Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Video games, Mesopotamian style!

 In his article "Learning Theory, Video Games, and Popular Culture," James Gee states "human understanding is not primarily a matter of storing general concepts in the head or applying abstract rules to experience. Rather, humans think and understand best when they can imagine (simulate) an experience in such a way that the simulation prepares them for actions they need and want to take in order to accomplish their goals." If this is indeed the truth, then an activity that could be transformed for 21st century brains (particularly 1st graders that I teach) would be a video-game simulation in which my students would be taken through Mesopotamia and would have to explore various aspect of this place and time (eg. cuneiform writing, Hammurabi's Code, Tigris & Euphrates river, vocabulary words like canal, fertile, etc.). This is a current objective for my first graders under Common Core, and we have been reading out of the text books that were provided and most of the information is delivered to my kiddos via "lecture" type discussion. Since I have young students, I believe they would understand the curriculum more if they experienced it through an interactive video game where they were citizens of Mesopotamia.

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