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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

VSS2007 - Deepening Learner Understanding via Games and Simulations in Online Courses

This session I actually got to spend some time with a topic that hits upon both of my research interests: virtual schools and gaming. The session was “Deepening Learner Understanding via Games and Simulations in Online Courses” and was delivered by David Gale and Missy Hilton.

While there was nothing in here research or theory-wise that I hadn’t heard or read before, it was very interesting to see an example of virtual school people doing this as a part of their course design. This group, e4TN, in Tennessee is beginning to work with their new state-wide virtual school that has been developing down there.

They described their online games and simulations as computer-based learning activities (CBLAs) and divided them into passive and interactive. The passive CBLAs are those where the students simply view, click, read, but there is no input from the student. The interactive CBLAs are those where the students can input or manipulate the variables. These CBLAs were further divided into prescribed and exploratory. The prescribed ones are ones where there is a prearranged course of actions regardless of student input, while the exploratory ones have a variety of pathways that take the students in different directions based upon student input.

Overall, it was a refreshing presentation for me because of my dual interests. Information about the presenters' session, including their PowerPoint slides, is available at https://www.e4tn.org/cms/index.php?page=vss-presentation2.

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