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Games and Simulations in Learning

This is a workshop that i attended in Stanford University from 25th july through 29th july 2005. It was an experiencial thing for me. First this is my first time to visit Stanford and on top of it this is my first time to have such a close interaction with gaming community. After 15 years of long slumber i awakened to start playing video games. It was never that i was interested, its just that things just happened so. When i was teenager i was kept away from games because my parents thought i had better things to do than that and secondly as i grew there is was limited availability of video games. Even though i didnot get a chance to play a lot i always kept myself abreast with the developments in the gaming world. I reliazed after playing my first video game after so many years that what i have missed is incredible.

Playing game is an experiencial thing. No matter how many reviews, articles, interview/show you read and see it will not come close to few hours of playing the same game. Having said that let me shift gears to some serious stuff. This workshop was primarily considered with looking at how games and simulations can play a role in learning.

Gaming community/companies are one of the fast and quite profitable entitites in the real world. To add to that kids just love it. So there must be something really interesting in games for them which keeps them hooked on hours together. There are tons of resources on this very topic of how games help in learning a few we studied for this workshop are:

Gee, J. P. (2003). What video games have to teach us about learning. New York: Palgrave.
Salen, K., & Zimmerman, E. (2001). Rules of Play : Game Design Fundamentals. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press

First day of the workshop was overvelhming with so many games and genres of games. Played a couple of games in the first two days, i really appreciated what i learnt when i started to de-construct a game like:

What are some of the objects and thier attributes?
What are some game rules/internal relationships?
What is the game narrative(s)?
What are the “social” interactions?

Answering these questions for a game clarifies or shows the actual nuts and bolts in a game. As hours went by we really started seeing games being torn apart conceptually. After this exercise when i went back to the same game i was playing before my whole prespective while i was playing is completely changed. I was like “Neo” in matrix who saw what Matrix was all about….:) (“lines of code dropping on the screen or a simple linux screen saver…LOL..)

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