I’m working on a paper right now on what might be called ‘games for history’, but I’ll admit, I’m stumped. The anonymous reviewer wants to see some stats, some formalized quantitative or qualitative results demonstrating that students have learned something, and a discussion of the metrics used.
So in a mad dash today I’ve been burning the aether, trying to find anything other than anecdotal evidence for something I firmly believe: that game-based learning in the humanities can achieve deep learning.
In one sense, it seems a bit much to demand of game-based learning something we rarely demand of chalk-and-talk or other approaches used in higher ed… but that’s really not a useful response. It should be out there… Any ideas?
Last word to FAS:
These higher-order knowledge and skills [learned in games] are typically not revealed by tests of facts, or standards of learning-types of examinations. Instead of concrete measures of learning outcomes, what is available is typically strong anecdotal evidence — kids that participate in game- and simulation-like learning are very excited, they’re motivated, they’re immersed, and they seem to do better. In addition, games and simulations tend to blur the line between education and training, as they involve learning-by-doing. For example, decision-making may be best assessed in a test of its practical use.
If assessments are not measuring the right skills and knowledge — the higher order skills that games may be able to develop — then the use of educational games and simulations may be viewed as having poor efficacy. In reality, the assessment is designed to measure something other than what the game is designed to teach.
Federation of American Scientists. 2006. Summit on Educational Games: Harnessing the power of video games for learning. http://www.fas.org/gamesummit/Resources/Summit%20on%20Educational%20Games.pdf
Fascinating report from the Federation of American Scientists: they support the use of commerical off the shelf games for science education! C’mon archaeologists…
The game is divided into three periods of Mesopotamian history: The Uruk Period (3300-3000 BC) when writing was first developing; the Ur III period (2100-2000 BC), a time of great cities and central organization; and the Neo-Assyrian period (1000-600 BC), a time of empires. [...]
The game opens with a cataclysmic event—an earthquake in Baltimore. The player quickly learns that this event is caused by an ingenious archaeologist named Dexter who has figured out how to travel back in time, accidentally and unknowingly wreaking havoc with the fabric of time. The storyline then unfolds, compelling the player to go on a series of missionsto ancient Iraq to find Dex and restore the fabric of time The player travels back in time, ‘leaping’ into the body of several historically attested characters. In the first level, the player assumes the character of Taribi, a 12 year old boy studying to be a scribe. Living a day in Taribi’s life, the player is challenged to learn what he would have learned in school. Players are encouraged to learn by discovery and to experience one of the earliest cities, Uruk ca. 3100 BC.
Looks like I’ll be busy for a while… hmm. nothing on the site seems to be more recent than 2006, and the images do not load… has the game died?