Three years ago I was listening to the BBC Radio 4 Education Debates. The discussion focused on what we should teach our children in school. It included a clip from an enthusiastic boy who talked about the values he had been learning: respect, honesty and determination. A member of the expert panel was dismissive, claiming a school curriculum should be about skills and knowledge, not “wishy-washy” values. Yet this was 2012: the year that banks were in the news regularly for dishonest dealings. A few days later the London 2012 Olympic Games opened, followed by the Paralympic Games, and the nation was inspired by witnessing the Olympic Values of excellence, respect and friendship and the Paralympic Values of determination, inspiration, courage and equality. What did those contrasting stories tell us about the need for values in education and life?
How can teachers use games to teach complex issues? New Jersey social studies teacher Matthew Farber discusses how the latest games can be used to help students learn about the principles of ethics.
Game designers use cause and effect loops to reward players when they advance in a game. Conversely, penalties exist if a task is a mission is failed. For example, when Batman defeats thugs in an Arkham game, the player -- who takes agency over the character -- may earn a digital badge or a power up. The “fail state” is a setback penalty to the most recent save point. Designers use causal loops with the intention of affecting player behavior; intrinsic satisfaction is typically rewarded right away. Of course, decisions in real life are much harder to define.