formation of social groups. Games are not only used for
> entertainment purposes. Computer games and social simulations are
> increasingly being used for training and teaching in management
> science, economics, psychology, sociology, intercultural
> communication, political science, military strategy, interpersonal
> skill development, and education. Computer games open up possibilities
> for simultaneous learning on multiple levels; players may learn from
> contextual information embedded in the dynamics of the game, the
> organic process or story generated by the game, and through the risks,
> benefits, costs, outcomes, and rewards of alternative strategies that
> result from decision making.
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