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Can Baldur's Gate be used to teach English and Math skills?



  • Maple53Maple53 Member Posts: 5
    meagloth said:

    @OlvynChuru: Probably a good idea. Alcohol is one of the most addictive and toxic substances known to humankind.

    Hyperbole much?

    I would not place BG above any other book as a teaching object. Yes, you can learn new words, new things about math maybe, other literature reated ideas, but from a teaching perspective I can only see it as a book. A book that takes a really long time to read.
    Obviously we use books in education. So BG, on a theoretical level, could be used in education(good luck trying to get whatever committee that makes curriculum accept it as an American Classic though) but I don't think you would be able to do anything else with it. Anyone old enough to play BG isn't learning anything new about math from THOC0, even if it does still make their head hurt.
    I see the appeal of iPad games to teach elementary school children math or vocab or whatever, but that's cause your teaching relatively simple concepts to kids that are easily captivated by a screen. The "gamification of learning" is a buzzword that's been thrown around a lot lately, but as kids get older this is harder to do. You tell a Kindergartener he got 5 points for solving 2+2 and show him a shiney graphic with cartoon confetti he'll get pretty excited and readily solve 3+3, but middle schoolers are quick enough to relize that 5 points doesn't actually mean anything and their far less likely to continue paying attention.
    As kids get older the "gamification" get more complex, and that leaves less room for educational content, so there comes a point where it just isn't effective anymore.

    Every new generation of technology someone comes out with a new educational product that will "revolotionize the classroom" and every generation of technology the classroom remains unrevolutionized. Some kids still misbehave, some kids still don't pay a attention, and some kids are still dumb. The school system is perpetually "broken" and the next shiny model of iPad is perpetually poised to fix it.
    Education technology progresses at a slow creep just like everything else. Every generation of technology improves the classroom, but there is no magic bullet and we need to stop expecting one. I think it s possible that at its core the education system is either not broken, or if it is broken it can never be fixed. To me it's seems this is the way it always has been and probably always will be. The universe hates change.
    There's no substitute for a good teacher, but there's also no agreement on which teachers are the good ones. That's the heart of the problem and I'm not sure it's a solvable one.

    Sorry if this is a little rambling. I'm kinda tired.
    I agree with you... but I would add a couple of things. Certainly there's no substitute for a good teacher, no doubt about that... But I think it's worth asking what people spend their time doing. Afterall, most people learn from two backgrounds, their school/work life and their personal life. Lots of people are playing video games these days and what they are learning is a good question. If there are benefits to playing certain games then maybe that's knowledge that can be used when setting home work, for example. At university you often get a reading list, why not incorporate other media as well?

    As for what makes a good teacher... In my opinion I'd suggest a good teacher is someone who's a good guide. It's not enough to just give information. This's why e-learning should be thought of as a tool like a book, not a replacement for a teacher.

  • AnduinAnduin Member Posts: 5,745
    wubble said:

    Anduin said:

    @wubble Your education highlights have pretty much aged you as being around 20...

    We still have biff, chip and kipper.


    Now my education highlights include...

    Playing PE in a vest and shorts, team games were played between vests and skins (you had to take your vest off)

    Admiring the teachers ability to hit people with chalk for not paying attention.

    Getting lost in the abandoned air raid shelter on the 10 acres of playground (although you weren't allowed to cross the racetrack to play in the sandpit)

    Having iodine blotted on your cuts and grazes, which were many as part of the playground was grit over gravel.

    Reading Tom and Jane...

    Completing Scottish Primary Math books... We were never taught maths... You just did the book.

    Playing the first education game The Crystal Flower on a BBC micro...



    How old am I?

    Bloody good guess, I'm 19

    I'd guess you're around 35
    I'm 36 !

  • Maple53Maple53 Member Posts: 5
    edited November 2015

    I enjoyed the article, and I think it's an interesting idea. But, it seems to me that it would only work with students who already have an interest in Dungeons and Dragons. Students who are old enough to play Dungeons and Dragons are also old enough to be aware of the social stigma that can come in middle and high school from playing it, and are likely to be highly resistant to any required projects that make them play D&D.

    In the United States, especially in the so-called "Bible Belt" states of the southeast, there will be religious objections made to the occultism and paganism in D&D, that may be worse than the moral objections to drinking alcohol, violence, and prostitution that you have already anticipated. Expect many, many parents to refuse to allow their children to participate. Religious private schools will likely reject the project automatically.

    I hate to be too pessimistic or negative about the idea, but I am and have been both a public school and private school teacher in the southern U.S., and I am intimately familiar with cultural attitudes here. While I doubt it would work here, it might work in some countries and in some regions and educational contexts within the U.S.

    I don't know what your professional background is in the field of education. In the U.S. you have to create written lesson plans with clearly stated objectives that are part of an intricately designed written curriculum, which must be submitted to and approved by a principal. There is extreme pressure to prepare for standardized tests. You can't just spend class time on whatever you want. Teachers here often complain that they can't engage in any creative teaching, but the profession is what it is, and your choices are to conform or to be fired for incompetence and/or insubordination. And woe be unto you if your students perform poorly on any standardized test.

