The Idaho State University College of Education is offering new courses informing would-be educators of the benefits of using digital games in a classroom setting.
EDUC 311, "Integration of Technology," is a core class in ISU's teacher education program focusing on how gaming technology can bridge the gap between learning and play.
ISU College of Education students will explore how console and online games can teach problem solving, cooperation, and math skills to young players. The course additionally covers the role serious games and training applications play in modern education.
"It is our goal to motivate and educate this generation of 21st century teachers to lead with technology," said ISU instructional technology researcher Beverly Ray. "One way we do that is by assuring that our students are aware of the evolving role of technology in supporting 21st century learning."
An additional ISU educator course, "Methods of Secondary Physical Education," spotlights serious games and exercise tools.
"The opportunities for integrating games like Wii Fit
in our disciplines are endless. Our faculty use it to provide practical teaching moments in areas ranging from injury rehabilitation to sport psychology to teaching," said Caroline Faure, assistant professor in ISU's Department of Sport Science and Physical Education.
Faure continues: "With the emphasis on core curriculum, physical education in Idaho's schools is becoming more and more scarce. If we're going to justify keeping P.E., we need to change the way we're teaching it. We can't cater to traditional sports. We've got to step up to the modern era.
"This is what kids are doing these days – they're playing interactive video games. We want our future teachers to be able to harness students' interest in gaming and spark the students' curiosity about how they can use it to benefit their own physical self."