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Introduction to Using Games in Education: A Guide for Teachers and ParentsIntroduction to Using Games in Education: AGuide for Teachers and Parents8/15/06 (first release); 2/3/07 (references checked; many copy editing changes made)Dave MoursundTeacher Education, College of EducationUniversity of Oregon 97403Email: moursund@uoregon.eduWeb: moursund/dave/index.htmContents . 1About Dave Moursund, the Author . 5Preface. 6Learning Through Game Playing .6Computational Thinking .7Puzzles.8Brief Overview of Contents .8Chapter 1: Thinking Outside the Box. 10Puzzle Problems .11Problems and Problem Solving .14Problem Solving is Part of Every Discipline .16Cognitive Maturity .17George Polya’s General Problem-Solving Strategy .18Modeling and Simulation.19Games Can be Addictive.20Final Remarks .21Activities for the Reader .22Activities for use with Students.23Chapter 2: Background Information. 25Types of Games Considered in this Book.25Games-in-Education as a Discipline of Study .27Page 1

Introduction to Using Games in Education: A Guide for Teachers and ParentsExpertise.28Competition, Independence, Cooperation.30Learning to Learn .33Situated Learning and Transfer of Learning.34Learning in a Game Environment .37Precise Vocabulary and Notation .38A Few Important Research Findings.39Final Remarks .40Activities for the Reader .40Activities for use with Students.41Chapter 3: Sudoku: A Puzzle . 42Introduction to Sudoku.43A 4x4 Example and a High-Road Transferable Strategy.44Metacognition .45Is the Puzzle Problem Solvable? .46Getting Started in Solving the Puzzle .47Persistence and Self-confidence .48The Elimination Strategy .50Final Remarks .51Activities for the Reader .52Activities for use with Students.53Chapter 4: More Puzzles. 54Goals for Using Puzzles in Education.54Free Puzzles .56Jigsaw Puzzles .57Incremental Improvement .57Online Jigsaw Puzzles.59Complexity of a Puzzle or Other Problem .60Water-Measuring Puzzles .61Spatial Intelligence .62Tower of Hanoi.63Bridge Crossing Puzzle Problems .66Brain Teasers .67Miscellaneous Additional Examples of Puzzles.70Final Remarks .72Activities for the Reader .73Page 2

Introduction to Using Games in Education: A Guide for Teachers and ParentsActivities for use with Students.73Chapter 5: One-Player Games. 75Learning to Play a Game.75Solitaire (Patience) .76The Solitaire Game Eight Off .80Tetris.90Final Remarks .91Activities for the Reader .91Activities for use with Students.91Chapter 6: Two-Player Games . 93Tic-Tac-Toe .93Chess .98Checkers. 101Hangman . 102Othello (Reversi) . 104Dots and Boxes . 108Cribbage . 109Activities for the Reader . 110Activities for use with Students. 111Chapter 7: Games for Small & Large Groups. 112Monopoly . 112Hearts . 113Card Sense . 115Oh Heck: A Trick-Taking Card Game. 116Whist: A Trick-Taking Card Game. 117Bridge: A Trick-Taking Card Game . 118Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOG) . 119Star Trek’s Holodeck . 121Final Remarks: Moursund’s 7-Step Advice. 122Activities for the Reader . 123Activities for use with Students. 123Chapter 8: Lesson Planning and Implementation. 124Roles of a Teacher . 124Learning to Learn . 125Lesson Plan Ideas . 127More Specific Educational Goals . 129Page 3

Introduction to Using Games in Education: A Guide for Teachers and ParentsGoals of Education: Rigor on Trial . 131Rubrics . 132Activities for the Reader . 132Activities for use with Students. 132Chapter 9: Miscellaneous Other Topics. 133Women and Gaming. 133Student Creation of Games . 134Games and the Aging Brain . 135Artificial Intelligence . 136Dangers of Too Much Game Playing. 137Knowledge-Building Communities. 138Static and Virtual Math Manipulatives . 139Research on Games and Gaming. 140Activities for the Reader . 142Activities for use with Students. 143Appendix 1: Summary of Problem-solving Strategies . 144References . 150Index . 153Page 4

