Everybody Wins


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Presented at 2013 Wayne County Public Schools Summer Institute. How board games and video games can be used as effective tools for engaging students, specific games for math and science to encourage critical thinking, research and social interaction.

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Everybody Wins

  1. 1. Everybody Wins Using Games and Gaming Effectively in the Classroom M. Brandon Robbins, M.L.S. Media Coordinator Goldsboro High School
  2. 2. In This Presentation • Why use games in the classroom? • What subjects are most appropriate for games? • What games are most effective for classroom use?
  3. 3. About Me • Graduate of Mount Olive College, 2005, B.A. English • Graduate of East Carolina University, 2011, M.L.S. • Over 10 years experience in libraries • Author of Library Journal’s “Games, Gamers, and Gaming Column” • Life-long gamer and reader • Loyal patron and assistant at our friendly local comic shop.
  4. 4. The Challenges of Implementing Games • Games are still seen as purely recreational, frivolous, and juvenile. • Games are expensive and it can be difficult to justify their cost. • Games don’t teach hard facts. • Games often cover dark subject matter and their mere presence can welcome controversy.
  5. 5. Justifying Games • Games are democratic. • While an expensive initial investment, they are a long-lasting investment and don’t even have to be an annual cost. • Games may not teach hard facts, but they do offer simulations of real-world skills and concepts. • They enhance a suite of critical thinking skills: risk assessment, cost analysis, resource management, decision making.
  6. 6. Justifying Games • Every game in existence is built on the principles of probability and logic. • The best games are representations of all man-made systems: simple concepts interacting in complex ways. • Tabletop games encourage landscape thinking. • Video games encourage detail thinking. • All games, to some degree, ignite the imagination. • Added bonus: no tabletop game can ever be accused of having explicit sex, violence, gore, profanity, or other controversial content.
  7. 7. Planning Strategies • Math and Science Teachers – ALL OF THEM! – Some games are specifically inspired by science. • Language Arts and Fine Arts – Role-playing games – Games with heavy thematic elements – Numerous games based on movies, books, and comics.
  8. 8. Planning Strategies • Social Science and Career Readiness Teachers – Games that are based on economics and politics. – Games that encourage cooperative and/or team game play. • No matter what subject you teach, there is a game out there for your classroom.
  9. 9. Rory’s Story Cubes •Players roll dice, using the icons that come up as elements in a short story they create. •Have students work in groups to tell, illustrate, and act out the stories they create.
  10. 10. Last Night on Earth •Players divide into Hero and Zombie teams. •There are numerous scenarios, each with their own objectives for the Heroes to accomplish. •This game encourages teamwork, brings out natural leadership skills, and invites discussion of how people react to disasters.
  11. 11. Settlers of Catan •Players act as leaders of groups settling Catan. •Resources are harvested and used to build structures and securing assets. •It’s a competitive game, but players can only win by making mutually-beneficial trades. •Great for demonstrating economic and environmental principles.
  12. 12. Portal and Portal 2 •Players use a gun to create portals that instantly transfer them from one space to another. •They use this to solve puzzles and navigate hostile environments. •Heavily dependent on physics, spatial relations, and timing. •GLaDOS is on of the greatest video game villains ever.
  13. 13. Yikerz! •Players take turns placing magnets on a play surface. •If you attract other magnets, you have to add them to your stack. First player to run out of magnets wins. •A simple, easy, and versatile science game.
  14. 14. Android: Netrunner •Players compete one-on-one as either Runners of the Corporation. •Runners try to hack into the Corporation’s servers to disrupt their agendas. •The Corporation uses security software to protect their resources and stop the Runner. •An illustration of network security that also welcomes discussion of corporate responsibility/oversight and the justification of terrorism/criminal activity.
  15. 15. Forbidden Island •Each player takes on the role of a different adventurer, each with a unique skill. •The players work together to recover treasures from the island before the island floods over.
  16. 16. Jenga •Players take turns removing a block from the tower and stacking it on top. •If you make the tower fall, you lose. •A crash course in engineering and architecture.
  17. 17. Pandemic •Players work as a team of medical and civic professionals who must stop deadly viruses from going pandemic. •Communication and division of labor is paramount to success. •The game is nearly unwinnable, but it is so on purpose.
  18. 18. Thematic and Narrative Games • Any role-playing game – Dungeons and Dragons – World of Darkness – RPG systems such as Savage Worlds and GURPS let you use the game system for combat, exploration, and puzzle creation but create your own world. • Arkham Horror • Multiple adaptations of Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones (A Song of Fire and Ice), and Star Wars • Many games based on comic-book characters
  19. 19. Research and Experimentation Games • Any entry in the long-running Pokemon series • Collectible/trading card games – Pokemon – Yu-Gi-Oh – Magic: the Gathering • Miniature games – HeroClix – Warhammer • If you see students using downtime to play, discuss, and research these games, please let them: they’re strengthening the skills you taught them!
  20. 20. You Can Make It Work! • If the game is too difficult for your students, simply ignore some of the rules. • If it’s too easy, make it more challenging! – Limit hand sizes for games that use cards. – Give opposing characters advantages. – Up the required number of points to win. • AVOID BAIT-AND-SWITCH. • Use games to establish cross-curriculum connections.
  21. 21. Resources for You • Board Game Geek – An online community for discussing board games, specifically clarifications on rules, suggestions for modifications to rules, and variations on game play. – http://www.boardgamegeek.com • FunAgain Games – An online store that offers discounts grants to educational institutions. – http://www.funagain.com • The Escapist – An online video games journal that offers excellent reviews and critical articles. – http://www.theescapistmagazine.com