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Subject: Traditional games versus computer games rss

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Mike Petty
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I'm working on a blog post about the benefits of using traditional games in the classroom (or at least in school) instead of computer games. I have a few thoughts along those lines based on my own experience, but I know others here have done a lot more with games in the schools.

If you have some success stories using traditional games to teach, please share your thoughts. Also, I would love to hear opinions (or any researh you're aware of) of whether or not the traditional games can better teach deep thinking, strategy or problem solving.

Of course, if anyone is of the opinion that computer games are as good or better, I'd be glad to hear that as well.

 
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Clark D. Rodeffer
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I'm trying to do this, too. One of these days, we have to arrange for an on-the-clock site visit to each other's schools.
 
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Sim Guy
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The most obvious advantage a physical game has over a computer game is the number of active participants. Whereas most computer based (or game box) games would be limited to one or two participants, at any given moment in a turn based game. A manual game can have multiple participants at the board - handling their properties, cards, etc. I would think co-op games would be easier too, in a traditional format, as players could be working deals on the side while a given player is carrying out their move.
 
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Clark D. Rodeffer
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Arg. I hit the wrong key and messed up my response. But I'd like to see history teachers using interactive white boards and VASSAL. Unfortunately, certain sites are blocked at many schools.
 
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Johan Haglert
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mpetty31 wrote:
I'm working on a blog post about the benefits of using traditional games in the classroom (or at least in school) instead of computer games. I have a few thoughts along those lines based on my own experience, but I know others here have done a lot more with games in the schools.

If you have some success stories using traditional games to teach, please share your thoughts. Also, I would love to hear opinions (or any researh you're aware of) of whether or not the traditional games can better teach deep thinking, strategy or problem solving.

Of course, if anyone is of the opinion that computer games are as good or better, I'd be glad to hear that as well.

Since when is either kind of games something you do in school?

Practice grammar, spelling or foreign languages in this case isn't considered gaming.

Why would either be better? I thought the thread would be about games in general and I think computer games is much superior and that buying board games most likely is rather stupid. Limited content, require someone to play with in person, expensive, can break more easily, take up lots of space, you can lose pieces, so on so on.

I think it's better to solve typical school problems than say play puerto rico. What the f-k has optimization of that game (poor example maybe power grid would be a better one) have to do with any real world problem? Physics for instance would also give you a problem to solve but for a problem and solution you could need and use in real life.

For the "non-games" previously mentioned I suppose computer ones are much better there to. For the content previously mentioned, automatic correction, not being able to cheat and so on.
 
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James Fung
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mpetty31 wrote:
I'm working on a blog post about the benefits of using traditional games in the classroom (or at least in school) instead of computer games. I have a few thoughts along those lines based on my own experience, but I know others here have done a lot more with games in the schools.

I am concerned that you start with a thesis and are trying to find evidence in its favor rather finding evidence and then picking a thesis.

As for splitting games into "traditional games" and "computer games," I don't know if that's the right approach. The starting point for every question in curriculum design should be what are the learning objectives and how do I best achieve them? Making blanket statements about board vs. computer games or games vs. no games skip over this question. That road leads to someone pushing their agenda, not being the best teacher they could be.
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Joel Uckelman
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A recent book by Prof. Philip Sabin called Simulating War is about his use of wargames in the history courses he's taught. Granted, this is at the university level, but it might still be of interest for you.
 
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TS S. Fulk
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I often have a game day (usually right before a holiday break) for my English (ESL) classes.

I've used Arkham Horror, Illuminati, Ghost Stories, Forbidden Island, Munchkin, Castle Panic, Lunch Money, Spooks and more. The students get to read English in a fun context.

When teaching at a school filled with heavy metal fans (Rock High School), I even used the RPG Call of Cthulhu to help the students practice speaking English. Nothing like having R.I.P. and Institutionalized lists of name on the white board for students' self-esteem. whistle

I play Do You Worship Cthulhu (werewolf/mafia variant) during the first lesson or two of every course. Good for me to learn their names and helps them to loosen up about speaking English.
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aliquis wrote:
I think computer games is much superior and that buying board games most likely is rather stupid. Limited content, require someone to play with in person, expensive, can break more easily, take up lots of space, you can lose pieces, so on so on.

I disagree with most of these points, especially coloring the requirement for human interaction as a negative. The content of software is strictly limited by the developer, and it doesn't age well.
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Bob Flagg
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We have had great success teaching players a bit of astronomy using a traditional and iconic type game. The game is called Straddle, The Touch the Stars and Constellations Astronomy Game, and plays similarly to Hasbro’s Twister. Two or more participants play on a giant planisphere. We found during game testing, after a few plays, students were able to easily find and recall star and constellation locations, something you really need to know before pointing a telescope!

