Games & Simulations

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Incorporating Games and Simulations into the Classroom : 

Incorporating Games and Simulations into the Classroom By Jeannie Justice

What is a Game? : 

What is a Game? According to Wikipedia, a game is a structured activity, usually undertaken for enjoyment and sometimes used as an educational tool. Games are distinct from work; however, many games are considered to be work. Key components of games are goals, rules, challenge, and interaction.

What is a Simulation? : 

What is a Simulation? According to Wikipedia, a simulation is the imitation of some real thing, state of affairs, or process. The act of simulating something generally entails representing certain key characteristics or behaviors of a selected physical or abstract system.

Why Do We Need Games/Simulations in the Classroom? : 

Why Do We Need Games/Simulations in the Classroom? The immediate need (felt and anticipated) is to incorporate lessons that use technology while addressing various learning styles, levels of motivation, and academic levels. Educational games and simulations are new technological vehicles for education because they provide a form of assessment, problem-based learning, a fail-safe environment, and a highly motivational learning environment. Many students consider themselves “gamers” and positively associate with games (more on this in a minute).

Overall Benefits of Adding Games : 

Overall Benefits of Adding Games By incorporating games and simulations into the classroom, educators create curriculum that students consider highly motivating, but also, at the same time, improves student content knowledge, builds student conceptual knowledge, and increases student problem-solving skills.

Overall Benefits of Adding Games : 

Overall Benefits of Adding Games Very often, in good games/simulations, students are actively taking new information and applying it to the task at hand. Therefore, they are active participants in applying their know- ledge, allowing meaningful learning to take place.

Overall Benefits of Adding Games (con’t) : 

Overall Benefits of Adding Games (con’t) Games/simulations offer immediate feedback with positive and negative reinforcement. The positive reinforcement may be the player moving on to the next level. The negative reinforcement may be losing a life. Either way, the player learns without the consequence of failure. Actually, failure is often expected to learn the game.

The Facts about Games : 

The Facts about Games 92 % of children ages 2-17 play video/computer games. 60% of all Americans (~145 million people) play interactive games on a regular basis. Approximately 80% of American families own a computer and 78% have video game equipment.

The Facts about Games (con’t) : 

The Facts about Games (con’t) 100% of college students polled on 27 campuses have played video games.

The Facts about Games (con’t) : 

The Facts about Games (con’t) Parents are the driving force behind the video game industry. In 2004, 50% of parents polled said they were going to buy their child a video game for Christmas. 90% of all video games are purchases by individuals 18 years or older.

The Gamer Generation Believes: : 

The Gamer Generation Believes: There is always an answer. There is always a problem(s) that has a solution(s) which leads to an end result – the object of the game. Nothing is impossible. You have the power to control your destiny. You can accomplish anything you want. Trial and error. Failure is a learning experience, not an end result. If you do not win, restart, and try again.

The Gamer Generation Believes: (con’t) : 

The Gamer Generation Believes: (con’t) Competition and collaboration. Competition is a motivating factor…but, competition doesn’t eclipse collaboration. In fact, collaboration is often an integral part of furthering your success.

The Gamer Generation Believes: (con’t) : 

The Gamer Generation Believes: (con’t) Games are autonomous (i.e., self-governing). Gamers play well with others but accept responsibility and consequences for their actions. Gamers feel they have the right to choose their own path and are confident in exercising that right. Roles are clear. In a game, characters are clearly defined (i.e., good guy or bad guy). You choose your role and understand its powers and limitations. Good guy in white and bad guy in black.

The Gamer Generation Believes: (con’t) : 

The Gamer Generation Believes: (con’t) Do your own thing. Within the game generation, leaders are irrelevant and often evil; ignore them...do your own thing.

The Gamer Generation Believes: (con’t) : 

The Gamer Generation Believes: (con’t) Player effort influences the game outcome. The amount of energy the player puts into the game invests the player with outcome. Gamers dominate their culture. Gamers are risk-takers. They move fast and play hard. They are stars in their own adventure. They are responsible for their own success.

The Gamer Generation Believes: (con’t) : 

The Gamer Generation Believes: (con’t) The games vs. school (in their eyes). Compared to the classroom, games are empowering, motivating, individualized differentiated learning environments with set rules which value the efforts of the individual child. In games, the structure is apparent; the rules are clear and unambiguous; and your role in the game is well defined. Games are challenging and motivating. They are a platform for solving problems. In games, the goal is always attainable.

