I am enjoying this Games and Learning class I am taking. Hard to believe that the semester is almost over. It is also hard to believe how much a person can learn in a few short months. I have immersed myself in the subject by focusing on video games and learning as a topic of research for the Research in Information and Learning Technologies class I am taking as well. I am making good use of the material, trying to better articulate what I think I understand about the topic.

Becoming more engaged with social media like Twitter has proved helpful. I track hashtag feeds using Hootsuite. This is a good way to filter through the noise and learn of companies and people involved in games and education, instructional design, etc. I am also trying to hash out how to incorporate what I have been learning into content for my YouTube channel and my website. It is an opportunity to explore the topic from different angles outside of the class context.

I haven’t had much time to play anything over the last few weeks, though the couple of times that I was able to, I was playing the game through a different lens. I have grown more critical of games and their design over the years. Now I have this new layer of scrutiny that is coloring my thoughts.

I was playing Deus Ex: Mankind Divided the other day. The game is designed such that the player has multiple paths, abilities, and equipment to choose from to accomplish any given goal. I found myself thinking how this open design encourages experimentation and how this freedom aids creative problem solving skills. Do I pick up a dumpster and throw it at a group of enemies, toss a gas grenade, pick them off with tranquilizer darts, just sneak past them, or go in guns blazing? Also, the multiple physical paths you can take (go through a ventilation shaft, or sneak in a window, etc.) creates an environment for dynamic decision making. The same area of the game can play out in any number of ways depending on the approach made by the player—all of which are equally valid.

Assimilating all the learning theory and research about the learning properties of video games, how a game’s design facilitates learning, obstacles of implementation and assessment of using games in a classroom environment…It is challenging to process all these ideas and theories and how they all function in the wider educational context. My brain hurts.

Now I am done typing. It is time to play.

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