We recently published Straddle, a game that combines a fun mix of practical and observational astronomy for ages 10 and up.

We feel that a medium’s content, whether electronic or traditional, will be the deciding factor in teaching analytical thought. A game such as Straddle teaches facts through strategy and light problem solving. Because it is hands-on, the students are more involved in the learning than an electronic game allows.

Hope this helps with your blog.
Bob and Anne
 
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Greg Austin
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aliquis wrote:
Since when is either kind of games something you do in school?

I think it's better to solve typical school problems than say play puerto rico. What the f-k has optimization of that game (poor example maybe power grid would be a better one) have to do with any real world problem? Physics for instance would also give you a problem to solve but for a problem and solution you could need and use in real life.


Games certainly have nothing to do with teaching kids problem solving skills in an engaging and constructive manner. I keep wondering why my kids' school teaches them how to sing since they're never going to be earning a living in a recording studio.

Or maybe I'm reading the post wrong. Seems an odd thing to post in a forum that's devoted to incorporating gaming into classrooms.

I did a game day this year on a pre-vacation day for the first time and had a lot of fun. I brought Quarriors, Tsuro, Seven Dragons, and a couple of others. Kids brought a couple of their favorites, too. The time was more recreational, but I always feel safe in the activity since it brings kids together and for most of them they are thinking about things in new ways.

I have also witnessed students spending time on computer games designed to reinforce classroom activities. I don't know--it wasn't as interesting to watch students all plugged in to their own machines, listlessly going through the next stage of the game. If they were puzzle games, students were often happy with their progress if they successfully figured out the problem, but overall the atmosphere of the room was less "electric". I couldn't say if students were getting a better educational experience from one over the other, since I was not involved in any post-unit assessments where a comparison could be made.
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Faville wrote:
Games certainly have nothing to do with teaching kids problem solving skills in an engaging and constructive manner. I keep wondering why my kids' school teaches them how to sing since they're never going to be earning a living in a recording studio.

My sarcasm detector is blinking yellow for these sentences, but it is the internet, and I've even met a couple people who think reading fiction is a waste of time, so maybe you really believe that music education has no value beyond performance.

I don't think games should play much of a role in the classroom, but they are another tool in the toolbox. Some negotiation and co-op games might present problem-solving opportunities, Zendo is a lesson in scientific method, and Krypto works with basic math facts.

I coach an after school chess club for elementary kids. The students have made pretty good progress in learning to look ahead, work with combinations, and explain their reasoning. Honestly, I can't say for certain if they're applying skills like this to other aspects of their lives, but that's the goal.
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Greg Austin
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Your sarcasm detector is working well. I am a music educator. Statements like the one I responded to reminded me of the 'School-to-Work' people out there.

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Christopher Boebel
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I attended Chicago public schools. That was long ago, but I probably got a better education than you did.

One day we had a guest in class. He divided us into teams which were each a different European country. We were given goals to accomplish which conflicted with the the goals given to other teams. The goals had to be accomplished by negotiating with the other teams. It was years later that I discovered we had been playing the forerunner to AH's Origins of World War II.

Later in high school, at my instigation, a group of us were given access to two floors of classrooms after school, with only janitorial supervision, to play "Internation Simulation." Anybody aware of that game? It was a complex set of rules and formulae plus some maps (which I've lost, but I don't believe they attributed an author). As we played the game, because we were (as individuals) mostly pacifists, it was a game of economic development and trade (there was a brief war between Japan and Australia that occurred only because the Prime Minister of Japan had the hots for the Foreign Minister of Australia).

If you have a mobile computerized game in which all the participants can remain synchronized and on which their actions and decisions can be not-too-clumsily recorded, then that would be superior to an identical board version of the game. How many of those are there? Why aren't more of us with time on our hands working on creating more?

I learned at an early age to deal with life as a game. There are plenty of useful alternatives, but I would like to assist those with a philosphy similar to mine.
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Canadian Bacon
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I work in an environment where there are no computers, so I'm limited from the outset to playing games of the "traditional" variety.

Having found that all commercial games are limited in the learning objectives which they address, I have tried to devise my own game which is both comprehensive and flexible. Not only can I amend the game to include any learning objective I need, the game is suitable for any number of players, any age group (even with minimal language skills), and any amount of available time. The players themselves monitor rule compliance, which frees me to observe their language skills instead. There is no board, no dice, no player tokens, no timers or spinners; the only "special" materials required are the cards which comprise the game. All the materials I used cost less than ten dollars.

