Playing to Learn Video Games in the Classroom What are Video Games

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					1   Playing to Learn:
    Video Games in the Classroom
    David Hutchison
2   Agenda
    What are video games?
    Why integrate video games into schools?
    Image slideshow
    Selected activity ideas
    Designing video games in the classroom
3   What are Video Games?
4   What are Video Games?
    Like all other forms of popular culture, video games are cultural
    Their meaning within a social context is important if we are to
     integrate video games into the K-12 curriculum
5   What are Video Games?
    Who are the gamers among us?
6   What are Video Games?
    All of the following are video games. What do they have in common?
    Space Invaders, Tetris, Math Blaster, SimCity, World of Warcraft, Wii
     Sports, Guitar Hero
7   What are Video Games?
    What is your definition of video games?
8   What are Video Games?
    This is my definition:

    Interactive goal-oriented virtual experiences
9   Selected Video Game Genres
    Action & Adventure
    From Casual to Serious Games

10   Video Game Web Sites

11   Why Integrate Video Games into K-12 Education?
12   Video Games are Fun
     They help make learning engaging and rewarding and school something
      to look forward to
13   Students and Teachers
     are Gamers
     Many students and teachers play video games. Why shouldn’t they
      share their passion for gaming with each other?
14   Video Games are Interdisciplinary
     There are all sorts of interdisciplinary learning opportunities related to
      video games that cross nearly every subject area
15   Video Games Demo
     New Ways of Learning
     Some researchers argue that video games are harbingers of a new way
      of learning - one that is immersive, interactive, and virtual
16   Video Games
     Promote Problem-solving
     Many video games encourage experimentation and the testing out of
      new ideas
17   Video Games are Cultural
     Many video games serve as societal simulations, complete with clan
      membership, cooperative ventures, working economies, and diverse
      cultural groups
18   Video Games are Controversial
     Talking about video games with students can foster intelligent debate
      and discussion
19   Playing to Learn:

     A to Z Activity List
20   Advertising Campaign
     The students design a full-fledged advertising campaign for an upcoming or newly
      released video game.
21   Alternate History
     The students write an alternate history of the world that starts with a decisive
      change in the outcome of a historical event.
22   Arcade vs. Video Games
     The students compare and contrast the social experience of playing video games in
      an arcade versus playing them at home on a video game console or PC computer.
23   Artistic Rendering
     The students create an artistic representation of a real-world scene.
24   Battleship
     The students assemble the materials for a classic game of Battleship, which they
      then play in pairs.
25   Best Kids’ Game
     The students rank and review their favorite kid-friendly video games.
26   Body Image
     The students discuss the relationship between body image and the physiques of
      both male and female video game characters.
27   Book Review
     The students review an academic or instructional book about video games.
28   Branding the Box
     The topic of branding is introduced to students who then compare and contrast the
      packaging of two or more PlayStation 3, Wii, or Xbox 360 titles.
29   Bully
     The students discuss the ethical issues surrounding RockStar’s school-based video
      game titled Bully.
30   Car Commercial
     The students create a car commercial using in-game footage captured from a
      driving game.
31   Car of the Future
     The students design and outline the specifications for a tricked-out new car (or
      flying machine) of the future.

32   Chart Toppers
     The students track the video game sales charts over a one- or two-month period.
      They analyze and draw conclusions about the statistics they have collected.
33   Cheat Code Central
     The students review a game's cheat codes. They propose a revised set of cheat
      codes that would make the game easier and more fun to play for novices and
      recreational gamers alike.
34   Choose Your Own Adventure
     The students write a choose your own adventure story, a narrative with multiple
      pathways that can then be adapted for use in an adventure video game.
35   Composer Discography
     The students research the discography of an established video game composer.
36   Critiquing the Controllers
     The students compare and contrast the gamepad controllers that ship with the
      Microsoft Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii, and Sony PlayStation 3 gaming systems.
37   Deadpan Dialog
     The students write a review of a video game focusing solely on the elocution of one
      or more characters’ dialogue.
38   Design Your Own Racetrack
     The students use arts and crafts supplies to design a racetrack that features five or
      more geographic landforms.
39   Design Your Own Racetrack (Take Two)
     The students use a city map to design a sanctioned street race through an urban
      center. They identify road hazards, plot positions where protective barriers should
      be erected, and mark off cross streets that should be closed to traffic.
40   Do You Recognize This Voice?
     The students play a teaching game in which they listen to recorded excerpts of
      dialog from several video games. They attempt to guess which celebrity’s voice
      they are hearing.
41   Don’t Believe the Hype
     The students compare and contrast the previews and reviews of a video game. They
      look for evidence of hype in the previews for games that didn't quite fulfill
      expectations upon their release.
42   ESRB Ratings Review
     The students review the ESRB ratings system and suggest what changes (if any)
      they would propose making.
43   Ergonomic Audit
     The students conduct an ergonomic audit of the school’s computer lab. They

