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KNOWING WORLD WAR II: VIDEO GAMES AND LEARNING Fisher, Stephanie J. Review by Chao (Kelvin) Jiang.

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Presentation on theme: "KNOWING WORLD WAR II: VIDEO GAMES AND LEARNING Fisher, Stephanie J. Review by Chao (Kelvin) Jiang."— Presentation transcript:

1 KNOWING WORLD WAR II: VIDEO GAMES AND LEARNING Fisher, Stephanie J. Review by Chao (Kelvin) Jiang

2 WHY THIS BOOK Academic approved paper (master thesis) Explore video game’s potential educational benefits and feasibility of improving old teaching method Examine how young people learn from playing WW ll themed video games. Examine the difference between gamers and non-gamer in the knowledge they received from formal and inform contexts. Explore a better approach to educate students in history subject.

3 CURRENT ISSUES Traditional education method of history class is not effective as students often refer history class as most hated subject. The author tried to use phenomenological technique to examine the old instructional approach and propose a more inspiring and motivating instructional approach with gaming. Students often found history taught in class with traditional method is different from what they gained from another source. Computers games are often embedding some information into game scenes such as history themed games, which can be educational WORLD WAR II themed games are especially containing heavy narrative information based on history.

4 CURRENT ISSUES For example, often minority is decentralized with less attention in official school history class, this causes confusions to student who want to find their lived identities especially in a multi-cultural country like Canada. Today’s student learn in a different way compared with previous generations. They are more technology oriented, so conventional teaching method has started exposing its weakness History class is usually text-based information, therefore it is rarely engaging to students Although digital games was labeled with negative terms before, it have been changing. Author argued through many supporting quotes and documents that it is educative and positive.

5 REVIEW In this paper author thoroughly states the reasons and needs for revitalizing history education in school Author believe that gameplay can be playful and educational when games with history background is visualized History-based game designs need to be accurate for educational purpose Author also uses definition of gameplay from Huizinga To prove game players can appropriate games, author gives an case study of civilization III from Squire’s dissertation.

6 REVIEW Author uses phenomenological research approach to collect data and analyze data, through questionnaires and interviews(pre and post) From every aspect, author investigate game players about how they gain historical knowledge, what they gain and to which degree their gained historical knowledge is. Since most commercial games are designed for entertainment not for educational purpose even though those are historical based games, it does not mean students can learn from its contents. In addition, one plays a historical game well is not necessary to be historical conscious.

7 REVIEW What’s more, author demonstrated that multimedia materials compared with that contains same information as text-based materials are indeed attractive to students in the paper. Later, author states that students do construct their own understandings of history either through WW ll based video game or outside school/gaming contexts, for instance, internet. The findings from questioners and interviews interestingly suggests that gamers are more knowledgeable in WW II in a big picture versus general knowledge gained from relatives in non-gamers. Some gamers can even specify every detailed information such as the number of casualties in WW II, which is contribution of WW II based video game.

8 CONCERNS Author also comments the drawbacks of video games as biased in term of those geared towards male gender. In addition, as an example of bias, WW ll video games often present German soldiers as monsters and game players are only give kill or be-killed option, no other choices, which is different from real history. Author gives an example of a veteran who was saved by German soldier once to support his point. Also, there are risks that if players are not engaged, they can not learn anything at all from gameplay.

9 CONCERNS Institutional issues are encountered while author conduct his experiment. For example, school board is tend to not welcome the idea of “gaming and learning”, teachers are not familiar and comfortable with utilizing games as teaching materials, nor confident in the advantages of applying games for historical information. Also, there are no dedicated designed history-based video game for educational purpose in market. all of above hinders the use of games in classrooms The experiment was conducted at a local high school with limited support from school board. Given the number of student in experiment is not many, this result of experiment maybe biased due to insufficient participants.

10 Overall, this paper uses scientific research methodology to examine the impact of history-based video games on preparing students for official school unit. The result is encouraging, but I think this result could be inaccurate due to the insufficient participants in the experiments. In addition, the assumption author made and the result drawn from experiment data analysis are limited to gamers who are mostly male, even though non-gamers would also gain information from video games, but apparently less significant than gamers do. What’s more, the knowledge of WW II history that video games prepared students is heavily related military aspects, such as military operations, strategies, weaponry used during the war, battle, casualties and so on. In fact, those gamers who found video games are helpful and interesting compared with official school unit are not actually attracted by its historical information, it was the content related to military aspects inside video game and in-game experiences that attract them and inspire their curiosity. Such detailed content is the missing part from official school unit as author mentioned in her paper. Assuming it was included in official history class curriculum, those gamers would find official school unit interesting and learn in-depth WW II knowledge as well. Therefore, video games may help students in terms of learning history, but it’s not necessary. If school unit can be improved with details information with visual presentation, it can achieve exactly same result as video games do or even better, because video games could offset student’s focus to other things such as in-game goal, social grouping and so on, but school unit has no such distractions.

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