15 08 2009

juliettePhew!! loooong day.. and two more long days to go. But quite worthwhile. So now the last session of the day at 5 pm. So here is the session I attended to end the day: Gamelets. Happy I attended it.

Teaching Learning with Gamelets

Juliette Bourdier. University of Colorado

What is a gamelet and why and how to use it.

What is a gamelet? Like an applet – it is a tool and also a toy, on a specific topic. It is intended as game design for education and could be used inside/outside the classroom [for students for example who were absent or who did not follow with you in class]. Finally who is the teacher? Many teachers think that with gamelets you lose control of the class. This is not true. You are still the boss of your class, so don’t have that fear.

The gamelet is very small and therefore you need to be very focused and do a gamelet with a specific issue or question.

Why use a gamelet?

  • To design simulation or observation. We will put a simulation where something is happening. The students may not yet understand what is happening. He/she will notice something is happening and it is my role as teacher to help him/her understand what is happening.
  • To reformulate concepts, ideas. Some students don’t understand and so we can use other things to make them understand.
  • To cover the Kolb learning style inventory. Learning by producing, experimenting.
  • To bring practice, repetitiveness and automatism. Students sometimes understand things but forget it the next day so repetitiveness will create automatism and that is how we learn.
  • To allow learners to follow their own pace. This depends on student pace – some are faster and some are slower.
  • To provide students with additional feedback and testing opportunities. Depending on whether we teach skills or fact we will be training, practicing or testing. For example what is the population of Germany? It is a fact – but if we ask which country is bigger, Germany or France, that is a skill.

How to design a gamelet?

First I need to know:

  • What are the pre-requisite skills, facts and ideas?
  • Are they real-world skills? We have to tell the students how they will use it in real life.
  • Does playing the game provide extensive practice of the skill?
  • Does the game include instructions or demonstrations that could help understand the skills?
  • Does it make the learner aware of the skills involved in the game?
  • Which important generalizations involves playing this game?
  • Does this game present comparable but contrasting situations or entities?
  • What proportion of the time learners spend on the game, represents processing this knowledge?

Learning with simulations

  • It is an animation with interaction. Simulation means students must interact not just watch.
  • Demonstration is not simulation
  • Observation can be wrongly interpreted – it is more for literature.
  • Engagement is the key. It has to be fun. You can have the best program and all but it is not fun and students will say ‘we learned something but just don’t do it again’. If you want them to play it again and again and again, it means it is engaging.
  • Goal tuned with difficulty levels. The levels mean whether they understood or not, and they need to pass something to move to the next. It is a reinforcement.
  • Partial reinforcement.
  • Progress toward the goal
  • Balance between chance and skill

Viewing some games:

Agent sheets:

Has been created for teachers so any teacher can use it and they have plenty of support for teachers.

Scalable game design: wiki to help in the creation of gamelets.

Phet: the moving man: interactive simulations especially for math and physics




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