      present their findings to the student council, principal, and school staff.
44   Fact vs. Opinion
     The students analyze and parse one or more reviews of a video game for statements
      of fact and opinion.
45   Fine Motor Count
     The students tally the number of times one or more gamepad buttons are pressed
      during a gaming session. They then transfer this data onto a chart for further
      analysis during math class.
46   Fitness Regime
     The students propose a series of fitness exercises for a leading video game or comic
      book character.
47   Foley Effects Artist
     The students become Foley artists as they replace the sound effects in a video game
      with their own sounds derived from materials they have collected in and around
      their school and home.
48   Foley Effects Artist (Take Two)
     The students add Foley effects to their game creations and video productions.
49   For How Long Do I Play?
     The students track the amount of time they spend playing video games over a two-
      week period. They then analyze and perform calculations on the data they have
50   Game Invention
     The students design a real-world game or sport that they then teach others to play in
      a physical education class.
51   Gaming Budget
     The students perform a cost-benefit analysis of the practice of buying versus
      renting video games.
52   Gaming Station
     The teacher sets up a PlayStation 3, Wii, or Xbox 360 gaming station in the
      classroom that is to be used for educational purposes in the instructional program.
53   Graphical Analysis
     The students conduct a graphical analysis of a video game. They critique the
      models, textures, lighting, shadows, and other graphical features of the game.
54   Historical Campaign
     The students propose a new mission for an existing World War II– or Vietnam-
      based wargame. They draw their idea from an actual historical campaign or
      scenario that occurred during the war.
55   Historical Place Analysis

     The students compare and contrast historically accurate video game environments
      with photographs and descriptions of the same real-world settings.
56   Historical Weaponry
     The students research the history of a weapon that is featured in a World War II– or
      Vietnam-based video game.
57   I Beg to Differ
     The students write a response to a negative review of a video game they enjoyed.
58   I Believe
     The students write an I Believe poem about video games that comprises ten belief
59   Kid-friendly Grand Theft Auto
     The students take back the streets as they design a vibrant, kid-friendly city in
      which there are lots of things to do.
60   Lay of the Land
     The students create a topographic map of a fictional battlefield that features several
      of the landforms they have studied in class.
61   Map of the World
     The students use a wall map of the world to plot the real-world locations in which
      their favorite video games are set.
62   Music Critic
     The students critique the licensed musical mix that is featured in a video game.
63   New Multiplayer Mode
     The students brainstorm new multiplayer modes that comprise sets of gameplay
      rules and scenarios for a popular online wargame.
64   Newscast Production
     The students study the structure of a traditional television newscast. They then
      apply what they have learned to the creation a live newscast of their own that
      reports on the video game news of the day.
65   Next Generation Console
     The students pick a name and design a model for a next-generation gaming system.
      They also brainstorm a list of cutting-edge features that the system will support.
66   Open World Directions
     The students write out the directions for getting from Point A to Point B in an open
      world driving game.
67   Playing to Learn
     The students brainstorm and lead their own video game learning activities.
68   Poor Posture

     The teacher teaches a lesson on ergonomics in which a student volunteer
      demonstrates the proper posture for sitting at a computer.
69   Race Relations
     The students discuss how different cultural groups are represented in video games.
70   Repetitive Stress Injury
     The teacher presents a formal lesson on repetitive stress injury to the class.
71   Researching the Credits
     The students research a specific video game–related job and its role in the
      development of a video game title.
72   Researching the Credits (Take Two)
     The students browse the credits for one or more video games as a way of helping
      them to organize their own in-class game development studio into assigned roles
      and tasks.
73   Review Roundup
     The students compare and contrast two or more reviews of a video game. They
      write a review roundup that sums up the views of the critics plus their own insights.
74   Review of the Real World
     The students turn the notion of a video game review on its head and instead review
      the real world as if it were a video game.
75   Scary Stories
     The students discuss what makes a story, movie, or video game scary. They then
      write their own scary story.
76   Scooby-Doo and the Laws of Physics
     The students watch a half-hour Scooby-Doo Mysteries episode and count and/or
      categorize the number of times the characters—both friends and foes—do the
77   Serious Games Brainstorming
     The students brainstorm ideas for a new serious game that teaches the knowledge
      and skill set required by a particular profession.
78   Spelling Dictation
     The teacher compiles a spelling list of video game-related terms.
79   Statistical Analysis
     The students analyze and discuss a number of video game–related statistics.
80   Strategy Guide Review
     The students write and then publish a review of a video game strategy guide.
81   Strategy Guide Writing
     The students author their own strategy guides for a full video game or a single

