Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Module #5a - Gaming in Education

It's NOT about the Games.  It's about the Gaming.

Did you know that in 2011:
  • 65% of US households played video games?
  • Almost 1/2 of the video gamers were adults < 49 years old?
  • The average gamer was 32?
  • 2 out of 5 gamers were women.?
Gaming is not a fad. Video gaming is a way of life. Gaming is an activity that provides sufficient positive feedback to cause players to exclude all else. It is challenging enough to entice gamers to continually attempt to beat their last score.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if school was like gaming? Where students would be so motivated by their learning activities that they would get up early and stay up late to engage themselves in the learning process.

Here is a video where Dr. Z introduces how we can Learning to Game by Gaming to Learn.

How Did Pac-Man Do It?
Pac-Man entered the market in 1980 and was followed by Ms. Pac-Man in 1981 (I remember my wife playing one of the original machines in Venice, CA.) It was spell binding. Players would funnel quarter after quarter to try to better their previous scores.

BUT WHY?  What does Pac-Man have that was so appealing?

In 1982, R. F. Bowman released an article entitled A Pac-Man Theory of Motivation: Tactical Implications for Classroom Instruction which explained his theory. The article is not available online, but the Reading for Pleasure blogger, Dixie, included a useful summary.  Read it.

Flow - The Psychology of the Optimal Experience 
Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Chick-sent-me-hi) has studied states of "optimal experience" for over two decades. He is exploring the conditions and attitudes that engage people's concentration and attention to the point of total absorption. He calls this state of consciousness Flow.  In this state of attention, learners are at their most receptive level.

Dr. Csikszentmihalyi discusses his theory of Flow in this 5-minute video. 
It is the primary introduction to the Flow concept. He further explains its application to education in this short interview on  Motivating People to Learn.
9 Characteristics of Flow have been identified. Learn these characteristics so that you can later relate them to the apparent aspects of gaming and learning.
Pay careful attention to this concept of Flow because while it may seem like "good common sense," it is an underlying principle of learning.

Gaming's Elements Make for Good Learning
Gaming is a directional process where the player is guided towards a selected goal through positive and negative reinforcement. Isn't that similar to a good learning situation? How does that relate to the 9 characteristics of Flow?

Read this posting which discusses a list of 8 characteristics of Gaming. Relate these to those of Flow. What similarities do you see? What distinctions?  You will also find a video of a leading gaming researcher, Dr. James Paul Gee.  Watch this video and correlate it with the connections we have been discussing.

Consider your present concepts about gaming. Have they changed in the past 24 hours? If so, what have you realized?  How does this affect your perspective as a trainer, teacher, educator?

Using Gaming Practices to Improve to Learning
In this 10-minute video, Paul Anderson explains how he reinvented his course to make it a gaming learning experience. Pay attention to the insights that he shares about the elements of active student-centered learning environments.

Time for Gaming
You have read and watched about gaming. Now it is time for you to play games of your own.

Read the assignment sheet and you will see that AFTER YOU HAVE REVIEWED ALL OF THIS INFORMATION, your assignment is to play Kingdom Rush for 3 hours in the next week.

Kingdom Rush is available for your phone and your computer.
  • iPhone - Go to the App Store and search for "Kingdom Rush Free"
  • Android - Google "kingdom rush free android"
  • Chrome - Go to the Web Store and search for "Kingdom Rush Free"
  • Web - Google "kingdom rush free" There are some sites where you can play it for free but you have to look at some advertising.
GAMERS!!!  Help your classmates.  I have created a BB9 discussion forum where you can connect with your classmates. Ask questions. Supply advice. Share sites that provide assistance.  Learn from each other.  Play simultaneously and talk with each other through Google Hangout while you do it.

You must play for at least 3 hours. Begin by reviewing all of the lists of characteristics that we have explored so far. Consider these as you learn the game and play it throughout the next 60 minutes. Reflect on your learning process (these just thought provokers.)
  • What helped?  What hindered?  
  • What were the good learning experiences? 
  • Were you in The Flow? Why or why didn't you reach the Flow? 
  • How has this affected you as a teacher or student or human?
Submission: Reflect about this on your blog. Refer to the Assignment sheet about what you need to say.

BTW, Dr. Z has been playing this game for months and this is what he has accomplished.  He has almost achieved the 50 stars he needs to go to the next level, but it has been quite a journey.  ;-/


  1. Plants Vs. Zombies is a VERY fun game. I killed my Droid's battery playing it an entire afternoon after work this summer!
    Play it here:

  2. Armorgames is a great site for flash based games. This means you can play them in your web browser. They are also free.

  3. Avoid games that reviews call "challenging". I just rented "Dark Souls", and have never been more tempted to use a disk as a Frisbee...

    XBox Live has MANY good games in the arcade section that you can try before you buy, as well as some classics to download for a cheaper price... Worth checking out for those with an XBox!

  4. I played LOTRO. Which is Lord of The Rings Online. It is free to start off with and could be free the whole time if you get enough turbine points to unlock the expansions. It is very similar to World of Warcraft but with Lord of the Rings theme to it.

  5. I play Flood Sim. I enjoyed the game, and while I did not start out very well, I improved. I believe this game could be used in Government, Environmental Science, and/or Business.

    The game was filled with choices and you learned through failure. Feedback was given after each year, but you only got three years. (Maybe that is considering the length of a government before election in Britain.) I can see students working together to make decisions to try to prevent flood losses.

    It was fun to play.

  6. I played "Jane's Hotel" game.Jane's Hotel was a simulation game in which challenged me to run a hotel on my own. I had to manage all aspects of the hotel, from the buying decor, hiring a maid, assigning the maid jobs, and meeting all needs of my customers.

    I had to do this in a orderly fashion otherwise there could be chance that they would get mad and leave and I would not get paid the money needed to move to the next level. Once I was able to reach each level I was able to buy more things for my hotel. For example, after beating the first level I was able to buy plants for my hotel which made my hotel more appealing. Sometime is was difficult meeting every customer's needs when it got busy. I found that I really had to pay attention to each and every customer at all times because I would never know when they would need something.

    If you would like to play it yourself go to this website :)