Monday, May 18, 2015

Oregon Trail and the true value of immersive gaming in the classroom - Suzi Wilczynski, eSchool News

What is it about Oregon Trail that had such a profound impact on us that we clearly remember the experience years later? Part of the answer lies in the way in which social studies is often taught. Despite the best efforts of teachers, history classes cover so much material that often the only choice is to focus on major events, dates, and important people. Not surprisingly, many kids find that sort of rote memorization boring and never truly engage with the material. That affects both comprehension and retention. Long after the test, students might remember the date of the Battle of Hastings, but the context and significance is often lost. Oregon Trail stemmed from the realization that kids learn more when they are learning about real people doing real things. Deeper learning happens when teachers show life and culture. If history is taught in this way, students can learn to analyze, categorize, process and communicate, and evaluate the motivation behind an action.

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