Video Game Blog Post 1

This was a very intriguing experience for me because I have never used any form of gaming as a part of my education before. Although I am not very familiar or interested in video games, I enjoyed playing the three games we were assigned for class as well as the game that I found myself.

The game that I selected is called Microscopya. It was available on a regular browser, google play, the apple store, etc. I chose to download the app on my phone and also play it on my computer to see if I could find many differences. It was definitely different to play because with one I was using my curser and with the other pressing buttons on my phone. Aside from that, I did not notice anything major. This game was entertaining because I got to set up my own character and customize it to whatever I wanted. It puts your character right in the center of a cell and you get to explore it for yourself. There are different tasks to get you to the end. For example, the first task was to find the entrance to the mitochondria. Even if I did not know exactly what it looked like, my interactive character could walk around until I was able to find it. You can move some things around as well and the app explains where you are at and what you are doing. It gave me a better grasp about the parts of a cell as a whole without feeling too frustrated or feeling that it was too easy. I had fun and I felt that I learned something new.

In our reading Mind Shift: Guide to Digital Games and Learning, the authors discuss
“The most convincing neurological research shows that video games contribute to neural plasticity because games provide ‘a multitude of complex motor and cognitive demands’” (Shapiro 8). I found this outstanding because video games are typically not associated with intellect or brain development. Infact, before reading this article I had associated it with the opposite. This opens a world of possibilities in the classroom. Many students are interested in gaming so this may appeal to them. This is certainly something that I will consider in my future teaching career.

All in all I enjoyed playing this game. I think this would be a perfect game to include in a middle school science classroom. However, as a future English teacher I would be curious to look more into games that relate to the books that I will be reading. One idea that comes to mind is buzzfeed quizzes. It may be fun for my students to take the “what character are you?” quiz. There are some interactive games for some of the bigger texts like Harry Potter, but I am not sure what materials I could find for some lesser known texts or the classics that I will likely be teaching.

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4 thoughts on “Video Game Blog Post 1

  1. Hi, Anna! I love that you tried out your app on both your phone and laptop! I feel that doing so is extremely useful since you do not know what type of devices your future school will supply your students with. As soon as you started describing the way the game put your character in the center of the cell and let you explore it yourself, my mind jumped straight to Gee’s principle of meaning as action. He states, “Humans do not usually think through general definitions and logical principles,” and this is especially true in the world of science. It is nearly impossible to understand a cell by definition alone, but by being able to virtually walk around one, the words and concepts students would have otherwise had to memorize in class suddenly are given deeper meanings when they are tied to perception and action in the world, even if that world is a virtual one. Out of curiosity, which did you like playing on better—your phone or your laptop? Do you think students would likewise like playing on that device better?

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  2. Hi Anna!
    This sounds like such a fun game to learn more about cells and their parts and functions! My favorite games are always the ones where you take on the role of a character because it makes it much more engaging and interactive, and your game seems to be no exception. By customizing a character in this game, it seems to help students make it more personal to them. Furthermore, by the character actually walking around in a cell, it helps students get a close up look of it and actually envision it, rather than just reading about it. Visuals are very important in helping students make connections to what they are learning. Having small tasks to get to the end will give the players a reason and goal for getting through the cell. It’s great that you felt that this game fit the balance of being easy to navigate and figure out, yet challenging enough to learn something new. It can be hard to find that balance in some games and it’s very important because if the game is too difficult, then students will get frustrated and give up. However, being too easy doesn’t challenge them enough to where they are learning something new. Overall, this sounds like a great game for students to enhance their science skills- thanks for sharing!

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  3. Hi Anna! I can agree with you that I have never really been familiar with video games either, so it was challenging but interesting to find a game to play! I personally have never heard of anyone playing a science related video game before, until now. I think that it is really cool that you found a video game that is science related and interactive at the same time. I remember when I took science as a student, I struggled to learn all of the parts of a cell. If my teacher would have shown us this game to play, I think that I would have caught on quicker and maybe even have done better in the class! You said how it puts your character right in the middle of the cell and you are able to control where your character moves to in the cell. I think this is a smart idea because each student moves at their own pace. For me, I would probably have my character take their time inside the cell, so I could really take it all in and make sure I have the parts down. However, to a student who this concept comes very easy to, they are able to move at a quicker pace when exploring the cell. I feel like this is a really good feature of the game because it doesn’t leave students feeling pressured. I like how it asks you tasks and gives you hints to help you reach the end of the game. It is nice that the game gives you some insight and explains things to you as well. I feel like a lot of games aren’t really clear on what the main idea is, and therefore the character does not know what the purpose of the game is in terms of education. However, this game seems like it does a great job of explaining!

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  4. Hey Anna! I think the video game you chose was so interesting! I am so excited to see a science-based video game, especially one for middle schoolers! I had been searching for one myself and could not find any I really loved. After reading your description of Microsopya, I could totally see it being implemented in a classroom setting. As you described, many people believe that video games are detrimental to young children’s minds. However, Shapiro contradicts this by saying that video games that truly incorporate critical thinking skills and require advanced cognitive abilities are beneficial to brain development. Since your video game demands a lot from the player– for example, students have to know different parts of cells, know how to operate the character, and pick up on visual cues– the student is certainly using complex cognitive skills. I think that this also contributes to the engagement portion of the video game consideration. When a student has to think critically and is faced with an approachable challenge, they feel more motivated to successfully complete the task at hand. As for your last note about finding more applicable games for your English class, I think sites like BuzzFeed quizzes like you mentioned would be super fun. I can remember getting lost in those types of sites as a middle schooler so I think that would be really interesting to look into. Overall, I think that your choice of game was really great and fun to look into– I found it really difficult to find an educational science game that was interactive and I haven’t heard of anyone using this site yet either, so props to you! You did a great job!

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