games in the classroom: article discussion

a discussion of Echeverria, A., Garcia-Campo, C., Nussbaum, M., Gil, F., Villalta, M., Amestica, M., and Echeverria, S. (2011). “A framework for the design and integration of collaborative classroom games.” Computers & Education, 57, 1127-1136.

Echeverria, et. al. (p. 1127) break the use of games in the classroom into three categories:

1. using variations of MMOs to have class virtually – peer-to-peer interaction and instructor-to-student interaction occurs virtually

2. using variations of MMOs to create virtual collaboration – ARG style mix of virtual and real-life to encourage group participation

3. using educational games for subject-based learning

Their article then focuses on alternative ways of engaging with games in the classroom, specifically how the integration of games needs to begin with strong pedagogy. They provide a framework to help with this implementation. While I absolutely agree games should be in the classroom, and games should be used *thoughtfully* I wonder how immediately prepared students are for that inclusion. Echeverria, et. al. offer a revised reading of Bloom’s taxonomy, mapping areas of the game (mechanics, story, technology, aesthetics) to discuss onto the revised taxonomy to demonstrate not just learning but higher order thinking (p. 1128). This mapping emphasizes the pedagogical integration of games, and does so successfully in their sample classrooms. But, when moving beyond educational games, to less serious, even flash-based games, what do students needs to know and consider to hold discussion about those games?

I integrate games into my classrooms, emphasizing games as cultural artifacts similar to television shows, movies, celebrities, politicians. For a rhetoric class this approach makes perfect sense. The approaches, the ways of thinking and discussion have been the focus of the class for at least one class period. As I work on an article about the integration of games into the classroom in just this way I’m still grappling with the way this idea can be universal across disciplines, how do all instructors/teachers/professors introduce games as artifacts to encourage the discussion desired?

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