I am interested in knowing of any educational gaming that you have encountered that has made a difference in your classroom. I know that I am slow on the up take in this area, but a student brought in the game "Civilizations" and it seemed like a great way to hit some Social Studies standards. Has any one tried an endeavor such as this and if so, what was your experience?

Tags: gaming, interactive, learning, standards

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This looks very cool. Thanks for the tip.
I own or recently bought (from Ebay) or plan to buy the following software for my 4-6th graders. Do you have any opinions about the games or have any other must buys?

Risk II
Civ IV
Railroad Tycoon
Axis and Allies
Age of Empires
Age of Mythology
Stronghold II
Making History
I don`t know all the games nor do I teach kids as young as Grade 4 (Grade 7 is my limit) but...

Risk: A little mindless. I`m not sure how useful it is from an educational viewpoint. You might learn a little bit of geography, but that`s about it. The gameplay doesn`t realistically simulate any historical situations.

Civ IV: I`ve played Civ III with Grade 12 kids and they found the learning cuve fairly steep. Still, if you can get past the initial start there`s a lot to be learned from this game. It`s well designed, very thoughtful, and if you set up some good exercises to go with it Civ can really help kids see how civilizations rise, develop and fall, what advances are necessary, and why certain things must happen before others.

SimCity: If this is the original version, see if you can find the later versions. The original SimCIty is good, but fairly limited in what you can do. It might be good for grade four, but I think the grade sixes will quickly maser it. I`ve used SimCity2000 to teach urbanizations to my World Geography students. Those 11 and 12s loved it to death. It`s got a great model to show city growth, but it took some prompting for the kids to understand why certain areas wouldn`t grow. Once I`d pointed it out, the kids modified their cities quickly. There are some well known cheats to this game that your students will likely figure out quickly.

Railroad Tycoon: A longtime favorite of mine. It clearly illustrates why railroads exist, namely to move goods from here to there. No goods to move, and the railroad fails. Economics 101 meets computer games.

If you can get it, I`d recommend any version of Roller Coaster Tycoon. The rides are cool, and you can do a lot of adjusting of prices for individual rides, run marketing campaigns, and check the happiness of amusement park visitors. It`s a great and entertaining lesson in supply and demand. One of my all time favorites that I think most kids could catch onto.
Thanks for your comments, I been reading about gaming in the classroom and I like the idea of collaboration using simulations. I teach in a gifted program and see the kids one day a week, time can be set aside for using thought provoking games--I refuse to let them use sites like funbrain or other offerings for kids.

I have Sim City IV, and also have several versions of the Roller Coaster Tycoon. I've introduced kids to Travian and Tribal Wars but they get frustrated that play is so slow (in real time?) since we have limited time to work.

The only piece to this gaming in the classroom puzzle that is still missing for me is some type of accountability tool. My students, even though they are very smart, like things that are easy and I'd like to have some tools to help them push themselves to the next level when things get hard. Since I don't use the games myself it is hard to come up with checklists that I can use to guide them.

Since I only see each grade level for 6.5 hours a day and only 36 times a year it is hard to know where to put your time resources. Thanks again for your comments. N
For accountability, the games may provide what you need.

Civ gives you a rating from 1 to 100 when you retire and compares you to a famous historical ruler.

For Sim City, you might have them build a city to a particular size (250,000?).

The initial Roller Coast Tycoon (I'm not sure about the current version three) released new scenarios when you'd mastered the earlier ones. Maybe they simply have to master all the scenarios.
Good point--I'll pay closer attention to the software itself.
The folks at North Carolina State University are doing some interesting things with gaming in the classroom. The HiFIVES Project (Highly Interactive, Fun, Internet Virtual Environments in Science) has partnered with educators in North Carolina to use a modified version of Half-Life 2 to create interactive science experiences in a virtual setting. Alongside this project, Dr. Annetta, the head of the project, offered a graduate-level course in educational gaming. I participated in the class as part of my graduate program in instructional technology at UNCW. I created a preview video of the game I created for the course. You can download and view it here. (It's a .wmv file).

I use a variety of online flash games in lessons, some are specifically Maths based, some are just a bit of fun for the end of the lesson as a reward (although usually developing problem solving / logical skills).

I've tagged them here:

Hey guys,

I've researched and used a large variety of games based upon Nintendo Wii and DS technology. Check out my website www.wiilearner.com for further information. :)



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