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I trust that you have not suffered from cranial injury during the great Mid-Term Conflict of 2015? NO? Great! Have no fear, for the green and red tidal is upon us. For the great Winter Solstice is on the horizon. Braces yourselves, steel yourself user, for Christmas is Coming.
I have returned to the land of video games and there use in education/literacy. I have actually found far more uses and examples than I ever really though I would. I never actually knew someone could create a computer within a computer through a video game. Neither could I have imagined schools using video games as interactive introductions to their campus and what it has to offer. I had base ideas, but never really saw them in process. What I can say, from the things we have read, video games and their use in our culture, have far larger uses than just entertainment.
Another link was Elizabeth Lawley’s “Gaming to the Throne”, which actually used video games as a form of tourism or city planning. The example she used was the video game “Assassins Creed” in which they were able to map out the city of Paris, not only from the street level, but from the rooves as well. This provides these ‘tourists’ with a different perspective of the city and to see it from multiple angles allowing them to understand its layout and actually remember how to get around Paris. This has the possibility in a school setting as well as students can take a virtual tour of the school in a fun way, like challenges and races of who can get to Peter Kittles office first and take a picture of the hall pass. This will be exceptionally useful for those students who are transferring from out of state or long distance making travel extremely difficult. This kind of ‘virtual reality’ can prove as a tool in ailing freshmen’s anxieties. Coming to a new school, so far away from parents, can be a daunting task. This ‘interactive’ tour just makes that transition a little easier.
We also had James Gee’s “Why are Video Games Good for Learning” where a message, that I’m relatively aware of, tells us about the power of identity and taking on the identity of who or what we are talking about. Students take on the identity of ‘students’ and learn from a student mindset and voice. However, if one were to project onto their students the identity of a ‘colleague’ or ‘researcher’ the students would, unintentionally overtime, take on that identity and take part in discussions and projects as ‘colleagues’. Video games do this all the time as it places new players in an unfamiliar world and presents the player with an identity that they must take on if they wish to understand the rules of this new world and how to survive within it.
However, my favorite by far, is the insane use of Minecraft. There was no single author and more so an entire community that revolved around using Minecraft as a progenitor tool for virtual reality. The examples shown was a user creating a calculator using Minecraft, and Redstone but well get to that later, and another using it to create a computer or a line of music blocks that created the Skyrim theme. There was even an online educational course where a teacher was using the model of a cell, made in Minecraft, to give their students a tour of the inside of a cell. This immediately made me think of online courses and how these settings could create a foundation for those types of classes. Though it isn’t meeting in person not that that’s even encouraged in an online class, but it does provide a visual base for students to meet one another and talk. It creates a social construct for ‘colleagues’ to gather and discuss.
From what we have read, video games can do quite a lot more than just make things that blow up. Video games can be a part of our everyday lives and help others with anxiety in new worlds since games revolve entirely around that concept of daunting new worlds. They provide environments and tools for complex learning and understanding. They are the path to a new way of teaching and the classroom setting of identity and what the student is supposed to be.