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A Magic Bullet for Educational Games

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A longer and more detailed version of the SITE talk with a similar name. This is a concept and model I have been developing for some years. It's a simple, flexible and powerful mechanism for looking at and talking about games.

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A Magic Bullet for Educational Games

  1. 1. A Magic Bullet for Educational GamesCNIE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet (for Education) 1
  2. 2. What am I Playing Now?CNIE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet (for Education) 2
  3. 3. The Problem: • Games are complex • Assessments designed for commercial games miss the mark • Assessments designed for ‘traditional’ instruction also misses the mark • Summative assessment not always an option • Critical reviews are hard to do (and even harder to find)CNIE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet (for Education) 3
  4. 4. A Solution • Model for evaluating and assessing games • Subjective tool • Learning NEED NOT = education • Currently developed for single- player gamesCNIE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet (for Education) 4
  5. 5. CLAIM: All learning in a game can be classified in one (or more) categories: 1. Things I CAN Learn 2. Things I MUST Learn 3. Collateral Learning 4. External LearningCNIE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet (for Education) 5
  6. 6. The Key Relative ProportionsCNIE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet (for Education) 6
  7. 7. Things I Can Learn • deliberately designed by those who created the game • Includes things designers *hope* people will take up • Includes game-specific objectives as well as general onesCNIE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet (for Education) 7
  8. 8. Things I MUST Learn • should be a subset of the first category • Required in order to achieve a specific goal or to win • Includes strategyCNIE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet (for Education) 8
  9. 9. Collateral Learning • other things we can learn – these are not necessarily designed into the game, although sometimes designers may hope that players choose to take these up • Have NO impact on success in the gameCNIE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet (for Education) 9
  10. 10. External Learning • not technically considered part of the normal gameplay • CAN impact success in the game • Includes social learning and outside communities • Also includes Cheats – typically designed into the game for testing purposes – often left in the game once it ships – deliberate design elements on the part of the designersCNIE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet (for Education) 10
  11. 11. Re-cap • No guarantees • A useful lens • Can indicate where we need to make changes / additions / deletions Some ExamplesCNIE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet (for Education) 11
  12. 12. The Ed Piece • When specifically intended for education / learning, we need more. • Sub-divide into 3 additional classifications...... Defn: Serious Games Games design for purposes other than pure entertainment. Includes but is not limited to games for learning.CNIE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet (for Education) 12
  13. 13. The Ed Piece • Operational Game controls & some mechanics Necessary overhead • Educational This is the critical piece for us. • Elective Anything that doesn’t fit into the other 2 categories (“fluff”)CNIE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet (for Education) 13
  14. 14. The Ed Piece • Operational – How much is reasonable? • Educational – How do you plan to use the game? • Elective – Can add value – BUT watch out for the Decorative Media TrapCNIE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet (for Education) 14
  15. 15. It`s all about balanceCNIE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet (for Education) 15
  16. 16. A Few Examples • The following are a few examples that illustrate the basic model.CNIE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet (for Education) 16
  17. 17. A Good Game • Good balance • Nothing I MUST learn that is outside of what I CAN learn. • Allows for learning outside of game and from cheats and community.CNIE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet (for Education) 17
  18. 18. A Good Game • Things I MUST learn < ½ of what I CAN learn • External learning not (always) necessary • Collateral learning possible Some ExamplesCNIE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet (for Education) 18
  19. 19. MUST learn = CAN learn • Nothing to learn that isn’t part of the ‘goal’ • Often edutainment fits in here • Lack of collateral learning opportunities implies a single-purpose game (or an impoverished one) • Game on Rails Some ExamplesCNIE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet (for Education) 19
  20. 20. MUST learn ≈ CAN learn • Challenging  for some, frustrating • Often requires players to repeat plays and levels many times • Game on Rails Some ExamplesCNIE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet (for Education) 20
  21. 21. MUST learn ≈ CAN learn • Puzzles • Mini-games Some ExamplesCNIE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet (for Education) 21
  22. 22. MUST learn > CAN learn • Need outside help / resources to get into the game or progress • CAN still be good, but this has serious implications for audience and support requirements – Very risky in serious games Some ExamplesCNIE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet (for Education) 22
  23. 23. MUST learn << CAN learn • Lacks direction • Aimless • Toy, not game • Twitch game Some ExamplesCNIE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet (for Education) 23
  24. 24. MUST learn too small • Not much to hold interest • Can get through game without learning anything That is what the game was meant to be. In reality, the game has no gameplay. A lack of AI means that the opposing truck does not even move from its starting location, so there is really no "race" to begin with. Winning is virtually guaranteed. As well, the game lacks collision detecting which means you can go through any objects like houses, boulders, trees, and bridges that you are required to cross. Besides this, the trucks do not have any top speed, which means you are able to accelerate into infinite, even when going backwards. Traveling off of the edge of the map is possible in the game. Despite the fact that the back of the box and advertising said it would have police chases, absolutely no police cars are actually present within the game. Source: http://www.mobygames.com/game/big-rigs-over-the-road-racing Some ExamplesCNIE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet (for Education) 24
  25. 25. Little Game • Short form game Some ExamplesCNIE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet (for Education) 25
  26. 26. Drill Game • Short form game – Bad if not short – Bad if not interesting.... Some ExamplesCNIE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet (for Education) 26
  27. 27. Short Form Game • Can be great if carefully designed • Must be designed as <= 5 minute game. • Many puzzle games fit here. Some ExamplesCNIE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet (for Education) 27
  28. 28. MUST learn includes collateral learning. • Can make for great game • Tends to worry traditional educators • Can be very useful in serious games • Games do not always need to be self-contained Some ExamplesCNIE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet (for Education) 28
  29. 29. MUST learn = 0 • No direction • Even SIMs has some MUST learn • Game on rails • This is a toy Some ExamplesCNIE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet (for Education) 29
  30. 30. No collateral learning. • Imbalance between CAN & MUST Some ExamplesCNIE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet (for Education) 30
  31. 31. Thanks! Katrin Becker, PhDCNIE 2012 © Becker 2012 Magic Bullet (for Education) 31

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