Friday, May 21, 2010

How Games Affect Our Lives: From Job Training and Education to Stories and Politics

From using game-based learning (GBL) for job training, to how Nazis used game boards as part of their propaganda campaign, here are this week’s top links!

What stands out for me in these articles is the tremendous influence games have on our lives. Not only can we learn specific skills from games, but they also affect our perception of the world and ourselves.

Enjoy some Friday reading, and we look forward to hearing your comments!

And don’t forget! 

Path of the Elders will soon be announcing the details of its upcoming contest! 

Make sure you’re ready to compete – visit to practice your trapping, hunting, and canoeing skills!

1)    OK, game-based learning is fine for kids, but is it really useful for adults? 

This is the question Helen Routledge, GBL Instructional Design Manager at Pixelearning, answers in her interview posted on G-Cube Solutions’ blog, “Game-Based Learning – Fad or Future?” Routledge talks about some of the ways game-based learning is being used in the corporate world.

From the type of learner best suited to game-based learning to the challenges game designers face, this is a quick introduction for anyone interested in the use of game-based learning outside of the classroom.

2)    As the world watches the environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, students get a timely opportunity to experience first-hand what’s involved in heading a major clean-up operation.

This week, the Educational Technology blog gives us a link to an article from the New York Times that looks at how schools are using the online game “Spill”. In the article “Avatars go to School, Letting Students Get a Feel for the Work World,” students talk about their experiences playing a role-playing game (RPG) that lets them help the mayor of New York clean up the city.

If you’re interested in how schools are using game-based learning, this article is a must!

3)    How does repetition affect a game’s story?

In “The Incoherence of Reincarnation: Story vs Telling in Videogames,” Peter Mawhorter provides a thoughtful and articulate article about the use of repetition in games. If a hero can repeatedly die and then come back life is the story no longer believable? Does the fact that characters often have repetitive conversations in game ruin the effect?

If you’re in the mood for some Friday afternoon reflection, you’ll find this short article thought-provoking.

4)    Think games don’t influence people? 

In “The Political Power of Games,” Jorge Albor blogs about his visit to the Jewish Museum in Berlin.

What’s fascinating (and disturbing) is his discovery of a series of board games made in Germany during the Nazi regime.

If you’ve ever doubted the influential power of games, this post will convince you otherwise.

Do you have a link you’d like to share? Let us know!

Collette Jackson, Content and Marketing Specialist at BlackCherry Digital Media, is writing on behalf of On the Path of the Elders, a free online educational resource that explores Cree and Ojibway history and culture, and the signing of Treaty No. 9.

Check out On the Path of the Elders at

For more information, email us at

Created in partnership with BlackCherry Digital Media, Archives Desch√Ętelets, the Doug Ellis Collection at Carleton University, Our Incredible World (Pinegrove Productions), the Mushkegowuk Council, Neh Naak Ko, the Archives of St. Paul University, Carleton University, and Wendy Campbell, Educational Consultant (Learning Methods Group).

This project was made possible with the support of the Department of Canadian Heritage through the Canadian Culture Online Strategy. Created with additional financial assistance from Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and the Inukshuk Fund.

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