If we were to write a resume for our childhood, the primary activity listed would be playing games-activities promoting creativity, imagination, exploration, and interaction among participants. Current writers who focus on education reform and new learning paradigms discuss such characteristics as critical learning outcomes for our students to survive in the "real world." At more than one educational conference, speakers painting the future of interactive software have stated, "Look at computer games." Why? Successful computer games have captured key aspects of child-like play as catalysts for learning.
But what does "interactive" really mean? Is it just an ability to make choices, to switch channels, to click buttons? Actually, in the context for learning, interactivity, especially with use of technology, means more. It assumes notions of active and participatory learning.
In this issue of the Labyrinth we look at potential uses of computer games and simulations for learning. On their own, these programs may not be strictly instructional. And it would be a tremendous leap to identify an educational application for "Mortal Kombat." However, with creative thinking by an innovative faculty, these "off-the-shelf" products may be used effectively in the context of learning activities.
First, we present results of our latest round of software evaluations, in which Maricopa faculty reviewed several games in terms of how they might be used for learning. Next, we peer behind "Myst," the top-selling CD-ROM that has spawned a new wave in virtual environments. Finally, two Maricopa faculty describe how they have used simulation software. In keeping with our efforts to provide electronic resources, we have included a list of related Internet resources.
The software mentioned in this issue are available for you to explore in our center. So come down to MCLI and learn-play a game. You might find something to enhance your teaching.
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Alan Levine --}
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