    On the other hand, as part of a menu of choices offered to college or adult students, especially in English as a Second Language classes, the project could do very well.

    As far as using video games as an educational tool in U.S. primary or secondary schools though, you will have to demonstrate and document exactly what educational objectives are being accomplished through the games, and your students will have to pass tests demonstrating their mastery of whatever objective the games were supposed to teach them.

    To gain acceptance of using video games to teach at the college level, you would be expected to perform research that clearly documents a benefit to learning from the games, and you would have to submit papers about it for peer review. I hate to say it, but there are too many professors out there who take great delight in shooting down the ideas of other professors.

    I'm trying to shoot straight with you here, as one professional educator to another, rather than just being unconditionally nice and supportive about it as I would normally prefer to be.

    I like this post! Raises some great points :smile:

    I would add a suggestion of things like after school clubs, educational summer camps or even personal tuition. You've talked about mainstream educational pathways and I'd completely agree with what you've said. There are going to be areas where cultural differences cause an objection to e-learning, similarly there may just be classrooms where e-learning wouldn't be appropriate. I also agree that for many institutions, focus on test performance and clamping down on creative teaching can be the norm. Certainly I wouldn't suggest some kind of social experiment with swapping the curriculum to e-learning for a year! However, in these situations e-learning could still be offered in extra curricular activities to benefit teachers who want to explore it's potential and students who would like to make use of it.

    Of course, if you are considering sending your children to any extra curricular clubs I would advocate looking at some reviews first.

  • Maple53Maple53 Member Posts: 5
    Anduin said:

    Okay. Teacher head on and a thank you for the invite @BelgarathMTH .

    Research has shown that instant feedback, the type you can get from many tablet edu games, is amazingly effective. All children have access to tablets and tablet games at my school. Look up education and feedback, you will be inundated.

    Feedback can be descriptive or simply you are right or wrong... Both are effective and powerful educational tools.

    Is Balders gate an educational game? Yes. It is full of maths. It develops literacy skills through reading. It encourages strategic thinking, gives the oportunity to develop soft skills, morality and even empathy.


    Oh yes and a chance to role play.


    Would I use it in the classroom? No.


    It is immersive. A child can benefit from playing it, but they do not need me to help, aid or instruct. The taxpayer would not be getting their bang for their buck

    So I encourage such play at home, then I will attempt to show them the wonders of fractions using pizza...

    Hey @Anduin , I'm really interested in the tablet program at your school. Can you tell me what the software is that you use?

    Regarding teaching with Baldur's Gate, I would argue that while there are many examples of e-learning where further assistance isn't needed, there are many examples where it would be beneficial. One such case might be an action game based on history. While you may have some information about the items and places etc. it is often the case that much of the wider historical context is missing. Having someone / somewhere to discuss this would make the e-learning more beneficial.

    While I agree that Baldur's Gate might be better at teaching math privately, I think areas such as social studies would be better discussed in a group. Even the mythology might lend itself to discussions about history and philosophy with where these ideas originated that would be well suited to a group environment.

    I guess it depends what you're teaching and at what level.

  • Maple53Maple53 Member Posts: 5
    @DrWastelandMD Sorry, completely hijacked your thread but I saw Baldur's Gate and e-learning and was like, OMG, I'm all over that!

    Anyway, there's been ideas about math, english, social studies, history and philosophy... Are there any other subjects Baldur's Gate could be used for? As you can see I've been thinking about this for a while and I'm wondering what other bases it might cover.

    Did they ever release the game code for modding?

  • AnduinAnduin Member Posts: 5,745
    edited November 2015
    I think @Maple53 you would be disappointed. The games my 5 to 6 year olds play are very simple. The apps such as counting, hairy letters, beebots, and a list of interactive books such as letterland are great.

    Video games? Again SimCity and civilisation possibly trump Balders Gate. And again I would use neither in the classroom as they are to be experimented with. Play is a powerful way humans and even other animals use to learn... But you don't need an adult breathing over your shoulder to do it.


    But encouragement and discourse afterwards is always good.

    Post edited by Anduin on
  • DrWastelandMDDrWastelandMD Member Posts: 3
    @Anduin & @Maple53, you might be interested in taking a look at - there we can continue discussions about the e-learning potential of Baldur’s Gate and other games, software, technology etc. It’s a growing community that is exploring the ways that video games and technology can be applied to education. eLearning isn't limited to one subject, as @Maple53 pointed out, and so we promote discourse on any educational topic . If you’ve got an idea or you've had an experience using DGBL, then pop over and share it with the community. I'd be interested to know more about your experiences using technology (and especially games) in the classroom.

  • booinyoureyesbooinyoureyes Member Posts: 6,162
    Fun fact: the creators of the Infinity Engine originally designed it for teaching medical students

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