Currently there is a transition of paradigms in education, from the teacher or content-oriented to the student or learning-oriented model. Among other effects there is an increasing requirement for new approaches and solutions like options with more interaction than the traditional and passive learning ways from before. Considering this scenario games and simulations can be seen a good option to work as educational media.
However there is a trend to see terms lime “game”, “simulation” and “play” as an umbrella with confusing concepts, sometimes seen as synonyms and essentially regarding them as entertainment. Without disregard the huge market of games as entertainment, there are other possibilities. Jones (1988) considers as common sense to connect games more with amusement or entertainment than serious work. As he says:” students study biology do not play biology. A professor engages in research he doesn’t play research.” (Jones, 1988:105). Ten years later Bogost (2008) still agrees and states that current videogames are considered trivial or perceived as a children’s medium, unattended and requiring more analytical effort in order to be properly perceived in its cultural, social or educational functions.
So in order to overcome prejudices it is necessary firstly define concepts, like game, simulation and interaction applied to learning supported by a literature review considering the context of education. After that it is possible to highlight some affordances of games and simulations with training and work-based education, even commenting planning and research uses made by large organizations like industry, governments or military. In order to support Bogost(2008) and Jones (1998) present some considerations and examples of a rethoric role to games and simulations. Finally some possibilities applicable to environmental education purposes will be proposed.
Jones, Ken. Interactive Learning Events. United States. 1988
Bogost, Ian. Procedural rethoric. United States, 2008.