Tuesday, June 13

Computer Game Design as Horizontal, not Vertical, Activity

Universities are teaching courses on computer game design at both the undergrad and graduate levels.

Increasingly, courses are also focused on not just entertainment games but educational games as well. Deakin University in Melbourne Australia runs a unit on "Playful Learning Environments.” Columbia University’s Teachers College has a course in games and education. The Minneapolis College of Art and Design has an Edutainment program. Danube University in Krems, Austria, where Post-graduate teacher education is their core business, has a Game Studies Course in their Master Programs in Educational Technology and Educational Leadership, as well as various seminar type courses outside of their Master Programs.

These are all major breakthroughs, of course. But the next breakthrough will be when “simulation and game design” is not taught as a vertical skill, like Russian History, Clinical Psychology, or Biblical Archeology, but a horizontal skill, like researching or writing, even public speaking.

The tools and philosophies of simulation design allow better and sharper knowledge capture and sharing than the scarily blunt instruments of the writing, taking pictures, and even making films (although they all have their place, primarily to set up learning and to reinforce it afterwards).

8 comments:

Mark said...

Clark in one sense I agree with you but we might as well start with the programs that are teaching instructional design. One reason I left my doctoral program in history was because its methodology of forcing a student to engage with a subject through an increasingly narrow focus was at complete odds with my education in athropology which taught me the value of context.

Let us wish for the day that instructional designers understand not only ADDIE, but psychology, neuroscience, biology, economics, and human cognition. Perhaps academic programs should function more like medical residency programs in which you are required to work in other areas outside your chosen specialty.

I'd also suggest that for a horizontal skill, something more like "game-based learning" might be a better nomenclature than sim and game design - since design implies a something (that which you will be designing) vice an understanding or a broad skill set like your own examples of researching and writing. I still think we do a disservice to this fledgling field by allowing a too soon focus on technology and we fail to lay sufficient groundwork on the inherent power of games to teach whether through a powerful PC-based sim, a simple checkerboard or our own imaginations.

Clark Aldrich said...

Hi Mark,

I could not agree with you more. I thank you for correcting my sloppy writing. I absolutely agree that the horizontal skill is not "sim and game design" but "sim and game thinking."

B2b said...
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Flights said...
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Birzu said...

I don't really get it. I do game programming using OpenGL and the only vertical and horizontal "activity" is in the language.We don't share the same opinion do we ..

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