Saturday, January 13, 2007

Educate with video games

David Williamson Shaffer, an education science professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and author of the book, "How Computer Games Help Children Learn," says schools should use games to prepare children to compete in the work force, because handling different technologies at once is a daily professional requirement. CNET/Reuters (1/11)

Like the U.S. military, some large U.S. corporations have already adapted and use video games to train workers.

Shaffer and his team have developed a range of games that help students learn to think like engineers, urban planners, journalists, architects and other professionals:

-In Digital Zoo, players become biomechanical engineers. Using Sodaconstructor, a sophisticated physics simulation, they design wire-frame character prototypes for an upcoming animated film. Players meet with clients and engineering experts, and present their work, developing real-world skills while learning concepts in science and engineering.

- In Urban Science, players engage in the professional practices of urban planning and learn how to become ecological thinkers in the process. They work together to tackle the urban issues that face their city, using iPlan, a Geographic Information System (GIS) tool that helps them develop a comprehensive plan for their community.

- In, players become reporters working for an online newsmagazine. Working with professional journalists and interviewing community leaders, these young reporters learn about how journalists think about news and its important relationship to the community.

- In, our latest and best-developed game, players become science reporters. Working with professional journalists and interviewing local scientists, these young reporters learn about how journalists think about scientific issues and their important relationship to the community.

- In The Pandora Project, players become high-powered negotiators, deciding the fate of a real medical controversy: the ethics of transplanting organs from animals into humans. Along the way, they learn about biology, international relations, and mediation.

- In Escher’s World, players become graphic artists and create an exhibit of mathematical art in the style of M.C. Escher. Based on an architectural design studio, the game helps players learn to think like designers about geometry and graphic art.

From the CEC Smart Brief

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