As Donald Trump was declared president elect early this morning, the website iCivics debuted a new edition of Executive Command, an animated educational game aimed at teaching kids all about the role of the president. The game has players take on the role and select an agenda for the country. They learn what it takes to accomplish their goals while facing the challenges and responsibilities that appear along the way. “We don’t learn civics and how to be involved as a citizen, genetically. We have to learn it, every generation,” Justice Sandra Day O’Connor says in a
I’ve been teaching educational game design for a few semesters now as part of a module of a Creative Thinking and Problem Solving liberal arts course at my institution. I started out as a novice to the whole idea of game design, but I knew a lot about education. From teaching the course several times, I’ve learned a lot about how to teach it (and how not to), but I’ve also learned a lot from observing my students make mistakes when designing educational games. And, I make these mistakes sometimes when attempting to design a game.
In barely two weeks, the virtual reality game Pokémon Go has attracted millions of players. Now, educators are pondering whether the game can be used to promote learning. Three blogs — Aside, Discovery Education and EdTech — are nodding indeed. “Harnessing student excitement of this game can easily be used to support all kinds of fun and pedagogically-sound lessons and activities,” writes Discovery Education’s Kathy Schrock. She offers a number of resources educators can use to create lessons. Among her observations: “The journal component of the game automatically records the time and date of the events as they
We partnered with Connected Camps and Building Blocks for Kids Collaborative (BBK) last summer to run a four-week affiliate camp for underprivileged kids in the city of Richmond, California. Richmond’s residents are predominantly low-income Black or Latino families, and a recent study by the Richmond Public Library and BBK found that computer and Internet access in this community was far below the national average. With the generous assistance of the City of Richmond’s IT staff, we hosted the camp in Richmond’s City Hall IT Training Room, a basement room with 28 workstations. These computers were connected
When I was in middle school, there was a group of boys who played war games in the science teacher’s room. I was always envious of them, because it looked like fun, but it seemed to be an all-male enclave where I — as a girl — could never intrude. They played games like “Risk” and “Diplomacy” under the supervision of one of the school’s custodian. The game play with the janitor seemed to exist in a kind of administrative limbo on school property — tolerated but not endorsed in the way that the computer club, run by