I have used "computer" games for learning in the past, but have found they have limitations similar to commercial boxed games, not the least significant of which is the expense required to make play possible at all. They often also lack the socio-emotional dimension of face-to-face play which is usually critical for the "fun" factor to be effective.

As an educator and psychologist I understand that play and learning are synonymous and are defining characteristics of our species. Play is sine qua non for life as a human at any age.
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Salvor Hardin
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canadianbacon wrote:
Having found that all commercial games are limited in the learning objectives which they address, I have tried to devise my own game which is both comprehensive and flexible. Not only can I amend the game to include any learning objective I need, the game is suitable for any number of players, any age group (even with minimal language skills), and any amount of available time. The players themselves monitor rule compliance, which frees me to observe their language skills instead. There is no board, no dice, no player tokens, no timers or spinners; the only "special" materials required are the cards which comprise the game. All the materials I used cost less than ten dollars.


This sounds like an interesting game. Can you tell us a bit more about it?
 
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Orion Thornleigh
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A Multi-Dimensional approach to education - YES please.

What I think would be a good game for ESL teaching is something like Aye Dark Overlord with everyday objects and events, and with a positive reward scheme for the best sentence/question/answer (depending on how the game is restructured).

If you want computer games vs. board games, you can have my opinion and personal experience (which some may disagree with, but that's ok). I think both board games and computer games can be useful in the educational context. But I think board games are better - especially because of the human interaction, and there's definitely huge value in creating shared memories with class mates, good friends, mentors etc (in person). Board games are certainly less soloable - and in my case, hardly addictive.

There are some very dry educational computer games that are hardly addictive, but in general, I've found most computer games to be highly addictive. I would certainly counsel parents to set limitations for their children (and it would be good for my fellow teachers to keep this in mind).

I'm a recovering addict myself, and I've played many many computer games in the past (I basically grew up with them). I've banned myself from computer games for a number of years (yes I have relapsed a few times), and instead I now play the occasional board game. I have a lot of work to do (and relationships to invest in), and need to manage my time - which is impossible for me to do with an active computer game addiction and the vicious depressive cycle that comes with it. I know I'm not alone in this. I can honestly say life has been much better since kicking the habit.

The last thing I want is for kids to fall into the same trap I did. A little here, a little there for class/as managed by parents is ok. But when it becomes a fully fledged addiction, I've seen dramatic negative changes in the personalities and social lives of kids time and time again (there certainly are other contributors - but this one is obvious).
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Chris Kohlman
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There are a few negatives about computer games within a school setting to focus on:

a) School boards lock their technology down. Only certain personnel have access to files and can do things like installing programs. Sometimes there is an incredible amount of red tape involved in even getting a password changed, let alone even trying to have a game installed. Most games are online I realize, but even then many of those sites are blocked and require red tape to unblock them. Then after they become unblocked they get re-blocked and you have to do the whole thing over again. I speak from experience here.

b) Technology availablilty. Can teachers get into the computer room or is it booked up? Does the school have the funds to purchace class sets of things like ipads? As an aside, some divisions here are not provided tech support if schools purchase laptops or tablets because they don't have the resources.

I know someone who is doing her PH.D in an area of video game education and classroom education. Message me and I will see if I put you in contact with her if you are interested.
 
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TS S. Fulk
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Pretty much all schools around here are equipping all students and teachers with unlocked-down Macs. There are no computer labs anymore.

kohlhatter wrote:
There are a few negatives about computer games within a school setting to focus on:

a) School boards lock their technology down. Only certain personnel have access to files and can do things like installing programs. Sometimes there is an incredible amount of red tape involved in even getting a password changed, let alone even trying to have a game installed. Most games are online I realize, but even then many of those sites are blocked and require red tape to unblock them. Then after they become unblocked they get re-blocked and you have to do the whole thing over again. I speak from experience here.

b) Technology availablilty. Can teachers get into the computer room or is it booked up? Does the school have the funds to purchace class sets of things like ipads? As an aside, some divisions here are not provided tech support if schools purchase laptops or tablets because they don't have the resources.

I know someone who is doing her PH.D in an area of video game education and classroom education. Message me and I will see if I put you in contact with her if you are interested.
 
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ani
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I am a student-teacher for ESL, so my experience is still limited. However, during my internships, many of my activities involved a game of some sort. Now, trying to find board games that require the time/setup/correct lesson focus is difficult and time consuming, so most of the time a make my own game based on traditional games. These work extremely well in an ESL classroom, where communication between the students is key.

