videogames and lesson plans

I recently re-read “Reviewing the Content of Videogame Lesson Plans Available to Teachers” as part of reading I assigned to my 313W students. I’ve always been of the opinion that there’s no perfect game to hand to teachers to use in the classroom, but ways of adapting free games to fit your needs, and ways of using even poorly designed games in unexpected ways to engage students in lessons. My problem has always been I don’t know how you work as a teacher in your classroom, so you need to pick a game you can play, get along with, teach, and use, so I’m the worst resource to tell  you that game. However, what Rice made me reconsider in her article is the lack of support in technology and pedagogy for integrating games in meaningful ways to support learning. In the courses I completed in grad work, we never discussed possible ways of using games in the classroom. When I designed my discussion leader assignment, requiring students to select a game to lead discussion related to the game AND the course material, I made it up, and modified it as the semester progressed, altering the assignment in subsequent semesters based on some of the presentations. For an article I have pending with publishers about this assignment, I suggest modifications of it for implementation in various types of classrooms with some ideas for goals. So what i’m wondering is if Rice’s approach is the right way to go, create and provide full lesson plans as ideas work, or overview your lesson plan and learning outcomes with more focus on the suggestions for modification and uses to start conversation about the use of games in classrooms. I’m leaning toward the latter as it allows individual instructors to make the assignment most meaningful to their classroom, their goals, and provides suggestions for their own interpretation. But is this the best way to support newcomers, or does this still require more time than educators have available to them…..

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