Game Based Learning Old & New

As a kid, I grew up playing pinochle with my grandfather and appreciated the strategy and collaboration. My grandfather was an amazing player who could predict with pretty decent accuracy what cards you were holding just based on his cards and the bids. He taught me by reviewing certain hands, pointing out where I might have earned an extra point or two or even turned the whole thing around by playing a different combination of cards. Like any game, pinochle has certain rules about what cards you have to play in response to the lead card, but you often have more than one card that meet those rules and with a bit of strategic thinking, you can make the most of even loser cards by how you choose to play them.

Now, I am learning to play a computer game. It is single player game so there is no teamwork, but I am enjoying in competing against myself and the clock. Each level offers potentially different ways to complete the tasks, but there seem to be certain solutions that save a few seconds and help earn bonus points. It means knowing how to most successfully work within the rules, just as it did in pinochle.

I even have a support network despite it being single player. Perhaps the reader might consider it cheating, but I was stumped on a particular level and went looking for ideas. The site I found offered particular strategies but, more importantly, provided analysis of the various tools and how they could be deployed just as my grandfather did all those years ago.

The biggest difference between the two experiences is that my grandfather and I could only review and imagine how we might react differently to the unfolding game. With my digital game, I can replay the level, trying different strategies to see how they change the outcomes.

But in both cases, I was learning, working within a system to problem solve and troubleshoot, skills I can apply in other situations.

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