Mario and Luigi as Educators: Commercial Video Games in the 21st Century Classroom

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ETAP 623 Spring 2017 | Michael Panetta

About this Course

This course, "Mario and Luigi as Educators: Commercial Video Games in the 21st Century Classroom", is designed as a concise professional development tool for both new and experienced teachers of all grade levels and subjects to explore and consider the possibility of using commercially-available video games in the classroom as educational anchors. Integrating play into a classroom, though a challenging endeavor, can provide students with a game-changing view of their education by providing them with real-world applications of the concepts they are learning right now. This course will focus on two games in particular, RollerCoaster Tycoon and Democracy 3, and two potential uses in the classroom however we will also explore video games in general as educational tools.

Course Overview

Course Goals

By the end of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Identify best practices regarding the use of commercial video games in the classroom
  • Interpret, from given examples, identifiers of a commercial video game whose use can be additive to the educational experience
  • Interpret, from given examples, identifiers of a commercial video game whose use would not be additive to the educational experience
  • Design a short lesson around the use of a video game as an anchor
  • Implement a long-term educational strategy through the use of a video game as an anchor

The primary goal of this course will focus on the fourth goal: the creation of a short lesson centered on the use and exploration of a video game.

Course Division

The course itself will be divided into four units:

  • Unit One: A (Very Brief) History of Video Games
  • Unit Two: A (Very Brief) Overview of Games in the Classroom
  • Unit Three: The Curation Process, or How to Find the Best Game For Your Class
  • Unit Four: An Exploration of Two Video Games

Each of these courses will have a brief evaluative activity to ensure we are operating at the same level. The final unit will also include a short project as discussed previously: the creation of a lesson plan.

Course Prerequisites

Before we begin, a few prerequisites to ensure that we will need to meet:

Essential Prerequisites

  • Participants must have familiarity with web browsers and the Youtube website
  • Participants must have the ability to use a Wiki-based course
  • Participants must be open to the idea of games as a catalyst for educational experiences
  • Participants must have high level reading skills
  • Participants must have the ability to use the Google Drive suite of office productivity apps for assignments or be able to upload documents to Drive

Supportive Prerequisites

  • Participants should be interested in alternative routes for educational experiences
  • Participants should be able to write clearly and concisely
  • Participants should have creative thinking skills
  • Participants should have critical thinking skills

As mentioned in the Essential Prerequisites, this course will use Google Drive for the submission of activities and the final project. Although Drive has the ability to write documents, you will not need to use their own word processor in the course of this module. You will be able to upload documents to the course Drive account in any supported format and will need to have a free account with Google in order to access and upload files. You can create an account by following the link below:

https://accounts.google.com/signup?hl=en

Course Units

Unit One: A (Very Brief) History of Video Games

Learning Objective: Participants will be able to discuss the evolution of video and computer games and reflect on the examples given in a video as to whether or not they would allow for compelling classes.

Unit Two: A (Very Brief) Overview of Games in the Classroom

Learning Objective: Participants will explore the benefits and drawbacks of using games of any type in the classroom.

Unit Three: The Curation Process, or How to Find the Best Game For Your Class

Learning Objective: Using the activity in Unit One as a baseline, participants will be able to evaluate their chosen games for educational efficacy and the likelihood of student growth within their subject material and level.

Unit Four: An Exploration of Two Video Games

Learning Objective: Participants will be able to design a short lesson around the use of a commercially-available video game for use in their subject material.

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ETAP 623 Spring 2017 | Michael Panetta