The Florida Virtual School has just launched a new game-based online American History course. The game, called Conspiracy Code, is an espionage-themed course-long game that will count for a full credit of American History. Designed by 360Ed, the game is available to students starting this month.
It will be interesting to see how students and instructors alike react to this game. It seems like a natural extension of what Florida Virtual School is doing, and it makes sense to explore the game-based method of teaching since the infrastructure is already in place. But as I’ve discovered through my reporting about games in education, it is extremely difficult to strike a good balance between the elements of game play that capture students’ attention and excitement and the academic goals that teachers and schools expect.
There are some advantages to gaming that make me really want to follow the evolution of this course, though. The first is that with games, students are forced to master concepts before moving on—the game won’t allow them to move forward otherwise. Games also encourage students to try lots of different strategies, most of which are self-directed, to reach the next level. Games also have collaborative elements that allow students to work together and exchange ideas, similar to how adults operate in the working world.
To find out more about the course, go here.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Digital Education blog.