Category Archives: Reading/Writing Games

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Simulating Utopia: Critical Simulation and the Teaching of Utopia

Simulating Utopia: Critical Simulation and the Teaching of Utopia, a new article by CUNY Games Network co-founder Francesco Crocco, was just released in the Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy, an open-source, online journal. The article theorizes a new approach to simulation-based pedagogies that emphasizes critical thinking and interactive design. It models this approach for teaching a utopian literature course. Please read and share!

Encyclopedia of Mechanics

Let me begin by saying thank you to all the presenters, participants, and attendees of the inaugural CUNY Games Festival! We’re pretty darn pleased with how it turned out and hope to see you at the next one.

I received a few questions from educators during the conference about game mechanics–specifically, how to learn more about them. It’s true that having a wide breadth of knowledge about mechanics can only serve to improve your ability to make games, and although it might be best to learn about mechanics by playing more games, I have definitely found Board Game Geek’s Encyclopedia of mechanics to be helpful. And so I share it with you!

http://boardgamegeek.com/browse/boardgamemechanic

Kinect Math and English Games

These Kinect video games were submitted by David Renton of Reid Kerr College in the UK. Games are available at http://games4learning.co.uk/

Subject Area and Learning Outcomes
Math and English. Games use multi-sensory active methodology to consolidate learning in the areas of Math and English.

Summary
Kinect Games include 4 separate games, all are one or two player. They make use of the Kinect sensor to capture motion from the players. Kinect Angles reviews Angles, Compass Bearings, Percentages and fractions by measuring the angle between the players elbow and wrist and drawing this on the screen. The game will prompt them for a certain angle or fraction and the closer they get to it the more points they get. Kinect Time is the same principal for telling time. Math Mage and Word Mage use fruit ninja style gameplay with the players waving their arms to cut through the correct answers. Math Mage reviews numbers such as odd, even, prime and multiples of 3 to 12. Word Mage reviews Nouns, Verbs, Adverbs and Adjectives.

Setup
Full installer can be found on http://games4learning.co.uk/. Games run on Windows 7/8 PC connected to a Kinect for Windows or XBOX360 Kinect device.

Pre-game it would be good to go over the learning objectives that will be consolidated through the gameplay.

Rules of Play
Player with highest score wins. Games have a time limit. Players achieve points for getting closest to the answer or by swiping through the most correct answers.

Sample Turn
Kinect Angles: Game will for example display 85 degrees on the screen. Both players move their arms and they see themselves on the screen drawing an angle. Once they think they have it correct they hold up their other arm. The game shows them how close they came and assigns points based on performance.

How this game works in class
The games can be played in pairs, while the class watches. Usually the whole class becomes involved and they encourage the players.

Post-Game Discussion/Assessment
Discussion afterwards of performance and the areas students struggled with.