Friday, 24 June 2011

Did you make it to the Willamette Valley?

This fall we are having an exhibit on Toys and Games. With school programs winding down for this school year, I now have time to start planning the education programs to accompany this exhibit.


The other day a few of us were sitting around brainstorming ideas. Talk soon turned to our favourite educational computer games that we remembered from school.

It was amazing how many of us fondly remembered the Oregon Trail, a computer program designed to teach students about pioneer life in the 19th century. The player had to assume the role of trail leader and make all of the right decisions to get the wagon train from Missouri to Oregon's Willamette Valley.


Did you ever play the game? Did you make it to Oregon? Or did you, like so many others, die of dysentery somewhere along the trail?


Soon the talk turned to some of our other favourite games from school. Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? was quickly mentioned as another favourite. This game had the player tracking around the world (learning world geography) to arrest Carmen's henchmen and, eventually, Carmen herself. And you had to do it before time ran out.

Do you have other favourites? Ones you recommend?


I'm not sure how these games could be tied into our school programs (I envision long line ups for an entire class to give it a try) but I'll see how the education planning progresses over the summer. But considering the animated way staff and volunteers talk about and remember these games (even years and years later) makes me plan to try very hard to find a way to fit them in.

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