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Test Subject
Original Poster
#1 Old 4th May 2011 at 2:48 PM
Default Using TS3 in education. Help me with ideas!
I hope this is in the right forum...

I'm taking a class called "Computer games in education" and we are now to come up with a game that we can use in school education. It needs to be based on the school curriculum (I'm thinking ages 13-15, however I don't know which subject to pick). I really want to use TS3 for this assignment, but I'm not sure how. I read something about a project in Holland focused on Nature and Environmental Education, but I can't really copy that. I need something of my own. I'm just not sure what! I thought of biology and heredity, but that doesn't work very well in TS3 as far as I can understand...

So I'm asking you: How do you think TS3 could be used in a school? Any ideas?
#2 Old 4th May 2011 at 4:22 PM
Maybe "the Sims" is a usefull game about tolerance?
Because a Sim don't cares about skincolor or sexual orientation ...
You can build a City with same sex couples, all races, colors, transgender Sims. And let the kids play with.
Test Subject
Original Poster
#3 Old 4th May 2011 at 5:11 PM
Interesting point, I hadn't thought about that! Hmmm... What subject could that be in, though? As it needs to follow and be "strenghtened" by the curriculum plan or whatever you call it in english. Either way, I will definitely think more about your suggestions, thank you!
Top Secret Researcher
#4 Old 4th May 2011 at 5:45 PM
Its encourages construction rather than destruction. That makes it more education-friendly than 99% of games right there.

Can't find stuff in build and buy mode? http://www.nexusmods.com/thesims3/mods/1/?
Field Researcher
#5 Old 4th May 2011 at 5:48 PM
Well, if i had to come up with something, I would say sims could improve imagination skill? I don't still have an idea how that could be used in education..

Maybe sims could be used to teach foreing language? Because sims is simulation of life there is lot of useful words etc. hhhm, sims is quite complex game so somebody might have to make special translations for that kind of purpose.
Top Secret Researcher
#6 Old 4th May 2011 at 5:52 PM
Originally Posted by gelis
Maybe sims could be used to teach foreing language? Because sims is simulation of life there is lot of useful words etc.

It's invaluable for anyone wanting to learn gobbledygook

Can't find stuff in build and buy mode? http://www.nexusmods.com/thesims3/mods/1/?
Field Researcher
#7 Old 4th May 2011 at 5:55 PM
Hah, I didn't realise that XD

What I meant to say was if you are a finn and you play in english, you learn english quite a lot.

haha, sorry :D
#8 Old 4th May 2011 at 7:07 PM
Integrate it with things like daily living skills, fire prevention, food safety (after all Sims do eat spoiled food and get sick), morals and ethics such as not stealing (evil Sims who steal candy from babies to often get fat),environmental awareness (collecting rocks, seeds, and fish, gardening, recycling, using bikes and carpools to go places), also if you download an unpopulated world you could use it in social studies to show how societies develop from just a few people to a vibrant and active culture.
Test Subject
Original Poster
#9 Old 4th May 2011 at 7:12 PM Last edited by mangaroo : 4th May 2011 at 8:39 PM. Reason: merging triple post
Gelis: You're absolutely right, The Sims (as most video games) is great for language acqusition, I should know, I learned most of the english I know through the computer (I'm from Sweden). But I think there are other games that would do that in a better way. While there is text in The Sims, it's pretty easy to just skip through. I rarely read the descriptions for furniture, for example. What I'm saying is, you can play The Sims without having to read very much. That's why I'm searching for another spin on it, though the language learning idea is still an option, of course.

tizerist: I agree with you. But how can one turn that into a lesson? That's what I'm after. I don't think a moral lesson would do, I need something I tie into the regular school subjects.

Deestar: Many good ideas! I like the last one the most. Does it really do that, though, develop into a vibrant community? Well, I guess you could use s story progression mod also.

Awesome ideas everyone, keep 'em coming! You know, I might have to put MTS as one of my references in the final paper.
Test Subject
Original Poster
4th May 2011 at 7:15 PM
This message has been deleted by mangaroo. Reason: double post
Test Subject
Original Poster
4th May 2011 at 7:20 PM
This message has been deleted by mangaroo. Reason: triple post
Test Subject
Original Poster
#10 Old 4th May 2011 at 8:39 PM
I've been brainstorming with my boyfriend, and we came up with an alternative idea that I quite like. Would love your opinions on it!