Introduction to Using Games in Education: A Guide for Teachers and ParentsAbout Dave Moursund, the AuthorDave MoursundTeacher Education, College of EducationUniversity of OregonEugene, Oregon 97403Email: moursund@uoregon.eduWeb: moursund/dave/index.htm Doctorate in mathematics (numerical analysis) from University of Wisconsin-Madison. Assistant Professor and then Associate Professor, Department of Mathematics andComputing Center (School of Engineering), Michigan State University. Associate Professor, Department of Mathematics and Computing Center, University ofOregon. Associate Professor and then Full Professor, Department of Computer Science, University ofOregon. Served six years as the first Head of the Computer Science Department at the University ofOregon. In 1974, started the publication that eventually became Learning and Leading withTechnology, the flagship publication of the International Society for Technology inEducation (ISTE). In 1979, founded the International Society for Technology in Education ). Headed thisorganization for 19 years. Full Professor in the College of Education at the UO for more than 22 years. Author or co-author of about 40 books and several hundred articles in the field of computersin education. Presented about 200 workshops on various topics in the field of computers in education. Served as a major professor for about 50 doctoral students (six in math, the rest in education).Served on the doctoral committees of about 25 other students. For more information about Dave Moursund and for free (online, no cost) access to 20 of hisbooks and a number of articles, go to moursund/dave/.Page 5

Introduction to Using Games in Education: A Guide for Teachers and ParentsPrefaceAll the world’s a game,And all the men and women merely players:They have their exits and their entrances;And each person in their time plays many parts, (Dave Moursund—Adapted from Shakespeare)The word game means different things to different people. In this book, I explore a variety ofboard games, card games, dice games, word games, and puzzles that many children and adultsplay. Many of these games come in both non-electronic and electronic formats. This book placesspecial emphasis on electronic games and the electronic versions of games that were originallydeveloped in non-electronic formats.There are many other types of games that are not explored in this book. For example, I do notexplore sports games, such as Baseball, Basketball, Football, and Soccer, or any of the sports inthe summer and winter Olympic Games.Since my early childhood, I have enjoyed playing a wide variety of games. Indeed, at times Ihave had a reasonable level of addiction to various games. In retrospect, it is clear that I learned agreat deal from the board games, card games, puzzles, and other types of games that I played as achild.In recent years, a number of educators and educational researchers have come to realize thatgames can be an important component of both informal and formal education. This has become alegitimate area of study and research.There are oodles of games that are now available in electronic format. While many of theseare distributed commercially, many others are available for free play on the Web, and some canbe downloaded at no cost. In this book, I am especially interested in games that are available atlittle or no cost and that have significant educational value.Some electronic games are merely computerized versions of games that existed long beforecomputers. Others only exist in a computer format. Computer networks have made possiblegames that allow many thousands of players to be participating simultaneously. Thecomputerized animation and interaction in these games bring a dimension to games.Learning Through Game PlayingThis book is written for people who are interested in helping children learn through gamesand learn about games. The intended audience includes teachers, parents and grandparents, andPage 6

