Friday 3 December 2010

Serious Games in the Classroom: Throwing Constructivism a Lifeline?

I am putting together the final essay for my Foundations of Educational Technology class for my MET program. I thought I would post the abstract in case people might be interested. I will add a link to the rest of the paper when it is complete.

*edit: Here is is the link...

Richard Clark’s article, “Learning from Serious Games? Arguments, Evidence and Research Suggestions” and the many emotional responses it has elicited, clearly illustrates the sharp division with Constructivist thinking on one side and the sort of direct instruction propounded by the Cognitive Load theorists on the other. While the use of simulation-based computer games in the classroom tends to be justified by a Constructivist vision of pedagogy, which has recently come under attack in outcomes-based educational reforms, I will argue that simulation-based computer games can accommodate both arguments and presents a powerful teaching tool that should not be ignored. Although there are theoretical shortcomings, most of the criticisms levied against Constructivism (and Constructionism) in education are based less upon pedagogical concerns than on economical ones. This essay will come to terms with critiques and merits of Constructivism as a learning theory and will examine the role that simulation-based computer games can play in alleviating some of the concerns.

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