Instead of limiting myself to ONE school subject, I want to make a collaborational assignment between the subjects english, art and computer studies. The pupils will have to write a story (english), create the neccessary charcters, places and settings in TS3 (computer studies) and make a creative machinima video (art) depicting their story, perhaps narrated or with text. This would be a longitudinal project stretched over an entire semester so that the kids could really delve into their story, the game and it's camera angles/controls as well as an appropriate but easy-to-use movie software.

What do you guys think? Could it work?
Forum Resident
#11 Old 4th May 2011 at 8:46 PM
Accounting perhaps? Keep seperate spreadsheets on a family of 4 sims. Have those sims engage in money-making activities like jobs, collecting, selling food at the child's foodstand, growing and selling produce. Also track stuff that costs money like bills, making food. Then use the spreadsheets to calculate the amounts. When totalled they should equal the family income shown in the game screen.

Just an idea, of course. If you mess up the total, though, there's no way to go through the game and find out where you went wrong unless a mod was created that write a tally to a text file for the students to read.

My cat taught me how to fetch. I throw the toy, she shows me where it landed, and I fetch it.
#12 Old 4th May 2011 at 9:46 PM
wow you have quite the list altough I didn't see some suggest using it to teach the human cycle of life. But any of the suggestions would work very well even combinations of the suggestions. NekoCat suggested accounting/ money tracking or budgeting. I think that would be very good.
#13 Old 4th May 2011 at 9:53 PM
The most obvious one I think would be financial planning.

Hi I'm Paul!
#14 Old 5th May 2011 at 7:50 AM
Next try:

If you want to be more multidisciplinary, work with the "create a world tool" as an example for 3D Design, landscaping, using terrain paint. You can explain, how to make textures, what .dds files and bumpmaps are etc.
Thread Impaler
staff: moderator
#15 Old 5th May 2011 at 10:03 AM
Do I understand you correctly that this is not a class about computer games per se as an educational subject but about how to use a computer game as a tool to achieve some educational goal outside the scope of the computer game? I.e. instead of drawing paper pupils should use CAS, f.ex., instead of reading a book they use the game for learning something.
If this is the case you should first figure out your goal you want to achieve and then consider whether The Sims is the appropriate tool for that. In that sense your own proposal to combine arts, language classes and computer classes sounds as the most promising one.
I wouldn't say that the Sims itself teaches anything worth teaching, it doesn't teach you accounting, it doesn't teach you anything about genetics and when it comes to teach something about tolerance this portion of the game is too negligible to serve as a base for a whole course (you wouldn't even have to play this game in order to have this as a discussion topic). In fact, a large portion of what the Sims conveys in terms of moral or civilisational conduct I would even consider as rather doubtful. When I used The Sims once in a course on computer games I started class by claiming that the Sims is actually the most dangerous computer game around and it was interesting to see what the students suddenly discovered within the game when their perception was gauged to look for evidence for my claim. But that was a class for young adults, and might be too complicated for 13-15 year old pupils.

...the swiss army knife of discussion...
#16 Old 6th May 2011 at 1:42 AM
I don't know, but I don't see many teaching opportunities, other than how babies are made. So, I do think there are many excellent opportunities to be found in other games, but maybe not the Sims.

My true to life tumblr: http://smargent.tumblr.com/
Field Researcher
#17 Old 6th May 2011 at 1:46 AM
Originally Posted by babele44
I started class by claiming that the Sims is actually the most dangerous computer game around and it was interesting to see what the students suddenly discovered within the game when their perception was gauged to look for evidence for my claim. But that was a class for young adults, and might be too complicated for 13-15 year old pupils.

What did they say?

Sorry, off topic, but I got to know :D
Lab Assistant
#18 Old 6th May 2011 at 2:27 AM
I love this question! I'm a high school teacher, and one of the subjects I teach is Interior Design. I've played with the idea of using The Sims 3 in my class as an incentive activity: since our class is mostly project-based, some of my students finish much faster than their peers while others need that extra time. To encourage students not to waste time and piddle around, I like to provide incentive activities for students who finish early. It's a good way to encourage high schoolers to manage their time wisely without pushing those students who need that extra time.

