Serious Play 2012: Andrew Miller Advocates Smart Integration

Posted by in Blog on Aug 30, 2012

Bloom’s Taxonomy


By Chris Jaech

I’ve written before about games in classrooms and the need to use them appropriately. At the Serious Play 2012 Conference, Andrew Miller of Edutopia talked about the same issue.  He referred to Bloom’s Taxonomy, a system for categorizing types of learning, and said that games are better at teaching the skills near the top of the pyramid—analyzing, evaluating, and creating—than they are at remembering, understanding, and applying. That being said, games can be just about as good at feeding knowledge to students as lectures or as good for practicing applications of that knowledge as tests.  It’s just that games are much better than most other educational tools at teaching those abstract concepts near the top of the pyramid.

But whatever role educational games are going to have in the classroom, Miller said, programs using games educationally have to be developed with the curriculum in mind.  The teacher has to have a clear idea of what the game’s role in the classroom is.

Miller gave a bunch of examples of good teachers pairing games, serious or not, with instruction. For example, Skyrim has been used to study narrative and culture.  Lucas Gillispie, in the Wowinschool program, paired World of Warcraft with The Hobbit to teach language arts, as well as media literacy.  And Minecraft has been used to teach about rebuilding historical buildings and for teaching math.

What seems to set good games-based education apart is the careful integration of curriculum with lessons that involve games.  And that takes teachers that understand both gaming and education.


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