Introduction to Using Games in Education: A Guide for Teachers and Parentsall others who want to learn more about how games can be effectively used in education. Specialemphasis is given to roles of games in a formal school setting.As you know, education has many goals, and there is a huge amount of research andpractitioner knowledge about teaching and learning. This book is well rooted in this research andpractitioner knowledge. Five of the important ideas that are stressed include: Learning to learn. Learning about one’s strengths and weaknesses as a learner. Becoming better at solving challenging problems and accomplishing challenging tasks.Learning some general strategies for problem solving is a unifying theme in this book. Transfer of learning from game-playing environments to other environments. Intrinsic motivation—students being engaged because they want to be engaged. This idea isillustrated by the following quote from Yasmin Kafai, a world leader in uses of games ineducation.If someone were to write the intellectual history of childhood—the ideas, the practices, and the activities thatengage the minds of children—it is evident that the chapter on the late 20th century in America would give aprominent place to the phenomenon of the video game. The number of hours spent in front of these screenscould surely reach the hundreds of billions. And what is remarkable about this time spent is much more thanjust quantity. Psychologists, sociologists, and parents are struck by a quality of engagement that standsin stark contrast to the half-bored watching of many television programs and the bored performanceexhibited with school homework. Like it or not, the phenomenon of video games is clearly a highlysignificant component of contemporary American children's culture and a highly significant indicator ofsomething (though we may not fully understand what this is) about its role in the energizing of behavior(Kafai, 2001). [Bold added for emphasis.]Computational ThinkingYour mind/brain learns by developing and storing patterns. As you work to solve a problemor accomplish a task, (as you think) you draw upon these stored patterns of data, information,knowledge, and wisdom.Beginning more than 5,000 years ago, reading and writing have become more and moreimportant as a mind/brain aid. In the past few decades, computers have contributed substantiallyto mind/brain processes by providing improved access to information, improved communication,and aids to automating certain types of human “thinking” processes.Notice how the thinking of mind/brain and the thinking (information processing) ofcomputers are melded together in the following brief discussion of computational thinking.Computational thinking builds on the power and limits of computing processes, whether they are executed bya human or by a machine. Computational methods and models give us the courage to solve problems anddesign systems that no one of us would be capable of tackling alone. Computational thinking confronts theriddle of machine intelligence: What can humans do better than computers, and What can computers do betterthan humans? Most fundamentally it addresses the question: What is computable? Today, we know only partsof the answer to such questions.Computational thinking is a fundamental skill for everybody, not just for computer scientists. To reading,writing, and arithmetic, we should add computational thinking to every child’s analytical ability. (Wing,2006)Page 7

Introduction to Using Games in Education: A Guide for Teachers and ParentsGames provide an excellent environment to explore ideas of computational thinking. The factthat many games are available both in a non-computerized form and in a computerized formhelps to create this excellent learning environment. A modern education prepares students to beproductive and responsible adult citizens in a world in which mind/brain and computer workingtogether is a common approach to solving problems and accomplishing tasks.PuzzlesA puzzle is a type of game. To better under the purpose of this book, think about somepopular puzzles such as crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, and logic puzzles (often called brainteasers). In every case, the puzzle-solver’s goal is to solve a particular mentally challengingproblem or accomplish a particular mentally challenging task.Many people are hooked on certain types of puzzles. For example, some people routinelystart the day by spending time on the crossword puzzle in their morning newspaper. In somesense, they have a type of addiction to crossword puzzles. The fun is in meeting the challenge ofthe puzzle—making some or a lot of progress in completing the puzzle.Crossword puzzles draw upon one’s general knowledge, recall of words defined or suggestedby short definitions or pieces of information, and spelling ability. Through study and practice, aperson learns some useful strategies and can make considerable gains in crossword puzzlesolving expertise. Doing a crossword puzzle is like doing a certain type of brain exercise. Inrecent years, research has provided evidence that such brain exercises help stave of the dementiaand Alzheimer’s disease that are so common in old people.From an educational point of view, it is clear that solving crossword puzzles helps tomaintain and improve one’s vocabulary, spelling skills, and knowledge of many miscellaneoustidbits of information. Solving crossword puzzles tends to contribute to one’s self esteem. Formany people, their expertise in solving crossword puzzles plays a role in their social interactionwith other people.Brief Overview of ContentsEach chapter ends with a set of activities for the reader of the book, and a set of activities thatmight be useful with students of varying backgrounds and interests.Chapter 1 illustrates the idea of thinking outside the box. This idea is important is solvingpuzzle problems, but it is also essential in solving many real-world problems.Chapter 2 provides some general educational background n

The word game means different things to different people. In this book, I explore a variety of board games, card games, dice games, word games, and puzzles that many children and adults play. Many of these games come in both non-electronic and electronic formats. This book places

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