Springing in to DI: Gaming
I decided on today’s topic based on a visit to the “Community” tab of Digital Is and an exploration of “recent tags.” “Game-based learning” stood out to me, not because I’m a gamer, but because gaming has always interested me as a learning strategy that fosters engagement and critical thinking.
Years ago at a Computers and Composition conference, I spent a day in a pre-conference workshop focused on gaming. The Sims was being discussed in detail, and I was fascinated by this role-playing game and its potential for the problem-based learning pedagogy I use in all of my post-secondary classes. The third generation of this game is now available, and I have still not explored the game or used it in any of my classes, but I am drawn to its potential once again.
Chad Sansing’s “Beginning another year in game-based learning: from making to morality” discusses his uses of gaming for teaching civics and economics. Words like “analysis,” “enrich,” “discuss why,” “in-depth,” “problem-solving,” “conversations,” “ramifications,” “investigate,” “awareness,” and “agency” stand out in his discussion. These words point to the critical process students engage in as they analyze games and use these resources as a lens through which to study course concepts. These words speak to the process of “making” and suggest how games help students with knowledge-building, comprehension, application, and analysis. Words like “values,” “community,” “judge,” “permissible,” “distinguishing between,” “personal meaning,” and “better decisions” help us to understand the “morality” in Chad’s title and indicate how games help students with synthesis and judgment.
I am again reminded of how gaming is ideal for the problem-based learning classroom as a vehicle for moving students through Bloom’s Taxonomy of cognitive levels to a point where they are able to take an informed and critical position on a subject based on their foundational knowledge and general comprehension as well as critical application, analysis, and synthesis of information. As Chad emphasizes, engaging students in this way, for many, leads to deeper engagement with and understanding of the material, fosters community, and encourages civic responsibility and engagement.