SO. I'd like to use The Sims 3 because my students already use a computer design program called Chief Architect, which is a great tool used in the professional world, but the version our school has is a few years old and has limited texture choices. Sims 3 is much easier to use and therefore more fun, so it'd be great for students who finish their Chief Architect plans. The Sims 3 would also be a great tool to teach about things like lighting, pattern choices, and color theory.

One unit I taught students is about lighting. There are different types of lighting like task lighting, ambient (whole room) lighting, accent lighting, etc. Sims 3 has all these different types, and you can turn lights on and off and change colors as well as change the time from night to day. The amount of choices in pattern and color would help; I can also use the color wheel to teach them terms like hue, value, saturation, etc. as well as the different types of color schemes. The program's ease of use would also make it an ideal alternative to Chief Architect for my special education students, who are mainstreamed; it is much more user-friendly than Chief Architect.

I hope my ideas helped! Sorry, my students are a bit older than your ideal age.
Lab Assistant
#19 Old 6th May 2011 at 2:51 AM
what about using it for Home Ec...?
Forum Resident
#20 Old 6th May 2011 at 6:29 PM
Problem solving and mathematical skills, using the WA tomb tools.

Go suck an elf...
Forum Resident
#21 Old 6th May 2011 at 8:40 PM
lol - this brings back memories. My Shop teacher in high school managed to sneak SimAnt onto his lab computers for his alternate Technology class by stating it was 'educational'. We had a lot of fun playing that when the school thought we were learning about things. That teacher was great. XD

Sims3, being a God Sim - simulates the model of an average middle class life. It's pretty adaptable, so basically if you want to use it in school you'll have to pick the class you're going to adapt it to and then get inventive with your argument.

Home-ec is probably the best fit, though. Not only can you design outfits, you can directly experience the frustrations of a housewife by having to make your kids do their homework and better themselves with skills while they keep trying to watch tv. Food/cooking works better with fresh produce from the garden, and if you don't learn the basics of cooking (at least two levels) you might really burn the house down.
Test Subject
#22 Old 6th May 2011 at 11:29 PM
While the Sims teaches many life lessons, I doubt it would fit very well into a standard school curriculum.

Where it might fit in the best is in a course on computer graphics. This involves actually making stuff. Learning about meshes and textures. One can also learn some basic geometric concepts when creating.
Top Secret Researcher
#23 Old 6th May 2011 at 11:31 PM
I see there are quite a number of replies.

How TS3 could be used in a school?

Either the OP doesn't provide exact limitation of his/her project or it is actually open on the table. I am saying it is a broad question. Or this is just a paper to be written on the subject. If so, it is a lot easier to be written for theory presentation than practical implementation. For once, we have seen numerous problems with TS3: vanilla TS3 is not stable, game gets corrupted after 2-3 weeks of playing, and many other issues to be fixed by third party mods (namely Twallan's mods) in order to keep running (my game is running 11,000 Overwatch recorded nightly now). To update the game for myself is 1 thing because I love playing it, and when I start to hate playing it, I uninstall and forget about it. But to be implemented as classroom tool, the IT staff is required to play the game as well and find solutions to fix any problems and keep updates with 3rd party mods. Assume you have to install this game on at least 5 computers, and TS3 does not have remote update and deployment tool, IT staff has to manually deal with each computer. It is an IT nightmare to maintain considering TS3 isn't as easy as an "install and forget" game. Game console version would be a less strained route on IT, but how many schools want to have game console in class room, or is it even appropriate to do so?

OP doesn't have to consider the above scenario if this is just to write a paper because most audiences will not consider such facts (unless they are TS3 savvy like most of us here).

