Game On: Teaching History with Interactive Scavenger Hunt

14 Sep

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Author’s Note: The below blog was a class assignment and is not related to entrepreneurs.

Part classroom shake-up, part team-building, and part possible guinea pigs for his new book project, Everyone a Player, Professor Penenberg designed a scavenger hunt for our writing class to get us acquainted with Wall Street and being a reporter.  I was all game.

Put on by Stray Boots, the idea was simple—receive text clues, hunt down the answer, reply, and move on to the next one. Even though we lost with sweat dripping down us, I loved the team building, brain racking, and instant gratification texts (you are correct!). Plus, I believe I actually will remember more from being involved in a game than reading it in a book. Stray Boots and thousands of other companies may be onto something.

According to The NPD Group, in 2010 the gaming industry’s revenue reached $25 billion.

Games have taken over so many parts of our lives, we hardly notice it—reward programs, point systems, text to win, FarmVille, the list could go on and on.  I think pure genius (leave your thoughts below in comments). With a society driven by competitiveness, the constant need for recognition, and a short attention span games may be a great supplement for training videos, can’t-stay-awake lectures, and the thousands of chapters you must memorize in school. Look, I am not saying to scrap the traditional teachings but providing additional information may help with retention.

As someone who is competitive, a lover of games (list your favorite below), and easily distracted I could be a bit biased.

Growing up, I always became extremely excited when my sister and I got to play Bingo. What was supposed to be a special occasion soon became a weekly ordeal—grab your six lucky cards, listen in anticipation for the number, scream Bingo, and pick a prize. I raved about it so much, my friends soon began showing up.

My love of games, followed me throughout my teenage years and into adult hood. I remember spending hours conquering Zelda, Mario Brothers, Final Fantasy, and other level games. I loved my dopamine award for my problem-solving skills, ability to find the weakness in an opponent, and unlock the next level. Nerdy? Perhaps. But as more and more industries are looking into games as a solution to their problems the nerds are becoming more mainstream (check out “How Video Games are Infiltrating–and Improving–Every Part of Our Lives,” for a more in-depth look at gaming).

Nowadays, I have learned my lesson about the value of time and put down the iPad. Yes, I have conquered Angry Birds, Cut the Rope, Plants vs. Zombies (thrice!), every Dash game imaginable, and am still on the look out for the best game bar in Brooklyn (suggestions welcome) but as a graduate student I need to realize my weakness and the necessity of focus.  That being said, the idea of games in the classroom environment is always welcoming.

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5 Responses to “Game On: Teaching History with Interactive Scavenger Hunt”

  1. gokkast September 16, 2011 at 9:29 pm #

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  4. Donna September 21, 2011 at 8:16 pm #

    This was just great! I will bet that all the people that have ever been on “The Apprentice” were real gamers. These people have a special drive

  5. Nobama September 21, 2011 at 8:25 pm #

    It would seem that you are coming to the conclusion that investigating and gaming challenges us, thus improving many skills within us.
    Very interesting weblog. I agree.

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