Chapter 25 Games, Simulations, andVirtual Worlds for Educators
Objectives• Distinguish between learning environments as games, simulations, or virtual worlds.• Identify the different genres of games, simulations, and virtual worlds.• Compare and contrast games, simulations, and virtual worlds as informatics tools for nursing education.• Describe strategies choosing between a game, simulation, or virtual world as the best choice for instructional delivery in a given educational situation.
Introduction• Educational games• Simulations• Virtual worlds – all share some characteristics – it’s difficult to find a “pure” experience in any of the genres – For example, simulations may have game-like qualities, and virtual worlds may be used to present a simulation.
Educational Games• An educational game, one designed for learning, is a subset of both play and fun, and is sometimes referred to as a serious game (Zyda 2005).• Different types of games – Action – Adventure – Construction/building – Strategy
Simulations• A simulation attempts to recreate a real-life set of conditions or events with as much fidelity as possible (Alessi, 1988).• Aldrich (2010) contends that simulations develop cognition (Learning to Know skills), ethics and roles (Learning to Be skills), and application (Learning to Do skills). Unlike games, simulations are not necessarily designed to be fun.
Virtual Worlds• A virtual world often takes the form of a computer-based simulated environment, through which users can interact with one another and use and create objects.• Virtual worlds are intended for its users to inhabit and interact• Largely synonymous with interactive 3D virtual environments, where the users take the form of avatars visible to others graphically.
Choosing Between Educational Games, Simulations, and Virtual Worlds• Games are goal oriented and may be competitive in nature. Games should be fun and perhaps a bit “fantastical” and light-hearted.• simulations are also goal oriented, the competition is generally subdued. Simulations are generally more realistic and are not necessarily fun to use.• Virtual worlds generally lend themselves to exploratory learning and social interaction.
Future• Best uses of all these technologies and approaches still remain a bit murky. Fortunately, a great deal of research is underway whose findings will guide future educators towards the best uses of educational games, simulations, and virtual worlds.