Thursday, January 18, 2007

eSchool News: Gaming advances as a learning tool

In the midst of my experiment with game-based learning, eSchool News has come out with an article about the benefits of gaming in the classroom. The article discusses the use of games designed "...solely for self-indulgent, time-consuming entertainment at home" instead of games designed for education. It is these types of games that can make school more engaging for today's digital natives.

Speaking of today's digital natives...

My classroom of digital natives has been playing Wildlife Tycoon, a game like the ones described above, for three days now and I can't imagine a better way of teaching them about ecosystems. Like the students in the article, my students have said that the game has made class more interesting. Many have described it as addicting. They continue to talk about it between classes. And...THEY CONTINUE TO LEARN. Check out these comments:

Flamingos can live in flocks up to 20. They need water,and space with elaphants or babboons.
Zebras can live in heards up to 12. They need water and shrubs or grasses.
Lions can live in prides up to four. They need water and zebras or hares.
Hares can live in very big groups. They need grasses, no water, and lots of space because they breed quickly.
Elephants can live in groups up to 5. They need trees, shrubs, grasses, and water.
Jewels are essential because you get food and water from them so jewels are needed for everything to live.

By the way, two of the learning targets my students are supposed to be learning from this are:
  • Summarize that organisms can only survive in ecosystems in which their needs can be met. (food, water, shelter, air, carrying capacity, waste disposal)
  • Support how an organism’s patterns of behavior are related to the nature of that organism’s ecosystem, including the kinds and numbers of other organisms present, the availability of food and resources, and the changing physical characteristics of the ecosystem.

Think they're learning these?

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