Theme 3: Reveal Systems

12 12: Systems Thinking — Encourage model-based reasoning

With the SYSTEMS THINKING principle, Gee shares how learners create models of complex systems, such as interactions within the economy or environment. A game is its own form of complex systems and responds to decisions you make. Playing a game designed around a complex system encourages model-based reasoning, a foundational part of scientific thought.

SYSTEMS THINKING strategies in teaching

  • Pose difficult concepts in your field and challenge students to explain the underlying systems at work in it. 
  • Assign groups to work together to explain systems. This requires that group members think deeply to explain their model ideas to each other, and for others to understand the explained models in order to refine them.
  • Have students (or groups) express/share their models in various forms, such as multimedia, games, or other representations (see UDL). Shifting representational domains requires deep understanding. Designing and building prototypical representations forces students to turn mental models into tangible ones, where flaws in understanding are more apparent to them.
  • Add a few strategies that might work in your course, and see others’ ideas here.

SYSTEMS THINKING strategies in Canvas

  • Create a Piazza or Discussions forum where you pose a wicked problem in your field and challenge students to explain the underlying systems at work in it.
  • Create a coherent and complete syllabus.
  • Write an instructor teaching philosophy to help students understand your approach.
  • Embed an RSS feed from pertinent Internet sources so students can relate course content to current events and the world around them.
  • Use personal journaling for students to relate content to their own life.
  • Add a few strategies that might work in your course, and see others’ ideas here.

Knowledge Check

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13 Principles of Good Learning in Games — Applied to Teaching Copyright © by John Martin, Karin Spader, Julie Johnson. All Rights Reserved.

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