Before I left for GenCon, I asked the community here if they had any questions. I received two. Here is what I learned.
Question One: LMS (asked by julesfischy)
TEXT: I want to know what tools teachers are using to support them and gaming in the classroom. Are digital components compatible with their learning management system (LMS) or are they using a system or tool separate from their LMS?
No one I spoke with had a system of explicit integration. The answers typically fell into one of two camps. In the first camp were the people who talked about how they used tools from their LMS to support gaming. In the far larger second camp were the people who discussed how used games to gather information about their students.
“If you can’t assess the game when you’re done, you shouldn’t play it.” ~Sean Malloy
Ideally, the mechanics of a game will be the skills a teacher wants their students to learn (e.g., a virtual stock market game in a finance class). The next tier down are the games with arbitrary mechanics that require analysis to answer questions. Both of these game types will capture more information than teachers need. Teachers should avoid all games that use an arbitrary mechanic just to answer questions (e.g., jeopardy).
To really leverage games, teachers need also to set learning goals that align the games with their overall classroom goals and standards. Teachers may treat games like projects and grade each stage. Or, teachers may photograph and screenshot student work and write short narratives that document each student’s growth and learning.
Teachers can then log the grades and narratives in their LMS.
Question Two: Science Games (asked by glen_w)
TEXT: This summer, I purchased Eco Fluxx. This interesting card game includes many of the ecological relationships found on Earth. The game changes each time it is played. I’d be interested in similar games that have accurate science and are fun to play.
For this question, the presenters I spoke with provided me with links, game titles, and other resources to share with you. I hope this list is helpful!
ECOnauts (environmental science, online)
Swarm! The Honey Bee Game (bees, board)
Portal and Portal 2 (physics, online/console)
Splendor (probability functions, resource management, board)
EdGamer Science Games (misc, online)
BrainPop! (misc, online)
Project Neuron (misc, online and board)
Explore Learning (simulations, online)
PhET Simulations (simulations, online)
While at GenCon, I also collected ideas from others for board and card games that could work in a classroom. I mentioned Pandemic and Timeline in the original thread, but have listed them here as well to be complete.
Pandemic (cooperative board game in which players work together to stop a pandemic)
Pandemic Contagion (competitive card game in which players play as a disease trying to wipe out humanity)
Timeline (sorting card game; for science check out their animal facts and discoveries sets)
Evolution (board game that models evolution and competition among species for limited food resources)
Robot Turtles (board game that teaches basic coding; ages 4 and up)
Compounded (board game that involves building chemical compounds)