Klopfer and Yoon on Developing Games and Simulations for Today and Tomorrow’s Tech Savvy Youth

NOTE: This is yet another article from TechTrends 49 (3). Though sections of the article were not directly related to what I am interested in, I’m sure you’ll be able to see that there were many connections with what I’ve been writing about.

Klopfer and Yoon (2005) were explicitly constructivist, opening their article with their interested in an authentic learning context and in collaborative learning (p. 33). Later, they also explicitly discuss the importance of inquiry-based learning (p. 40). Like Prensky, they made a case for the “demand for new skills and ways of thinking” (p. 33), calling on the work of Dede and others. Much of their desire to help students learn to “gather and apply data to solutions collaboratively” and to “foster creativity and imagination” (p. 34) spoke to the development of 21st Century Skills (NCREL, 2003).

Drawing on their work with the MIT Teacher Education Program, Games to Teach, and the Education Arcade, the authors share ways in which social computing, mobile computing, and video games, which all “have a great deal of influence on students’ lives” (p. 35) might be used for educational purposes. They discuss the overlap between social, mobile, and game-based computer, which culminates in the concept of “‘hybrid reality’ or ‘pervasive gaming'” (p. 38). They were most interested in how these technologies might be used to build students’ understanding of complex systems (p. 36) and student’s abilities to construct new worlds and understanding (p. 37).

Picking up where Gee (2003) left off, the authors suggested that students have developed only one half of their video game literacy through playing games “- they have learned to ‘read.’ But they have not yet developed the other half of that literacy – learning to write” (p. 37). The authors advocate the use of StarLogo TNG to allow students to “rapidly develop and understand new programs and create their own 3D worlds” (p. 37).

Finally, Klopfer and Yoon do not ignore the importance of professional development and assessment when these ideas are implemented in a real-world school, especially in the political climate of No Child Left Behind.


Klopfer, E., and Yoon, S. (2005). Deveoping games and simulations for today and tomorrow’s tech savvy youth. TechTrends 49 (3) 33-41.

Additional References

Gee, J. P. (2003). What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

North Central Regional Educational Laboratory. (2003). enGauge 21st Century Skills Available: http://www.ncrel.org/engauge/skills/skills.htm