The sixth annual Center for Instructional Technology (CIT) was held April 27 at Duke University’s Bryan Center, where a gathering of more than 260 faculty, staff and students met to discuss topics involving the use of technology and serious games to enhance learning, and better engage students in today's classrooms.
The session entitled “Serious Games: Digital Game-Based Learning in Higher Education” focused on creating games about learning that are as compelling as today's contemporary entertainment games.
“If we can immerse students in an interactive story or narrative, they’re motivated to work through problems and will retain material more effectively than if they’re passively taking notes in class,” said Jeffrey Sarbaum from UNC-Greensboro, one of three panelists at the session.
Sarbaun uses one such game as part of his Econ 201 class, in which students play aliens who crash land on a world and must learn to apply economic concepts such as “utility maximization” in order to survive. In one example presented, a student was forced to manage resources effectively while he climbed a mountain in order to establish communication and make it to the next day. Failure meant the student's character was chased by a wolf through a 3D maze.
Other sessions discussed at the event included one by Duke’s Richard Lucic called Game2Know, which is a fall 2006 program centered around the idea of hands-on laboratory investigations involving gaming, modeling and simulation. Another by Duke’s professor of anesthesiology Jeffrey Taekman involved his work with the U.S. Army to create a simulation for healthcare workers that teaches teamwork and communication skills.
In total, 12 different sessions were featured that showcased different ways in which technology can and is being used to help educate students, many of which involved technologies developed through the Duke Digital Initiative (DDI)
. More information is available by reading Duke University's complete overview of the event