I have also use computer games and games on a Smartboard. While they both have their place, in general 'boardgames" are much more effective in getting all the students to participate actively at the same time and remain engaged. As a bonus, the students love the competition and have fun while learning.

Of course, like any lesson, the activity has to be suited to the objective of the lesson. Asking if traditional games are better in the classroom is much too broad a question. It depends on the subject, the lesson, and the objective.
 
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Chris Kohlman
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tssfulk wrote:
Pretty much all schools around here are equipping all students and teachers with unlocked-down Macs. There are no computer labs anymore.

kohlhatter wrote:
There are a few negatives about computer games within a school setting to focus on:

a) School boards lock their technology down. Only certain personnel have access to files and can do things like installing programs. Sometimes there is an incredible amount of red tape involved in even getting a password changed, let alone even trying to have a game installed. Most games are online I realize, but even then many of those sites are blocked and require red tape to unblock them. Then after they become unblocked they get re-blocked and you have to do the whole thing over again. I speak from experience here.

b) Technology availablilty. Can teachers get into the computer room or is it booked up? Does the school have the funds to purchace class sets of things like ipads? As an aside, some divisions here are not provided tech support if schools purchase laptops or tablets because they don't have the resources.

I know someone who is doing her PH.D in an area of video game education and classroom education. Message me and I will see if I put you in contact with her if you are interested.


Your system actually funds education like it should be funded. The same is not true in North America. It is claw backs and the increasing threat of privatization.
 
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TS S. Fulk
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We also have a privatization problem (private schools are for profit!), but the competition is fierce. Offering Macbooks was first a marketing trick. My school, at least, is trying hard to make sure the computer are used in pedagogically advantageous ways. The older teachers sometimes have a hard time adjusting.

kohlhatter wrote:
tssfulk wrote:
Pretty much all schools around here are equipping all students and teachers with unlocked-down Macs. There are no computer labs anymore.

kohlhatter wrote:
There are a few negatives about computer games within a school setting to focus on:

a) School boards lock their technology down. Only certain personnel have access to files and can do things like installing programs. Sometimes there is an incredible amount of red tape involved in even getting a password changed, let alone even trying to have a game installed. Most games are online I realize, but even then many of those sites are blocked and require red tape to unblock them. Then after they become unblocked they get re-blocked and you have to do the whole thing over again. I speak from experience here.

b) Technology availablilty. Can teachers get into the computer room or is it booked up? Does the school have the funds to purchace class sets of things like ipads? As an aside, some divisions here are not provided tech support if schools purchase laptops or tablets because they don't have the resources.

I know someone who is doing her PH.D in an area of video game education and classroom education. Message me and I will see if I put you in contact with her if you are interested.


Your system actually funds education like it should be funded. The same is not true in North America. It is claw backs and the increasing threat of privatization.
 
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rekinom
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I teach introductory computer courses (for business and CS majors), as well as databases and web development.

Depending on the class, I ...

* use RoboRally (board game) to demonstrate concepts of algorithms, logic errors, malevolent programs, and syntax errors (what would happen if someone played a Jack of Hearts instead of Move 2?).

* use CPU Wars (card game) when discussing processors and computer history.

* use Eggspert electronic buzzers and have the students create printed review questions using Excel and MS Access to do a mail merge with MS Word.

* use Code Hero (computer game) or CodeAcademy (website with gamer-like badges) as an introduction to programming.

* use Battleship to introduce Excel... students pair off and use Excel as their battleship game boards, calling out their shots to each other as cell references: A6, C9, etc..

I've considered integrating games like SCHEMAVerse (computer game) and On-Sets (board game) into my database systems course.

I'm a big fan of manipulatives and kinesthetic learning.

You might want to look into a book called Reality is Broken. It's a bit over-exuberant in places, but it mentions a lot of interesting game and gamification projects.
https://kindle.amazon.com/work/reality-is-broken-better-chan...

Another good book is Made to Stick, though not directly related to games, it is worthwhile for someone interested in education.
https://kindle.amazon.com/work/made-stick-ideas-survive-othe...
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rekinom wrote:
* use Battleship to introduce Excel

Opponent: "C6"
Me: "=SUM(A1,A3)-SUM(B4,B5)"
 
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rekinom
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LurkingMeeple wrote:
rekinom wrote:
* use Battleship to introduce Excel

Opponent: "C6"
Me: "=SUM(A1,A3)-SUM(B4,B5)"


Beware the opponent who knows how to use INDEX() and MATCH(). =P
 
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