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Best Practices Around Implementing Educational Games


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Presented at STEMxCon 2013, Saturday, September 21st, and 1:00 EST.

Published in: Education, Technology

Best Practices Around Implementing Educational Games

  1. 1. Tropf - Educational Games Slide Best Practices Around Implementing Educational Games 1
  2. 2. Tropf - Educational Games Slide About Me 2 Doctoral Candidate: School Psychology @ University of Florida Specialization: Program Evaluation Minor: Research & Evaluation Methodology Dissertation (Pending): Motivation, Goal Orientation, and Academic Performance in Educational Games and Anity Spaces School Psychology Intern with Alachua County Public Schools (Gainesville, Florida area) Co/founder & CEO of Immersed Games (early ed tech startup)
  3. 3. Tropf - Educational Games Slide Agenda 3
  4. 4. Tropf - Educational Games Slide 1 Agenda 3
  5. 5. Tropf - Educational Games Slide 1 Intro Why care? 2 Agenda 3
  6. 6. Tropf - Educational Games Slide 1 Intro Why care? 2 Literature Review Theory & empirical evidence 3 Agenda 3
  7. 7. Tropf - Educational Games Slide 1 Intro Why care? 2 Literature Review Theory & empirical evidence 3 Agenda 3
  8. 8. Tropf - Educational Games Slide 1 Intro Why care? 2 Literature Review Theory & empirical evidence 3 Best Practices for implementing 4 Agenda 3
  9. 9. Tropf - Educational Games Slide 1 Intro Why care? 2 Literature Review Theory & empirical evidence 3 Best Practices for implementing 4 Resources Tools for finding games Agenda 3
  10. 10. Tropf - Educational Games Slide 4 “In some ways the world of education is going to go through one of the most massive changes in the next five years than it has seen in the last three thousand years. It’s a perfect storm.” -Nolan Bushnell (Tack, 2013)
  11. 11. should they have to disconnect in schools, or can we use this interest? 97% of teens aged 12-17 play video games including: computer, web, mobile, and console 50% of teens reported that they played a game “yesterday” Those that play daily spend at least 1 hour per day Students empowered & engaged in digital media with these Tropf - Educational Games Slide Ubiquitous Technology 5(Prensky, 2001a)
  12. 12. Tropf - Educational Games Slide 6 Video games present a unique opportunity to engage students as they “situate meaning in a multimodal space through embodied experiences to solve problems.” -James Paul Gee Educational Games (Gee, 2007, p. 40)
  13. 13. Tropf - Educational Games Slide Literature Review 7 brief
  14. 14. Tropf - Educational Games Slide Defining Games Key Dimensions control sensory stimuli fantasy challenge 8 rules & goals mystery reaching flow (Garris, Ahlers, & Driskell, 2002)
  15. 15. Tropf - Educational Games Slide Learning through Gameplay User Judgments: interest, enjoyment (fun & flow), confidence, task involvement When positive, user behaviors are highly motivated System feedback continues to motivate players 9 ! (Garris et al., 2002) (Garris et al., 2002)
  16. 16. Tropf - Educational Games Slide Example: Quest Atlantis 10(Barab et al., 2005)
  17. 17. Tropf - Educational Games Slide Meta-analysis on interactive simulations and games Resulted in significantly higher cognitive gains than traditional instruction, across all situations and variables When separated (simulations / games), games not reliable result - more research needed Empirical Research Vogel et al., 2006 Hays, 2005 11 Meta-analysis on games for instructional purposes Games can be eective, but not supported to be more eective then other well-designed instructional methods (especially due to methodological issues) Instructional support around games important to improving eectiveness of experience
  18. 18. Tropf - Educational Games Slide Qualitative meta-analysis 65 game eectiveness studies: 34 positive, 17 mixed, 12 no dierence, 1 negative Only 10 examined learner characteristics (gender mixed results on impact; low SES enjoyed most but diculty getting knowledge from game) Empirical Research Ke, 2009 Recent Studies 12 I compiled additional recent studies not included in Ke Of 8 learning eectiveness studies: 6 games more eective, 2 no significant dierences
  19. 19. “Games do motivate. They motivate players to play the game. This can be beneficial if the game is designed to target and meet instructional objectives. Otherwise, learners may spend their time learning to be successful at the game without receiving instructional benefits from these experiences.” Tropf - Educational Games Slide Research on Motivation Ke (2009) - games encourage motivation across varied learners and situations Hays (2005) - evidence often anecdotal support Recent studies - increased engagement, positive attitudes, higher intrinsic motivation 13 (Hays, 2005, p. 46)
