This week, I had the pleasure to moderate a conversation among colleagues on the topic of Digital Games and Learning. Colin Gallagher, an alumnus of the Master’s of Educational Technology Program and Instructor in our Graduate Certificate in Educational Technology Program, Mete Akcaoglu, Assistant Professor at Western Virginia University and PhD Alumnus of the Educational Psychology and Educational Technology program at MSU, and Spencer Greenhalgh, doctoral student in Educational Psychology and Educational Technology at MSU came together to talk about several questions related to the integration of games and game design in classrooms. It was a really lively conversation, one that I hope offered value to our listeners.
Links to resources can be found at The Bridge.
For me the major take-aways included:
1) Playing games and learning to design games are problem-solving processes.
2) Teachers from any discipline who are interested in teaching students of any age to solve meaningful problems (i.e., basically every teacher in the world) can find ways to integrate digital games into their curricula.
3) Sandbox games such as Minecraft are powerful creative outlets that allow students to create worlds and collaborate to build worlds together. Students can build worlds inspired by literature, art, movies, science…
4) If you would like to start integrating games into your curriculum, consider starting an after-school club where you can test your ideas in a low-stress setting and learn about the ways students use the games.
5) Make your pedagogical goals clear and guide students’ discovery as you introduce games in your classroom. Help students to use the tools for curricular ends so that they become even more adept as users and even makers of games.