The Gamer Generation Believes: (con’t) : 

The Gamer Generation Believes: (con’t) Video games are rule-based. The rules are equally applied to each player. The rules are well defined and not open to interpretation. Gamers, who are confronted with rules that are arbitrary and subjective, will often “shut down” and refuse to play. Video games offer various routes to success. Usually there are several different routes available to reach your goal or solve your problem. Rarely, if ever, is there one right way or one right answer.

The Gamer Generation Believes: (con’t) : 

The Gamer Generation Believes: (con’t) The player is attached to the outcome. The player has an emotional attachment to the outcome of the game (i.e., happy when they win or sad if they lose). In other words, the content is relevant to them. Video games simulate real-life consequences. Medical colleges use video games to train surgeons. The Air Force uses “virtual flight simulators” to train pilots. Many major corporations use “virtual models” to train their employees. Games can mirror the complexities of life without the drastic consequences.

What Are Your Goals/Objectives? : 

What Are Your Goals/Objectives? Use these resources to help you decide what your learning goals and instructional objectives are: Check the state standards. Read the course descriptions. Research various textbooks. Explore educational websites.

Find Your Games and Simulations : 

Find Your Games and Simulations Gaming platforms: Xbox, Wii, Playstation Each have various good games (i.e., CSI, Trauma Team, Monster Garage, MLB Front Office), but many are just recreational too (same as books or movies). Computer games: For example, Sid Meier’s series (i.e., Civilization IV), the Tycoon series (i.e., Zoo Tycoon, EcoTycoon, etc.), Ubisoft games, or so on. Internet games: nobelprize.org science.discovery.com hhmi.org free + educational + game = 35,700,000 results

Two Games/Simulations Examples: : 

Two Games/Simulations Examples: Natural Selection “Who Wants to Live a Million Years?” Students choose variations of a species and see if their species will live a million years. http://science.discovery.com/interactives/literacy/darwin/darwin.html Blood Typing and Transfusions “Blood Typing” Students must save three accident victims by identifying their blood type and giving them the correct blood transfusions. http://nobelprize.org/educational_games/medicine/landsteiner/index.html

Specific Learning Goals/Objectives for the Natural Selection Game: : 

Specific Learning Goals/Objectives for the Natural Selection Game: Students will play the game “Who Wants to Live a Million Years,” in addition to their prescribed lessons, to simulate natural selection and evolution. Students will explore how several varieties of a species can, through natural selection, evolve into one new species with the most successful and heritable traits. Students will identify the natural environmental processes and interactions with other species that may cause extinction (i.e., disease, climate change, predation, etc.) With multiple plays, students can see that Natural Selection is a primary mechanism leading to evolutionary change (i.e., survival of the fittest / those with the traits to live pass those traits on to their offspring). This will allow them to apply, analyze, and synthesize their own species to try to succeed, evolutionarily speaking.

Supporting State Benchmarks for the Natural Selection Game: : 

Supporting State Benchmarks for the Natural Selection Game: Students will address Benchmark: SC.912.L.15.3 by playing the game “Who Wants to Live a Million Years?” and completing the corresponding reading, lessons, and worksheets. SC.912.L.15.3 : describe how biological diversity is increased by the origin of new species and how it is decreased by the natural process of extinction (FLDOE 2009)

Specific Learning Goals/Objectives for the Blood Typing Game: : 

Specific Learning Goals/Objectives for the Blood Typing Game: Students will play “The Blood Typing Game,” in addition to their prescribed lessons, to understand that blood cells have characteristic structures and functions that make them distinctive (i.e., antigen A, antigen B, etc.) so that students can comprehend the differences in blood types. Students will learn about the genotypes that make up the blood phenotypes. Students will analyze the genotypes involved in phenotypic blood types (i.e., inheriting an O from Mom and a B from Dad results in a BO genotype and Type B phenotype, and so on) so that students can deduct where the genes for each blood type originates.

Specific Learning Goals/Objectives for the Blood Typing Game: (con’t) : 

Specific Learning Goals/Objectives for the Blood Typing Game: (con’t) Students will evaluate the process of blood typing and determine how to interpret the results (genotype and phenotype) so that the student can apply this information to patients in the game. Students will analyze the process of blood transfusions and the problems that can occur if done incorrectly (i.e., patient may die) so that students may apply this information to patients in the game.