  20. 20. Ke (2009) six themes: Sparse literature base Empirical studies have conflicting results Fragmented empirical research Much research anecdotal or descriptive Not many longitudinal studies Some knowledge domains (math, physics, language arts) studied more frequently Tropf - Educational Games Slide Research Limitations because many articles are opinions rather than data 14 Also: Methodological issues such as no control / comparison group (Vogel et al., 2006; Hays, 2005) More need for learning characteristics and pedagogical environments Most studies in Ke analysis included less than 2 hours of gameplay one was a single 3-minute session
  21. 21. Tropf - Educational Games Slide Classroom Implementation 15
  22. 22. kids can help with this! Content area expertise is more important than familiarity with games Being tech friendly helps – particularly in the early stages. EduGames are inherently student–centered and constructivist. Teachers should have the temperament to work in this fashion. Familiarity with dierentiated instruction is very useful in most deployments. Politically, it helps to have teachers who can hold the respect of their peers and administrators. Find teachers who proactively seek eective new tools for students. Tropf - Educational Games Slide Teachers’ Implementation 16(Wilson, 2009)
  23. 23. Tropf - Educational Games Slide 17 “ My niche when working with the students is helping them understand the math concepts that they must know and utilize. …They seek me out for help when they want to…develop higher scores as math concepts are required for them to generate high scores.” “I am very involved in helping them contextualize decisions.” (Wilson, 2009)
  24. 24. kids can help with this! Content area expertise is more important than familiarity with games Being tech friendly helps – particularly in the early stages. EduGames are inherently student–centered and constructivist. Teachers should have the temperament to work in this fashion. Familiarity with dierentiated instruction is very useful in most deployments. Politically, it helps to have teachers who can hold the respect of their peers and administrators. Find teachers who proactively seek eective new tools for students. Tropf - Educational Games Slide Teachers’ Implementation 18(Wilson, 2009)
  25. 25. Find instructional leaders who can manage dierentiated instruction – of teachers. Games are collaborative and cross–disciplinary – Administrators should have strong coaching and team building skills. Administrators should genuinely value education technology and provide support for teachers who try new approaches. Tropf - Educational Games Slide Administrators’ Implementation 19(Wilson, 2009)
  26. 26. Tropf - Educational Games Slide Common Teacher Concerns 20(Klopfer et al., 2009; Wilson, 2009) 1 Need to cover mandated content areas 2 Skeptical of new technologies (and lack of infastructure) 3 Unfamiliarity with games (and dicult to learn)
  27. 27. Tropf - Educational Games Slide 21 Strong Learning Framework Endogenous Learning Embedded Assessment Selecting a Game
  28. 28. Pedagogical Foundations Many games do not specify pedagogical foundations Review of educational games between 2000-2007: Of 55 games, only 15 stated their pedagogical foundations After contacting designers, confirmed only 18 based on established learning theories and instructional strategies Linked to Learning Objectives Find games aligned with your standards Tropf - Educational Games Slide Strong Learning Framework 22(Kebritchi & Hirumi, 2008)
  29. 29. Learning and motivation in educational games can be done in two dierent ways Tropf - Educational Games Slide Endogenous Learning 23 Endogenous Exogenous inside of outside of
  30. 30. Endogenous content involves real engagement Problem Solving, not answering a problem to shoot (can be room for practice when students need it, such as drilling in math to learn basic facts) Great games engage in learning mechanics Cognitively: we remember what we do Tropf - Educational Games Slide Endogenous Learning 24(Wilson, 2009; Habgood & Ainsworth, 2011) useful, but doesn’t use the deeper power of games
