Tech Tools for the Everyday Teacher

A world of gaming

It has become very clear that this 21st century generation is engulfed in a video gaming world.  No longer is it the ‘geeks’ or ‘nerds’ who sit in front of their computers or game consoles and play video games all day.  Now video games are accessible through cellphone and, essentially, any handheld device.

So what’s the deal with these games?  They can be very engaging.  Some of them have a clear goal that serves as an impetus for the gamer to keep playing (Angry Birds) others are colorful, and still others require the player to problem solve.  All of these games have some sort of value whether its asthetic or goal-oriented, and – all of these games can be placed under the category of Instructionist.

There are – really, two types of games out on the market.  First, the ever so popular Instructionist.  These games allow for players to work within their world to accomplish the goals that they have set up.

On the other hand, there is the Constructionist-type game.  This type of gaming allows for the user to develop their own goals and their own world.  Although this type of gaming is not as prevelant as the first, I believe that if students are presented with this type of gaming and it’s engaging, and they feel like they know how to work the medium that allows for them to create then students will embrace it.  This type of gaming is also much more stimulating for the mind.  Students need to create goals and boundaries for their game in order for the game to operate.

I have been thinking about this Constructionist view for some time.  Something I enjoyed doing in highschool was programming ‘choose your own adventure’ type games on my calculator.  My students love them.  Every year the students get fascinated over the games and can’t believe that I created them.  Our summative assessment this year in our human body unit was for students to create a board game using the human body.  The students loved the project and it was such a different thought process because the game had to function.

There needs to be educational, technological devices that are easy and accessible to students to allow for them to create their own games.

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