In this project we worked with Secondary Education classes through strategy video games ‘Spore’ and ‘Boom Blox’, in which planning was essential. Through the game and the subsequent dialogue with teachers and researchers, participants acquired awareness of the strategies used, including their final reflections in an audiovisual product.
These are some of the questions that guided our objectives:
In this project, conducted throughout the 2008/2009 school year, we analyzed how to use strategy video games within a Secondary Education classroom at school IES Manuel de Falla in Coslada (Madrid). For this, we used strategy video games ‘Spore’ and ‘Boom Blox’.
Following play, participants, formed groups in which, by reflecting upon what had taken place in the games, they created audiovisual products through which they conveyed their ideas.
A strategy is a plan to act by choosing one of the possible paths offered to overcome the challenges, which will allow us to achieve the goal of the game. Strategies may be simple, such as the ones offered by certain video games inspired in traditional board games, for example Boom Blox, or more complicated ones like Spore.
In the case of ‘Spore’, the teacher used it to reflect upon the evolution strategies, already studied in class, which the video game followed. In addition, there were discussions on the influence of the choice on the adaptation to the environment in creatures created by students.
In ‘Boom Blox’, the player must put the appropriate strategy into practice to find the best way to destroy, dismantle and demolish the different shapes presented in the screen, built by grouping several blocks. To help apprentices become aware of their activity, adults raised questions that fostered reflecting about the decisions and subsequent actions.
Putting different strategies into practice to solve complex problems is the challenge posed by strategy video games. Thus, participants learned to reflect and take decisions, consolidating their skills and transferring what they had learned in the game to future challenges.
When the adult guides the dialogue, apprentices reflect over the importance of problems and the ways in which to confront them. In addition, with their help they are able to discover the different strategies used in the game in order to overcome the challenges found.