Video Game Teaches Research Skills to Undergraduates

By Amanda Ochsner from GLS blog January 16, 2011

Many undergraduates come to college having used little more than Google searches and Wikipedia when it comes to research methods. The complicated databases and myriad of academic journals in university libraries are often intimidating and difficult to navigate. A team of researchers in the School of Information at the University of Michigan set out to provide a solution that is both accessible and useful to universities across the country. Their answer to the issue? A video game. It’s called Bibliobouts, and it consists of four different sections covering collecting sources, selecting the best sources, rating and tagging opponents’ sources, and compiling a final bibliography of best sources from everyone’s pool of resources.

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Civilized Teaching

Teaching with a video game: the case for Civilization

From Brian Alexandar

How can we teach with computer games?  One example can help answer this: the track record of instructors using Civilization in class.

Civilization is one of the most famous games of our time.  First published in 1991, this historical and social simulation puts players in charge of a nation.  “Civ” play starts from ancient times, then advances through time to our present day and a little further into the future.  The most recent installment, Civ V, was recently launched, as Ruben noted last week.

The game is primarily for the PC platform.  There is also a freeware version of the early game, FreeCiv.  Given its emphasis on historical and social content, it should come as no surprise that teachers have been using Civ in classes.

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From: National Institute for Liberal Education (blog)
by Brian Alexandar October 2010

Hearts of Iron II Becomes Teaching Tool

Hearts of Iron II is still fun, but now is educational, as it’s being used to teach college students about WW2.

From “The Escapist” by Mike Thompson 

Hearts of Iron II is one of those strategy games that, if you can get past its steep learning curve, is supposed to be a great deal of fun with a ton of replay value. While the game is certainly well-regarded for its depth and realism, no one’s considered the game to be an educational tool until now; a Political Science course at University of California, Los Angeles is using the game to help teach students about what led up to World War II.

The game is being facilitated by a student named Einar Engvig, who realized the game could be, “used in order to equip students with a better grasp of the Theory of Tripolarity and the general geopolitics of the world in the build up to WWII.”

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