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Posts Tagged ‘strategy games’

After using Civilization in 1991 for a semester, my next use of educational computer games occurred in the mid 90’s when a few “thinking games” were added to a critical and creative thinking course. The development of the this new course “The Mind at Work, The Mind at Play” was inspired by the difficulty students displayed with a variety of thinking skills as they attempted to play the game Civilization.

Students were required to complete the assignments for one of the games (they could do more for additional credit) and they had their choice of a few games. The course was held in the college’s Center for Self-Paced Studies so I was able to work individually with students.

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(Follow-up to the Sept. 1 post)

Using the computer game Civilization in the classroom back in the early ‘90’s was a bit of an adventure, but we learned a lot from the experience and there were several surprises. I used the game in a social psychology course and my history colleague used it in a world history class. We were also teaching computing skills since not all students were computer literate at the time.

Surprise #1: Not all students loved the game as much as the teacher did.

This shouldn’t have been a surprise, but I was so enthusiastic about the activity, I forgot the fundamental principle that students will not always respond identically to any learning activity, particularly one the teacher loves.

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I had been using a computer for just a few years back in 1991. Like many teachers, my early educational use was primarily for basic tasks such as creating my syllabi and tests and computing grades. The Internet Age had not yet dawned. I found myself wondering if the computer might also be used as a teaching/learning tool.

I happened across a review of a game called “Sid Meier’s Civilization that claimed the program had educational value, so I decided to give it a try despite never having previously played a computer or video game. (more…)

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