In theory, how will TS3 serve as a tool for education? I remember reading a few military institutions use first person shooter to help with combat tactical training. I personally played Ghost Recon series before, it is a combat simulation (to an extend) that players don't get a health bar. A wrong move, a single bullet hit can either kill you outright or seriously cripple you. I learned a lot about contemporary combat just through playing that game. That being said, now looking back at TS3, also like babele44 said, this game doesn't bring a whole lot to the table in any particular aspect. Accounting? Too simple. Planning? Maybe workable, but still missing quite a number of vital components not properly simulated at all. TS3 simulates heavily on your own house building, but the community is all about "rabbit holes" or totally forgotten: no supermarket, no church, no complex interactions with different people in community like police, teachers, employers, criminals, or anything worth simulating life about. In fact, we also must consider if TS3 is even appropriate for age group 13-15 (it is not going to stop them from playing at home, but when do we see teachers introducing games like "Grand Theft Auto" or even "Halo" into the class room, ever?)

Also consider the administration aspect of TS3: there is no blocking out parts of TS3. Just like a library computer can be limited to serving certain websites only, like subscribed database and web-based app to search library, no messing with Control Panel, no "accidental" porn sites. But for TS3, it is either you let them play, or not let them play. Vanilla TS3 is enough to raise numerous red flags: the CAS tool itself is a "dress me up" game (Late Night even let you adjust women's breast size, but you don't have to install that), woohoo and shower (even heavily censored, it is extremely suggestive for 13-15 years old). Not to mention, as admin, as teacher, we have no control of how sims' autonomous personality can behave: you can talk about family harmony and there is no stopping for TS3 to have a sim chain slapping another sim.

However, I do want to bring up a good point about TS3: it is a perfect tool for machina video. Although we have no control of either TS3 live action, stability, or how students play the game (like making a sim resembling some popular girl in school and virtually abuse her and let the real girl watch, even; I can see that happening already), we have complete control in what we record. TS3 is one of the rare games where it does deal with a much wider interactions (albeit still very limited) with surrounding environments. In most games, you look at a some object and your option is to blow it up or leave it alone. But TS3 lets you sleep on bed, watch TV, drive cars, talk to other people, cook food, use the toilets, write something on desk, etc... In the nutshell, TS3 has all the tools needed to build a very compelling educational video. While it may be impossible to play cop catching robber, or teen getting pulled over for drunk driving, but it is much more plausible to build these scenarios using TS3. With enough variety of objects on EA Store as well as a vast community, one can pretty much get most of what he needs.

I highly believe TS3 can be used as an educational tool. But directly allowing students to play would pose such administration and control nightmare that even installing Half Life on school computer seems to be a lot safer. As my psychology professor says: People are ok with their kids watching guns shooting and violent fist fights, but when a couple of bare breasts or a steamy scene come up, they start covering their kids' eyes.

I work for a living, but I don't necessarily live for a working.
Test Subject
#24 Old 7th May 2011 at 1:48 AM
I'm sure you could do something with math and proportion--measure their own house or the school and try to design a proportional replica?
Top Secret Researcher
#25 Old 7th May 2011 at 4:59 AM
Originally Posted by kaethe
I'm sure you could do something with math and proportion--measure their own house or the school and try to design a proportional replica?

I am actually doing that everyday, mentally. Some people found me at odd just stop at certain locations on street sizing up something. It's just me trying to translate a building into TS3 language: is this wall worth 4 or 5 clicks? The number won't be exact, but how will this look if I am to rebuild it in TS3?

Honestly, Google Sketch-up would do a much better job, for free. While TS3 is too limited into the grid system that sometimes it is so hard to compromise (4 or 5 clicks ... it won't look right either way). But I can really see how kids can put their creativity into recreating certain buildings.

The problem is still how you are able to do certain prep works before class? It takes a whole lot more time to prepare a template for them to work on, like create an existing household and existing lot, allow students to build upon the lots to fit certain criteria for the household. Imagine we have to do this on 5-15 computers, carrying around .sim3pack of the household, the lot template (unless it is empty), and whatever custom mods, on USB drive going computer to computer to install. And also to keep very close look on those kids to make sure none of them install a decensor mod and show off to the class some some female sim taking shower.

It happened with one of my client who is a language's school. Kids figured out how to bypass the IP limiter and actually went to porn sites during boring lecture. They used proxy server so IT can't even trace their visits of questionable sites. Teachers found out by one of the kid snitching the other. And these kids are 10-15 years old (I don't actually know who the kids are, I were just told to reconfigure the firewall).

I work for a living, but I don't necessarily live for a working.
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