Growing up I was taught that playing video games are fun and it was designed for entertainment. After researching I now know that video games can now educate adults in different ways. This week were asked to identify two types of video games to enhance adult education. The two I chose to use was The Sims and Active Worlds.
The Sims video game is a game that can be found on the computer or any game system Play Station, Xbox, etc. The Sims game teaches life skills such as living in a home, buying food, working, having a family, and dying. The video game also supports social interaction with other avatars online. The Sims is a strategic, life simulation video game series developed by Maxis and later by The Sims Studio, and published by Electronic Arts. It is one of the most successful video games series of all time. As of May 2011, the franchise has sold more than 150 million copies worldwide, and is also the best-selling PC franchise in PC history.
The games in The Sims series are more of a sandbox game in that they lack any defined goals (except for some later expansion packs which introduced this gameplay style). The player creates virtual people called "Sims" and places them in houses and helps direct their moods and satisfy their desires. Players can either place their Sims in pre-constructed homes or build them themselves. Each successive expansion pack and game in the series augmented what the player could do with their Sims.
There are different types of games available: those that are played online, those on a computer, and those on a handheld device. The Leapster company is one of the leaders in handheld games, with their first system designed to help kids learn to read. The books let the kids read along and touch the screen to hear words spoken. They now make similar systems to teach kids other subjects such as math and science. There are even video games meant for consoles like the Nintendo Wii and XBOX 360.
More and more educational video games are now appearing on the computer and Internet. These games teach basic computer skills while also offering insight on a particular topic or subject. Sim City is a good example of this because the game teaches the players basic controls on the computer, but also teaches them on how cities are planned, built, and run.
Teachers and parents are now learning the benefits available to students who use video games. At home kids can use the games to better learn and understand the ideas they’re taught in school. For example, kids who are in reading class can use reading games to ensure that they know the basic skills before they move on to the next level. Parents can also use these video games to test their knowledge, with kids using the games prior to a test or quiz.
In the classroom, these games can be used to make learning more fun. There are studies that show some kids learn by outside stimuli and these games benefit those students. Kids can use the games in addition to their coursework or instead of their coursework. For example, some kids might find a typing game a better way to learn the computer keyboard than having a teacher talk to them about it. Teachers can even reward those students with the highest score in a game with a sticker or small treat, which encourages them to learn.
The game I selected to discuss is the virtual game known as Active Worlds (http://www.activeworlds.com/overview.asp) . When I viewed this online game system; I was simply amazed at the 3D supported graphics that enable individuals to create, develop, and basically “live” in a virtual community. The game offers a comprehensive platform for individuals to immerse themselves in 3D virtual reality. Participants can choose a vast array of avatars that most fit his/ her personality, shop, make friends, build a home, and even travel all over the world. Activeworlds also supports 3D technology for businesses where organizations can conduct on-line corporate training and other e-learning initiatives.
Unfortunately, I have not had much experience with this type of virtual gaming system, but my Emerging Technology Proposal is based on a very similar concept of a virtual “university”. I believe that engaging in a virtual community is beneficial for learning because players can participate in various communications and chats. As Steinkuehler (2012) indicates, discussions going on in the game, chats, blogs, and discussions that the game encourages will increase the constellation of literacy. In addition, by using this virtual community; adult learners have the capacity to increase their collective sharing of group intelligence (Steinkuehler, 2012).
Although I fully believe that this technology is an effective learning system; the only potential challenge I can forsee is by the increase of “virtual community interactions” will ultimately decrease the amount of time the individual can interact within a live “face-to-face” community.
If I had the opportunity, I would incorporate this virtual learning community into an online college course for adult learners. The software has the ability to offer e-learning options and interactive course lecturers. I would take the opportunity to integrate this game into my learning curriculum to deliver interactive, online communication in a virtual reality for students.
Activeworlds (2012). Activeworlds Virtual Community. Retrieved from: http://www.activeworlds.com/overview.asp
Steinkuehler, C. (n.d.). Cognition and learning in MMOs. Retrieved May 30, 2012, from http://www.gameslearningsociety.org/research/cognition-and-learning-in-