Sports Games: Reading, Writing, & Statistics

Presentor: Jane Canner, Mary Schearer, Nicole Guagliardi, Benjamin Motz, Crystle Martin

Event: Games + Learning + Society 2013 - 6/13/2013

Assessing the Common Core State Standards in Reading With The Sports Network 2
Classroom, Inc. (CI) developed and piloted an 8th grade learning game targeting the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in Reading. CI built on 20 years experience using workplace simulations to teach literacy, and developed The Sports Network 2 (TSN-2), leveraging advances in gaming and assessment. TSN-2 puts students in the role of managing director of a sports media company, giving them reading and workplace problems to solve. Piloted in 2012 with over 400 New York City and Chicago students and their teachers, teachers agreed that the game was strongly connected to the CCSS, and students reported being engaged and learning from it. Assessments on the CCSS from within the game showed modest student performance; scores were strongly correlated with scores from a standardized reading test, the Measures of Academic Progress. This research provides early validation for an approach within a game to assess reading skills based on CCSS.
Jane Canner, Mary Schearer, Nicole Guagliardi

Fantasy Football: A Touchdown for Undergraduate Statistics Education
This paper describes a course in introductory statistics and data analysis techniques taught thru the lens of fantasy football. The game’s appeal and its natural applicability to empirical analysis sparked strong interest in topics that would otherwise be abstract and are traditionally unattractive; and evidence suggests that the course was a success. Furthermore, there was no correlation between fantasy experience and course achievement, indicating that fantasy football is an accessible avenue toward statistical concept learning. However, issues of the authenticity of learning activities to fantasy football gameplay arose, and may have dampened initial enthusiasm among students who were already experienced fantasy football managers. In total, fantasy football is concluded to be an engaging, active, and immersive classroom application of statistical analysis, and a powerful tool toward statistics education reform.
Benjamin Motz

Fantasy Wrestling: Role-Playing Games and Professional Wrestling
This paper explores a Fantasy Wrestling Federation (FWF) that is part of a larger WWE fan community. Although more like a text-based RPG than traditional fantasy sports, it does carry the hallmarks of competitive fandom, just as more traditional fantasy sports, including learning, play, and engagement as described by Halverson and Halverson (2008). Just like professional wrestling, the fantasy wrestling mixes fantasy and reality, giving wrestlers real attributes and real moves while creating fantasy and fiction from the cannon of wrestling. As will be seen, professional wrestling boasts a long tradition in the United States existing in some form in the late 19th century and in a state more like its modern form by the early 1930s. In this paper, I hope to explore and understand what the players learn from their participation and how these experiences can influence their larger choices and experiences outside the FWF.
Crystle Martin

Rich Halverson, Discussant


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