Bill MacKenty

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Using Civilization in class

Posted in Games in education Practical Advice on 07 - July 2007 at 08:47 PM (16 years ago). 271 views.

Got a great email question about using civilization in the classroom:

  Could you give me any details you have on how I could devise a programme
  that allows students to do this, or could you put me in contact with a
  school that has done this? I am sure there is much more to it than
  explaining the game and then letting them play for a few lessons, so please
  help me make it as worthwhile and brilliant as possible.

The key point is objective clarity: what do you want your students to know?  That Civilization is a brilliant learning tool goes without saying it’s fantastic, and your students will be highly motivated and engaged.

1. I want to enrich student understanding of history by _______________ . (describe the activity)
2. When students are done with this educational activity they will understand _____________ . (be very specific - what will they know?)
3. I will prove they know more about ____________ by ______________ . (assessment)
4. Before they start playing, I will ask them the following Key Questions:

5. After they are done playing (about 10 minutes before class is over) I’ll ask them to answer the questions again.

Here’s some specific suggestions about actually using Civilization:

1. Make sure everything works - the game is installed, no technical hiccups. Make sure the kids can save

2. Tell the kids when they first play “when you first start playing, you are going to be very confused. You will only be confused for about 30 to 45 minutes, and then you will understand how this works, so please be patient”.

3. Attach a computer to a LCD projector and play the game while the kids watch. Make sure to vocalize EVERYTHING you are doing ie: “Now I’m going to start building a granary…I’m going to click on the civopedia link to see what benefits I get from a granary.”

4. If you think your kids can handle friendly competition, set up a civilization score chart

5. Don’t interrupt game play - let them get into “flow”. Give them 10 minute warning and then 5 minute warning prior to the activity ending

6. Allow for open reactions and responses - this is why you got into teaching, yes? To help students make connections about themselves and the world around them.

If I may direct your attention to some relevant blog posts:

I wish you the best of luck, and please don’t hesitate to ask more questions!!