- What makes a game educational?
- Types of Games/Simulations/Activities
- What makes a good game/simulation/activity?
- The Role of the Game Designer
- Setting Player Experience Goals
Why play games?
- “ Games require players to construct hypotheses, solve problems, develop strategies, learn the rules of the in-game world through trial and error.”
- “ Gamers must be able to juggle several different tasks, evaluate risks and make quick decisions--an ideal form of preparation for the workplace of the 21st century...”
- The Economist, August 4, 2005
What Makes a Game Educational?
- It has an educationally-accessible context (historical, contemporary, hard science-fiction)
- Success depends on intelligent choices and decisions (not twitch)
- Failure exists and teaches when it happens. It is possible to lose
- The tutorial is crystal clear, and checks for understanding
- There are multiple victory conditions
- The feedback model is short - students can quickly see how a decision effects a larger whole picture
- The game becomes increasingly challenging and difficult
- Adapted from Bill MacKenty at http://www.mackenty.org/index.php/site/comments/evaluting_educational_potential_in_a_cots_game/
Game Play Supports the Following Skill Development:
- multi-tasking (e-juggling)
- hand/feet-eye coordination
Types of Games and Simulations
- Numeric: give participants certain parameters (budgets, number of units, costs, etc.) and ask them to make decisions based on them.
- Scenario: give participants decision trees to follow and give them feedback on the consequences of their decisions.
- Interactive: using Q&As and other documentation, these simulations ask learners to respond to particular information that is presented during a scenario.
- Manual: includes board games and other methods that simulate certain conditions so learners see progressions and connections without the involvement of technology.
- Nielsen Business Media, Inc.
- Well-designed serious games "teach by stimulating the imagination, sparking curiosity, fostering discussion and encouraging a spirit of competitive exploration across a variety of domains.”
What Games Teach Us
- Virtual Heroes CEO Jerry Heneghan.
Why Play Games and Sims for Learning?
- practice already-acquired knowledge and skills;
- identify gaps or weaknesses in knowledge or skills;
- serve as a summary activity or review;
- develop new relationships among concepts or principles
Some Questions to Ask When Evaluating Games
- How compelling or engaging was the experience?
- How comfortable did you feel with the game controls
- Did you feel you were playing or learning?
- Did the graphic quality help or hinder the experience?
- What kind of instructional design could you observe in the game?
- Did you choose to continue on to the next level or stage when you had the opportunity?
Digital Games and Sims for Learning: A Few Examples
- Math, Science, Social Studies, Business, Health and so much more!
Role of the Game Designer
- Use playtesters (critical friend)
Responsibility of the Game Designer
- Importance of “Backwards Design” – knowing what you want to accomplish before you begin.
- Importance of focusing on the teaching above the game/simulation
Player Experience Goals
- Goals that the game designer sets for the type of experience players will have during the game.
- Descriptions of the interesting and unique situations you hope players will find themselves
- Learning how to set player experience goals means getting inside the heads of the players
Elements of a Successful Game
- A range of abilities required to solve the encounter
- Skill required in using the abilities
What Type of Player are You?
- The Competitor : plays to win
- The Explorer : plays for adventure
- The Collector : plays to accumulate resources
- The Achiever : plays to advance
- The Joker : plays for fun
- The Artist : plays for the creativity and design
- The Director : plays to be in charge
- The Storyteller : plays for the imagination and fantasy
- The Performer : plays to showoff
- The Craftsman : plays to construct