  31. 31. Zombie Division Experiment Versions of same game: Intrinsic: integrated math into combat Extrinsic: non-math combat, M/C questions between levels Intrinsic integration of learning content vs. extrinsic version Greater learning gains in intrinsic Also played 7x longer when given option Tropf - Educational Games Slide Endogenous Learning 25(Habgood & Ainsworth, 2011)
  32. 32. Tropf - Educational Games Slide 26 “In a poorly designed game, a player may have to memorize a formula to earn the right to blast some aliens. In a properly designed EduGame, the student should use the formula to blast the aliens.” (Wilson, 2009)
  33. 33. Tropf - Educational Games Slide Reach for the Sun 27 teaches about the life cycle of a plant as learn about photosynthesis, resources needed, plant anatomy, and reproduction
  34. 34. Tropf - Educational Games Slide Crazy Plant Shop 28 teaches about heredity and reproduction as they learn how to determine probabilities for genotypes and phenotypes using Punnett Squares and pedigrees
  35. 35. Games can produce deep levels of assessment Use these for authentic measure of learning progress Many companies have tools built in Assess with 21st Century Skills Can also mix paper assessments Tropf - Educational Games Slide Embedded Assessment 29(Wilson, 2009) comfortable assessment to verify learning
  36. 36. Tropf - Educational Games Slide 30 “I have certainly found that when students write essays over the subject matter [causes of WWII], they have a deeper understanding of the problems faced at the beginning of WWII.” “…the essays on appeasement..tend to be more sympathetic to decision–makers and less unrealistic about the complexities of decisions. So it is a very dierent type of learning than traditional lectures.” (Wilson, 2009)
  37. 37. Good educational games employe academic knowledge as a tool for achieving goals. Good educational games lend themselves to systemic understandings. Good educational games employ sophisticated game design techniques. Good educational games oer multiple ways of playing them, so that players can experiment with a variety of identities in a group. Good educational games pique players’ interests. Good educational games are ideological worlds that instantiate particular ways of viewing and valuing the world. Good games are social, in that they encourage social interaction of dierent forms and lead to productive practices (fan communities, fan fiction, machinima). Good games inspire creativity and smooth ramps to usher players from users to producers. Tropf - Educational Games Slide Squire’s Definition 31(Squire, 2011, p.36-37)
  38. 38. Tropf - Educational Games Slide 32 Blending Learning Providing Support Allowing Failure & Experimentation Debriefing Within the Classroom
  39. 39. Combine the game with what you are already doing in the classroom Adding another model of learning Reinforce learning with additional techniques Improve whole class participation & discussion Tropf - Educational Games Slide Blended Learning 33(Wilson, 2009) common experience to base discussion on
  40. 40. Particularly for non-gamers Although most children play games, often casual Still need support understanding structure & interface Have clear goals to help students stay on task & understand objectives of playing Will need extra time at first for tech issues & learning Grouping: promotes collaboration & teamwork, discussion 2-3 students per group try to mix gamers/non-games, strengths Tropf - Educational Games Slide Providing Support 34(Wilson, 2009)
  41. 41. Tropf - Educational Games Slide 35 “What is dierent for our students is that they have become teachers to each other. The team competition aspect forced them to stop shooting each other and work together to beat other teams. This involved game strategies and math skills.” “Students report that they enjoy working collaboratively and that the trappings of middle school culture and peer pressure disappear from the equation when working in the virtual world.” (Wilson, 2009)
  42. 42. Game scaolds for students Resources to feel they can get better Safe pace to experiment and give lots of eort Failing is part of gamer culture Can use for reflective discussion Tropf - Educational Games Slide Allowing Failure & Experimentation 36(Waismann, 2013; Wilson, 2009) “Research shows that gamers spend on average 80% of their time failing in game worlds, but instead of giving up, they stick with the dicult challenge and use the feedback of the game to get better.”
  43. 43. Tropf - Educational Games Slide Debriefing 37(Garris et al., 2002) ! “The link between the game cycle and learning objectives is represented by debriefing, or reviewing and reflecting on game play in order to ensure game events become learning.”
