Validity & learning

Should classes use these games as teaching & learning tools?  How we know that game content is relevant to learning, or even valid?  Personally, I defer to the experts.  I think it’s up to both the students and the professor of the class to validate the content of media-supported content.  In many ways, games that provide controversial information can be opportunities for critical inquiry.

For instance, PeaceMaker is a challenging simulation that puts the fate of MidEast peace in the hands of the player.  As to whether game interactions and rule of play match real-life scenarios, I am inspired by the description of the game’s intent as well as the wealth of positive reviews.  However, I can’t say with any certainty that the material is absolutely accurate.  If I were to study this problem in depth, I would need guidance by people who are experts–or at least devoted students–in the field.  I have yet to see a game that can facilitate learning without either instructor intervention or some type of facilitated interaction and reflection.

We should be critical about games, especially if we expect people to learn from them.   Frankly, I think we should assume that no matter how well designed the game might be, we should ask how we might help facilitate learning for the students, beyond asking questions related to coverage of course content.  Where does expert interaction or intervention play in learning?  What type of reflective components should be planned and when should they be required?

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