Games and Learning

So, I used to have a Blackberry. I loved it. That is, until the day it fell out of my bag and the screen shattered. After three years of valiant service, it still rang, but I couldn’t see who was calling and definitely couldn’t use email.

Thus my chance to try out the Apple iPhone. Wow. What can I say! One week into it and I’m sold. It is a life changer.

It also gave me the option of downloading the latest Brick Breaker game which is another “wow.” I’m hooked. In fact, my score just topped 1.5 million points today! I got hooked to this game on the Blackberry, but I hadn’t played in months.

The only other time this has happened to me was when I was researching gaming and simulation examples for e-learning at work. It’s this huge initiative in many government agencies right now and I had no idea why…until I found some games.

Here’s one that got me hooked:
http://nobelprize.org/educational_games/economics/trade/game/ruler.html .
I kept playing trying to figure out how to 1.) make the island people happy and 2.) make profitable trades for both islands. I must have played this game 10 times in a row just to see if I could figure out the strategy behind it – basic economics.

What did I do after suffering a series of low scores? I went to Barnes and Nobles to pick up a book on basic economics. What? Who does that?

Apparently, and I never would have said this before the experience, there is value in gaming for learning.

I’ll have to explore this area in further posts. Lucky for me, I now know what a good game can do for me – motivate me to the point of getting into the car to buy an economics book that previously held no interest. One problem – I started reading and then got sidetracked by work and other projects. I haven’t yet returned to the game.

So, part of this motivation also needs to be sustained through prolonged use of the gaming experience.

Hmmm. Probably need to think through this a little more before just stepping out there to start using any old game. Ideas?

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