In my reflection this week I’d like to discuss the 2 biggest things that stood out to me this week in studying about games and virtual environments in the classroom. First is my fascination of Ender’s Game (Card, 1985). Secondly is my attempt at trying to see the good things gaming can bring through the foggy glasses of my negative bias.
I admit it. I am a nerd. I love Ender’s Game (Card, 1985), and I I’ve read every almost every sequel and related book over the last 25 years. When the article “Harnessing the Power of Games in Education” (Squire & Jenkins, 2003) started the article by referencing Ender’s Game I was pretty happy, but as I read on I started to wonder if this is really the book to advocate gaming in the classroom? First of all Orson Scott Card has been a skeptic toward integrating video games into the classroom because of the lack of content. My main concern is using a story where the military uses a video game to trick children into committing “xenocide” may not be the best approach to warming people to the thought of video games in the classroom. The fact that the military does use video games in training, or that gaming could be a viable resource in the classroom is amazing. When I picked that book off the shelf in 1985 I would have never dreamed that this science fiction would become science fact.
In my discussion I mentioned that I worked for a small “mom & pop” software company that created what we called “edutainment” games, and I was really proud of what we made there. The games highlighted in “Educational Gaming for K-12 Classrooms” reminded me of those games, and of the games we use in our special education classrooms at North Hill. The problem there is they need a more variety of quality learning games because playing the few we have throughout the school year over and over the games get boring for the students. I think with some practice and instruction they could play a game like “The Diabetic Dog Game,” and learn while having fun… “edutainment.”
Card, O.S. (1985). Ender’s Game. New York: Dell.
Squire, K. and Jenkins, H. (2003). Harnessing the Power of Games in Education. InSight, 3, 5-33. Retrieved from: https://learntest.spu.edu/webapps/portal/frameset.jsp?tab_group=courses&url=%2Fwebapps%2Fblackboard%2Fexecute%2Fcontent%2Ffile%3Fcmd%3Dview%26content_id%3D_505875_1%26course_id%3D_45459_1%26framesetWrapped%3Dtrue