Learning to Win: Digital Based Games in Education


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Overview of digital based games in education including history, advantages, considerations for design and development, leading tools and open source options, bibliography

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  • Does anyone recognize these game pieces? Who had a favorite board game as a child? Why did you like that game?
  • My daughter, Sara, used to spend a lot of time babysitting Rose. It didn’t take Sara long to develop a pattern for their time together and one way to engage a precocious 5 year old is by playing games, which Rose came to expect every time they were together. One day Sara asked Rose which game she would like to play to which Rose replied: “Let’s play Candyland. I’ll be the winner!” Being sure of winning! That may be motivation for a five year old, but game designers know that when designing a successful game there is a lot more to it than that especially when it involves digital-based games for learning. 
  • In this presentation we will explore three key elements:The advantages of games in developing a 21st Century skill set of: critical thinking, teamwork, problem solving, collaboration and information literacyConsiderations for designing and developing successful games Leading tools and open source options for game design and development 
  • I chose the topic of game-based learning as a way to explore an unfamiliar genre. In the article “Moving Education Games Forward,” people’s reactions to game-based learning are categorized in three ways. They are either joyful about the idea, they cringe at the idea or they question its value. I have been skeptical that games could be used for learning on a consistent enough basis to make them worthwhile tools for anything more than a supplement to traditional course material, so with a little cringe, I put myself into the “question” category. Here’s what I learned to move me from the skeptical to the joyful acceptancecategory.
  • Youngsters have used pretend play to construct their own views of themselves within the world around them for thousands of years. Over time, adults began to provide structured games to guide their life-learning.  In the early 1980’s several trends occurred. The serious digital-based game movement began with the development of simulations for military recruitment and training and the aviation industry. Commercially available learning games, such as Jumpstart, became available and parents who purchased these games for their children to play at home, began to expect similar products in the school environment.
  • In Learning Online with Games, Simulations and Virtual Worlds, Clark Aldrich puts “games” into two categories, “frame games” and “serious games” and defines their characteristics. I have included a table that will show you these types of games side-by-side.The same topic can be used for both a frame game and a serious game. Here’s an example of how the games would differ. A Jeopardy-style game could be created to review blood type theory with high school students. Because students are not permitted to type their own blood in class anymore due to risks of infection, an interactive game fcould be created for students to practice a simple procedure for virtual blood typing.  
  • Can you see how the games I described would have the characteristics listed on this table. Would anyone like to comment?If nobody has a comment, I will point out how the GOALS of the two games differ.
  • Games allow a “safe environment” for learners to role-play, meet challenges, experiment with solutions, and reflect on the outcomes of their actions.  Learning outcomes data show that playing games stimulates changes in the brain that promote learning.  Although critics say it has been slow in coming, there is now a growing body of recent evidence demonstrating that game-based learning has a significant positive influence on K-12 test scores.Games are readily adaptable to the learning of 21st Century Competencies, including critical thinking, teamwork, problem solving, collaboration and information literacy.
  • Here I am making my first game using The GameMaker’s Apprentice. I created this game to get a feel for what it would be like to build a game from scratch. It wasn’t a very complicated game to make (I only had one mess-up), but it gave me an appreciation for some basic game mechanics and got me excited about game design. A successful game is one that learners WANT to play and that measurably improves skills. Learners must feel like players, not students or trainees.
  • Game designers use specific game mechanics, each of which can be related to proven learning principles. I have included a table that shows these game mechanics alongside their related learning principles.Would anyone like to comment on any of these relationships?If nobody has a comment, I will remark on the Conflict/scaffolding relationship. Most games are designed as a series of increasingly difficult challenges. Players must be successful at one challenge before being able to move to the next. This is a great example of scaffolding that is used in the classroom to gradually build a student’s mastery of a subject. 
  • Implementation of learning games requires the interest of educators, the support of administrators, accessible technology, adequate funding and designers who understand how to create games for learning..
  • A barrier to the design and development of digital-based learning is the cost, not so much for frame games, but definitely for serious games.  There aren’t many companies who create educational games that have the same depth as the commercially available blockbuster games. The size of the educational market is too small to make design and development of educational games profitable to the same degree. One way to offset the cost barrier is by funding partnerships with institutes of higher learning, corporations, foundations and the federal government. A barrier to implementation of games, both for corporate staff training and for K-12 education, is a “games are for play, not learning” attitude that board members, administrators and educators may have towards the genre. This can be offset by finding advocates in the “right places”, wherever they may be, for each organization. Additional implementation barriers in the current K-12 curriculum include lack of standards to address games for learning, and the logistics of incorporating games into the school day. The difficulty of incorporating learning assessment tools into games can also be challenging when teaching high-order skills such as critical thinking and teamwork.Lack of appropriate technology can be a barrier to implementation. Problems include issues with browser type, network speed, network capabilities and security issues. This can be offset by adequate planning at the beginning of the game selection process.
  • When I say Federal Trade Commission to you, what comes to mind? (Take responses) So, nobody thought of the word FUN? Here’s a screen capture from the FTC website. It’s my 10 year old niece’s current favorite website for playing games. She especially likes CandyTooth Kingdom, where youngsters can learn about supply and demand by guessing the prices of candy. Who knew? Many foundations and corporations have free, easy-to-access, on-line games that educators can use to increase topic awareness. Some of the ones I discovered are included in the Presentation Materials section of our Moodle site.
  • Many game design tools allow users to create games via templates and point-and-click actions. Free and easy on-line options include ClassTools and Adventure Game Studio. For-purchase options include Qube (used in the corporate world), kar2ouche, Adventure Maker, Clickteam and, with a little ingenuity, Articulate .
  • Open source game engines allow game development via systems of reusable software components. Although they give users more flexibility than off-the-shelf options, they require knowledge of programming language and platform integration. They include Irrlicht Engine, the Gamebook Engine, Blender, OpenSceneGraph. Links to the websites of the tools I mentioned here are included in the Presentation Materials section of our Moodle site.  
  • The future is bright for digital-based learning games with experts predicting higher acceptance, wider audiences and lower costs.
  • Getting people excited about game design and the prospect of games for education are the keys to the future. The ALICE project from Carnegie Mellon University, was developed to generate excitement about game design in young students. Organizations such as The Institute of Play, The eLearning Guild, The Digital Games Research Association and The Game Theory Society all promote digital-based games as learning tools. Locally, teachers have access to such events as the recent Pennsylvania Educational Technology Expo & Conference and HU’s summer 2010 Educators’ Technology Clinics and the 2010 Learning and Entertainment Evolution Forum.
  • It is academia that will produce the game-makers of tomorrow. Universities including our own Harrisburg University, MIT and Drexel University will continue to recruit students into Learning Technology and similar undergraduate and graduate programs. 
  • In summary, you have had an opportunity to learn about:The advantages of digital based learning gamesConsiderations that need to be taken for their design, development and implementation Some of the leading tools for purchase as well as no-cost and open source options The game-makers of the future
  • This is the Rose of today. She is 15 years old now. Her plan is to study Physical Education in college. How will she use digital-based games with her own students? One thing that I like to imagine Rose doing is working with a class of students who are physically unable to play tennis or pick up a bowling ball. I think that she will be helping them to have those virtual experiences in ways that we cannot yet imagine.
  • Learning to Win: Digital Based Games in Education

    1. 1. