Friday, September 17, 2010

Video Games as learning tools (Angry Birds)

Today I just read an article on video games as learning tools on Edudemic. I have always thought that games made an excellent learning tool when done right, with the right support by the teacher. Many video games teach students actual content knowledge, but most of them teach critical thinking and problem solving techniques. 

Research has shown that video games are effective as learning tools and many companies are working on educational video games. But, other video games can be used educationally also. 

I just downloaded Angry Birds for my Palm Pre+ last night and loved it. The premise is simple. A bunch of pigs steal eggs from the birds. The birds then go after the pigs. The birds get launched using a slingshot and try to knock down the pigs structures. 

As I was playing, I realized that there was physics at play here, and since I teach physics, I was very excited. Projectile Motion, structures, stability, materials, and dynamics all come into play. If you understand those concepts, you'll do better at the game. If you don't know those concepts, you will learn them while playing. 

There is nothing really bad about the game. It is extremely popular and received high praise from reviewers. My only problem is that I need it in a Windows version for my classroom! 

The game is available for Palm webOS phones (Pre and Pixi), Nokia phones, and iPhone / iPod Touch / iPad.

" Angry Birds features hours of gameplay, challenging physics-based castle demolition, and lots of replay value. Each of the 150 levels requires logic, skill, and brute force to crush the enemy. " 

As an educator, I am always looking for new, engaging ways to teach my students. Using video games is a great way to do this.

Share video games that you use for education!

Note: Edudemic is a great resource site for educators. In their own words, Edudemic is a website devoted to these ‘geeky’ things with an education slant. We focus on what’s happening in the tech world and how it applies to higher education. We’re not trying to be the next Gizmodo, we’re trying to help educators get the most out of their students and vice versa.


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