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Monday, July 30, 2007

Walk a Mile in My Shoes: Games Let You Do That


Part of learning is expanding your mind and understanding different perspectives or points of view. One extremely effective way of doing that is to "walk a mile in the other person's shoes" in other words...experience life as the other person does. This is sometimes much easier said than done since adopting another's view point can be difficulty and incomplete if done superficially.

One answer to this little dilemma is to play a video game as the other person...yes video games can allow one to assume the role of a foe or adversary and discover what he or she is thinking...one such game is called Peace Maker.

Thanks to Brandon Beaver (Bloomsburg IIT alumni) who sent me a fascinating piece about the game. Here is what Brandon had to say:
Interesting concept as it seems like some other games I've seen, but this one is very timely and relevant. The game allows you to play both sides of the conflict. In fact, one of the people interviewed in the piece on the radio said they could not really understand the other side's point of view until they played this game and then they began to understand.
What a great idea. Encourage your foes to play the game from your perspective and visa versa. We could do something like this in the states...let a doctor experience life as a patient...let a sales person experience life as a customer...let someone in the majority experience life as a minority. Let a parent experience life as a teacher or a teacher the life of a principal.

Another spin on this is the French finance game Cyber budget which I have blogged about before in Out and About: Learning Organisation. Read an article describing how it works called Tax too high? Then set your own budget, says French finance boss. In this game, you become the finance minister and must balance the budget while keeping all of your constituents happy (good luck).

The game allows anyone who is not in the finance office to struggle with the same issues as the politicians and to see just how difficult it is to try to create a fair and balanced budget with all the different interests at hand.

The budget Minister of France Jean-Francois Cope says the game, called "cyber-budget", will allow citizens to pretend they are in charge of the national finances.

If you speak French, check out the Cyber-Budget web site and play the game yourself.

Can you think of any applications where you want learners to experience life from a different perspective? What a powerful tool...and unique to the video game genre, put the learner in the role of that other person through a game and allow them to struggle with the same issues and ideology. What a learning experience.

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As the Internet expands getting an online Associates degree has been possible for years, and now a degree like an MBA is a possibility. Not everyone is looking to get a college degree online though, so there are many other things you might be able to find online of interest to you, right down to dancing lesson videos.
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6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the links for the games. I will take a look at them.
You bring up some good points!

I just would like to add that "POV changes" aren't new in games though. Back when RTS games were more popular this was a popular trick from a developer stand point because it used the same objects (so it saved space) but it still made it possible to extend the story telling.

Also FPS tend to use this to a degree. A good example you might want to look at would be "Half Life" vs. "Half-Life: Opposing Force" First is played as the main character scientist, the latter as an invading army baddy.

Also FPS online Death match games provide "ghosting" I have know people who just "Ghost" players(or watch in spectator mode not as an active player) to learn their tips and how they play a game.

Also Fantasy type of games do use change of POV as a common "spell" usually called "charm"

A good Sci-fi fantasy type of game that plays with the POV well also is called PSI-OPS. This game allows the player to take control of other characters or leave their body to learn the map better.

Anonymous said...

Another game that is a little more timely is a game called "Real War" created by Simon & Schuster.

In this game the player can take the role of a suicide bomber terrist or the U.S. military.

Karl Kapp said...

Thanks for the additional information and thoughts about games and their use to instruct about different perspectives. Really good information.

Col said...

I haven't had a chance to check this out yet (will download from home) but it reminds me of a game I have been looking at recently - Global Conflicts: Palestine, where you take the role of a journalist reporting on the conflict.

Fascinating stuff

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