I've been working on a really exciting project over the past year and a half, New Century Energy. New Science Energy is an interactive computergame developed by Tietronix, Inc. for the Houston Independent School District. NCE is an immersive micromanagement computer game which provides a transformative learning experience to 8-10th grade students. NCE combines aspects of strategy games and construction and management games, requiring players to build energy companies that must meet the needs of cities throughout the US over the next 50 years. Teams of players are formed as cooperative learning groups which compete across three levels of difficulty. Variations in difficulty are incorporated into lessons that students must master in order to open options within the game. Players must answer questions from each lesson, with missed questions affecting the efficiency of plants built. Lessons and questions are designed to lead players to game play decisions that require understanding of physics, chemistry, earth science, and math concepts. A meta-site is available outside of game play for students to supplement their learning for subsequent game play, but the lessons within the game are carefully crafted to encourage learning through inquiry. The complexity of the game pushes students to seek out content knowledge in order to advance, making the experience constructivist project-based learning. This elevates NCE above previous educational games which are engaging for students but often offer little more educational value than a worksheet or similar assignment.
I think NCE is the way to do GBL for authentic learning outcomes. What do you think?
What do you think about GBL in general?
Is it ready to become another form of PBL with similar cognitive outcomes?
Are you still skeptical?
Tell me why, or tell me why you're excited about GBL.
I'd like to know what you think as I continue working on NCE and similar projects.