  44. 44. Tropf - Educational Games Slide 38 “Such learning is not dependent on the existence of a debrief. A good debrief, however, allows the individuals who were in the experience to share, cross-fertilize, and to generalize their learnings from and between all who participated in the same experience.” -Joe Wolfe (Crookall, 2010)
  45. 45. Kolb’s Model leading learnings through stages from experiencing to learning Tropf - Educational Games Slide Debriefing 39(Nicholson, 2012, p 118) 1 What the learnings felt and experienced during the event Introduces other points of view; engages individual's experiences with others’ experiences Learners relate concepts in activity to previously learned concepts in class 2 3 4 Make a connection of activity to the real world
  46. 46. Tropf - Educational Games Slide Tools 40
  47. 47. EdSurge Edtech Index Playing Science Games for Change Educade including lesson plans around games BrainPop Tropf - Educational Games Slide Sites for Discovery 41
  48. 48. Tropf - Educational Games Slide DISCUSSION ? 42
  49. 49. Annetta, L. A., Minogue, J., Holmes, S. Y., & Cheng, M.-T. (2009). Investigating the impact of video games on high school students’ engagement and learning about genetics. Computers & Education, 53(1), 74–85. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2008.12.020 Bai, H., Pan, W., Hirumi, A., & Kebritchi, M. (2012). Assessing the eectiveness of a 3-D instructional game on improving mathematics achievement and motivation of middle school students. British Journal of Educational Technology, 43(6), 993–1003. doi:10.1111/j. 1467-8535.2011.01269.x Barab, S., Thomas, M., Dodge, T., Carteaux, R., & Tuzun, H. (2005). Making learning fun: Quest Atlantis, a game without guns. Educational Technology Research and Development, 53(1), 86–107. Crookall, D. (2010). Serious games, debriefing, and simulation/gaming as a discipline. Serious Gaming, 41. DOIL 10.1177/1046878110390784 Garris, R., Ahlers, R., & Driskell, J. E. (2002). Games, motivation, and learning: A research and practice Model. Simulation & Gaming, 33(4), 441–467. doi: 10.1177/1046878102238607 Gee, J. P. (2004). Situated Language and Learning: A Critique of Traditional Schooling. New York, NY: Routledge. Gee, J. P. (2007). What Video Games Have to Teach us About Learning and Literacy. New York, NY: Palgrave MacMillan. Tropf - Educational Games Slide References 43
  50. 50. Habgood, M.P.J., & Ainsworth, S.E. (2011). Motivating children to learn eectively: exploring the value of intrinsic integration in educational games. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 20 (2), 169-206. Retrieved Hays, R. T. (2005). The eectiveness of instructional games: a literature review and discussion. Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division, 1–63. Ke, F. (2008). A case study of computer gaming for math: Engaged learning from gameplay? Computers & Education, 51(4), 1609–1620. doi:10.1016/j.compedu. 2008.03.003 Ke, F. (2009). A qualitative meta-analysis of computer games as learning tools. Handbook of Research on Eective Electronic Gaming in Education, 1, 1–32. Kebritchi, M., & Hirumi, A. (2008). Examining the pedagogical foundations of modern educational computer games. Computers & Education, 51(4), 1729–1743. doi:10.1016/ j.compedu.2008.05.004 Kebritchi, M., Hirumi, A., & Bai, H. (2010). The eects of modern mathematics computer games on mathematics achievement and class motivation. Computers & Education, 55(2), 427–443. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2010.02.007 Klopfer, E., Osterweil, S., & Salen, K. (2009). Moving learning games forward: Obstacles & opportunities & openness. The Education Arcade. Retrieved papers/MovingLearningGamesForward_EdArcade.pdf Tropf - Educational Games Slide References 44
  51. 51. Marina Papastergiou. (2009). Digital Game-Based Learning in high school Computer Science education: Impact on educational eectiveness and student motivation. Computers & Education, 52(1), 1–12. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2008.06.004 Miller, L. M., Chang, C.-I., Wang, S., Beier, M. E., & Klisch, Y. (2011). Learning and motivational impacts of a multimedia science game. Computers & Education, 57(1), 1425–1433. doi: 10.1016/j.compedu.2011.01.016 Murphy Paul, A. (2012). What’s the secret sauce to a great educational game? Mind/Shift. Retrieved educational-game/ Nicholson, S. (2012). Completing the experience: debriefing in experiential educational games. In the Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference on Society and Information Technologies. Winter Garden, FL: International Institute of Informatics and Systemics, 117-121. Prensky, M. (2001a). Digital game-based learning. New York: McGraw-Hill. Prensky, M. (2001b). Digital natives, digital immigrants Part 2: Do they really think dierently? On the Horizon, 9(6), 1–6. Squire, K. (2011). Video Games and Learning: Teaching and Participatory Culture in the Digital Age. New York: Teachers College Press. Tropf - Educational Games Slide References 45
  52. 52. Track, D. (2013). Serious games and the future of education. Forbes. Retrieved http:// education/ Tüzün, H., Yılmaz-Soylu, M., Karakuş, T., İnal, Y., & Kızılkaya, G. (2009). The eects of computer games on primary school students’ achievement and motivation in geography learning. Computers & Education, 52(1), 68–77. doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2008.06.008 Vogel, J. J., Vogel, D. S., Cannon-Bowers, J., Bowers, C. A., Muse, K., & Wright, M. (2006). Computer gaming and interactive simulations for learning: A meta-analysis. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 34(3), 229–243. Waismann, C. (2013). Kids & Digital Games. MindCET. Retrieved http:// Wilson, L. (2009). Best practices for using gamed & simulations in the classroom: Guidelines for K-12 educators. Software & Information Industry Association Education Division. Retrieved option=com_docman&task=doc_view&gid=610&tmpl=component&format=raw&Itemid=5 9 Tropf - Educational Games Slide References 46