Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Games, a Powerful Classroom Tool

Imagine sitting in a classroom and learning how to fix a car without having a car physically in the room. Or imagine being taught how to ride a bike without actually being on a bike. It would probably be very difficult to learn. This is actually how students at the Rochester Institute of Technology have been learning Art Preservation and Conversation. However, all that is soon to change.

Elizabeth Goins, assistant professor of fine arts at RIT, won a $25,000 federal grant to develop an interactive video game that will be used in the classroom. The game will be a downloadable mod for the popular fantasy role-playing game (rpg), ‘Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.’

"One of the big problems with training in art conservation is that students can't practice on real objects. Role-playing games allow players to step inside a virtual world where they can handle materials and make mistakes without harming anyone or anything,” says Goins.

Many people in both education and business are realizing the potential of simulation games in training students and the workforce. For example, in Deloitte’s Virtual Team Challenge simulation, high school students learn real world business concepts without the need to leave the classroom and work in a business office. Simulation games can be utilized where it would be otherwise difficult to obtain hands-on experience with what is being taught.

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