Specific Learning Goals for Blood Typing: (con’t) : 

Specific Learning Goals for Blood Typing: (con’t) Students will address the following Benchmarks: Benchmark: SC.912.L.16.1 (which states: Use Mendel's laws of segregation and independent assortment to analyze patterns of inheritance. (FLDOE 2009)) Benchmark: SC.912.L.16.2 (which states: Discuss observed inheritance patterns caused by various modes of inheritance, including dominant, recessive, codominant, sex-linked, polygenic, and multiple alleles. (FLDOE 2009)) Benchmark: SC.912.L.14.34 (which states: Describe the composition and physiology of blood, including that of the plasma and the formed elements (FLDOE 2009)) Benchmark: SC.912.L.14.35 (which states: Describe the steps in hemostasis, including the mechanism of coagulation. Include the basis for blood typing and transfusion reactions. (FLDOE 2009))

Description of Learners for these Lessons : 

Description of Learners for these Lessons Students who attend AHS have withdrawn from public school for various reasons.  Some are over 18, but the majority of students are under 18 years old.  There are a variety of social and cultural backgrounds and learning levels.  All curriculum has to be varied to fit a variety of learning styles and attention spans.

Necessary Materials: : 

Necessary Materials: Students are given a prescription and list of instructions for each unit of Biology class. The instructions clearly identify the objectives and the Sunshine State Standards involved in that particular unit. Prescription – below Instructions - right

Necessary Materials: (con’t) : 

Necessary Materials: (con’t) The two new lessons are placed in the instructions to allow students to obtain background information from various reading assignments and worksheets. Once students have this information, they can do the new lesson.

Necessary Materials: (con’t) : 

Necessary Materials: (con’t) The students can also see from the prescription when they should do the new lesson. The prescription also tells them how many points the lesson is worth.

Necessary Materials: (con’t) : 

Necessary Materials: (con’t) When the student is ready, they request the lesson. The student uses the work they have already done in the class, their textbook, the computer, and the internet to complete the assignment. The teacher may also be considered a resource. These are all the materials necessary for the new lessons.

Designing the Lesson : 

Designing the Lesson Each lesson begins with an introduction. This pre-instructional material will help introduce the topic and draw the student into the assignment.

Designing the Lesson (con’t) : 

Designing the Lesson (con’t) The objectives are clearly stated so that the student understands the purpose of the lessons. Materials are also listed so students can gather what they need to successfully complete the assignments.

Designing the Lesson (con’t) : 

Designing the Lesson (con’t) A list of procedures, step-by-step instructions, and diagrams help guide the student and reduce confusion.

Designing the Lesson (con’t) : 

Designing the Lesson (con’t) Questions are designed to assess pre-lesson knowledge, post-lesson knowledge, and engaged knowledge during the process. Pre-lesson Questions (#4) Post-lesson Questions (#23 & #24) During the lesson Questions (#13)

Designing the Lesson (con’t) : 

Designing the Lesson (con’t) All questions are designed to match the benchmarks set up by the Florida Department of Education. Please review the Specific Learning Goals slides for specific benchmarks. Example: Benchmark: SC.912.L.14.34 (which states: Describe the composition and physiology of blood, including that of the plasma and the formed elements (FLDOE 2009))

Designing the Lesson (con’t) : 

Designing the Lesson (con’t) Feedback from other teachers. Two biology instructors reviewed the lessons. One English teacher, one social studies teacher, and one administrator also reviewed the lessons and watched my demonstration. I received very good feedback from everyone and addressed each of their concerns.

Designing the Lesson (con’t) : 

Designing the Lesson (con’t) Practice Seven students tried the Blood Typing lesson and two students practiced the Natural Selection lesson. The students were a great source of constructive feedback. All students were highly motivated and completed the lesson rather quickly compared to the time they took to complete other assignments of similar length. Some students also ran the game/simulation extra times. I am assuming they did this because they were highly engaged and wanted to see the outcome when trying different scenarios and options.

Remember: Game is a 4-letter word! : 

Remember: Game is a 4-letter word! In education, games aren’t always easily accepted as teaching tools. The unfortunate attitude of many educators:

References: : 

References: Florida Department of Education. (2009). Next Generation Sunshine State Standards. Retrieved 12 June 2009 at http://www.floridastandards.org/Standards/FLStandardSearch.aspx Simpson, E. S. (2005). Evolution in the classroom: What teachers need to know about the video game generation. TechTrends, v. 49, No. 5, pp. 17 – 22. Wikipedia. (2009). Retrieved 4 November 2009 at http://www.wikipedia.org

Gamer Proverbs : 

Gamer Proverbs

Gamer Proverbs : 

Gamer Proverbs

Gamer Proverbs : 

Gamer Proverbs

Gamer Proverbs : 

Gamer Proverbs

Gamer Proverbs : 

Gamer Proverbs

Gamer Proverbs : 

Gamer Proverbs

Gamer Proverbs : 

Gamer Proverbs

Are There Any Questions? : 

Are There Any Questions? Jeannie Justice ljustice@irsc.edu (772) 462-7388

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