Title: Online Games and Problem Solving
Presenter: Neil Butler
Date & Time: July 30, 6-6:30pm
This is my first experience attending e-conferences so I was very curious how it would be done. It’s like the traditional talk where there’s a speaker (in this case, the host), hosts (in this case, moderators) and the participants. There were only 15 people in the room but it seemed that only 5 really participated by asking questions, commenting, etc. The speaker also used the whiteboard feature for his presentation and what I liked about this is that after the session, I could save it for future reference. Aside from the whiteboard, I could also save the chat log which is also useful since it contains the thoughts of the other participants. Overall, I am very satisfied with how it was handled although it was a bit boring at first (maybe because I was tired).
I chose this session because first, the time is very convenient for me; second, I love puzzles and this gradually evolved to online games; and lastly, I believe that students of today couldn’t be taken away from games anymore since they are very accessible. Adding to that last reason, I also believe that games can be integrated to their learning. Learning doesn’t need to be boring, right?
According to Mr. Butler, one of the advantages in using games in instruction is that MISTAKES ARE INEVITABLE. In the traditional school setting, students are afraid to make mistakes since these affect their grades. However, people learn best from mistakes (I personally believe this.) and they can explore more possibilities which in turn develop their creativity and problem solving skills. These games give them the oppurtunity to experiment a lot which they don’t have the courage to do in the normal classroom setting. He demonstrated 4 games which can be used in instruction: Sola Rola, Gravity Pods, Light Bot, and Fantastic Contraption 2 (they are all available online). I like Fastastic Contraption the best because in this game, students can make their own mechanisms and they can share ideas to come up with solutions. Another thing is that there are multiple solutions to each level so it’s not restrictive. One thing that’s very common for them is they are all Physics games. Even if Mr. Butler teaches Mathematics, which is my major, he uses these games in his instruction so his presentation really gave me new ideas. 🙂
- Fantastic Contraption 2
The internet is very accesible now so it’s very inevitable that computer/online games become part of a student’s life. The issue with these games, however, is that they are very addicting so students cannot fully focus on their studies. Why? It’s simply because playing games is more fun than just sitting passively in a lecture being bored being lulled to sleep by the teacher’s monotonous voice (not all teachers are boring though :D). I believe though that because of the same reason, some students now, learn best when playing games. I read an article before that gamers get easily addicted to games because they learn the dynamics of the game very fast. Even though they might flunk in school because of their game addiction, we should also accept the fact that this is how they learn. I am also a gamer (though I don’t have time to play during the school season :<) and I love Physics and puzzle games so I really feel that these games help me improve my problem solving skills. This is why I wanted to go into educational game development in the future since I think it would be the future trend in instruction especially in Math and Sciences. However, we should use caution in using games in instruction because misconceptions might arise if they are not guided. Mr. Butler also recommended to do these games maybe once every 5 meetings because too much games might cause losing their interest in the normal discussions and lectures which are necessary.