      mission from a favorite game.
82   Study of the Future
     The students write an essay that predicts what our world will look like in the future.
83   Superhero Design
     The students design an original superhero character for a video game.
84   Surround Sound Map
     The students go outside and draw a directional sound-field map that plots the
      location of natural and human-made sounds coming from the front, rear, sides, and
85   Tactical Analysis
     The students write about one or more tactics they have successfully used in a video
86   Technological Progress
     The students review the graphical features of three video games, respectively
      published this year, three years ago, and six years ago.
87   Television Technologies
     The students research the science behind the four major television technologies:
      CRT, LCD, DLP, and plasma. They report on the pros and cons of each.
88   Test Drive
     The students design a science experiment in which their peers take the cars in a
      racing game for a test drive. They report on which cars have the best and worst
      control and handling according to the participants in the study.
89   The Gaming PC
     The students design the casing for a custom gaming PC that optionally features a
      custom paint job, decals, neon lights, tattoos, and other embellishments.
90   The Interview
     The students interview their peers about their video game playing habits. They then
      draw tentative conclusions from the data they have gathered.
91   The Obituary
     The students write an obituary that recounts the life of a lead video game character
      who has died.
92   The Pitch
     The students prepare a proposal for a brand-new video game, which they then pitch
      to the class.
93   The Rewrite
     The students rewrite the dialog for a cutscene in a video game that is in desperate
      need of improvement.
94   The Rewrite (Take Two)

      The students rewrite a video game user review in an effort to improve its clarity
       and sentence structure.
95    The Stunt
      The students capture some in-game footage of their characters performing insane
       stunts on foot or in vehicles.
96    The Survey
      The students design a video game survey, which they then administer to other
       students in the school.
97    Ultimate Gaming Bundle
      The students design an advertisement for the ultimate gaming bundle, consisting of
       a PC or console system and third-party hardware and games.
98    Urban Planning
      The students choose the location for a new city, which they then design from the
       ground up.
99    User Interface Review
      The students apply the principles of user interface design to their review of a
       game’s user interface, menu system, and/or heads up display (HUD).
100   Video Game Addiction
      The students research the topic of video game addiction. They decide on a list of
       criteria for determining whether someone is addicted to video games.
101   Video Game Database
      The students design a database for storing information about video games. They
       pretend they are opening a video game rental store and need to keep track of their
102   Video Game Debate
      The students debate a controversial issue related to video games.
103   Video Game Reenactment
      The students reenact a key scene from a video game that boasts a strong storyline.
104   Video Game Review
      The students write a review for a video game they are currently playing.
105   Virtual Journal
      The students write a series of journal entries that chronicle their virtual life in an
       online role-playing or open world video game.
106   Website Design
      The students brainstorm ideas for a video game website that features content not
       typically found at existing websites.
107   Well-Balanced Diet

      The students propose a set of four video games that provide a desired gameplay
       balance and variety of play.
108   World without Music
      The students reflect on the perceptual experience of playing a video game without
109   World’s Best Gamertag
      The students are challenged to come up with the most creative Gamertag they can
       think of.
110   Designing Video Games
      in the Classroom
111   Steps 1 to 5
      1. Exploring video game design
      2. Generating an idea
      3. Choosing a game engine
      4. Pitching the game idea
      5. Writing a story or scenario
112   Steps 6 to 9
      6. Collecting and designing assets
      7. Programming the gameplay
      8. Testing the game
      9. Sharing and celebrating the game
113   Choosing a Game Design Tool: The Basics
      Range from cut-and-paste game engines to C++ libraries that need to be
      Some are targeted to children and teens
      Look for: Simple but flexible
114   Choosing a Game Design Tool: The Criteria (1 of 2)
      Educational price
      Game distribution license (i.e., royalty free is ideal)
      Programming requirements (e.g., none, basic scripting, or C++ programming)
      Feature set (e.g., integrated 3D modeling and multiplayer support)

115   Choosing a Game Design Tool: The Criteria (2 of 2)
      Bells and whistles (e.g., graphical effects and physics system)
      Import and export support (e.g., for models and graphics)
      Publishing options (e.g., PC, Macintosh, consoles, and/or Web)

      Level of developer and community support

116   Choosing a Game Design Tool:
      Some Possibilities (1 of 2)
      3D GameStudio (
      Adventure Game Studio (
      Blitz Tools (
      FPS Creator (
      Games Factory (
      Kodu (

117   Choosing a Game Design Tool:
      Some Possibilities (2 of 2)
      Game Studio Express (
      Platinum Arts Sandbox (
      RPG Toolkit (
      Scratch (
      Unity (
      See more at:

118   Playing to Learn:
      Video Games in the Classroom
      David Hutchison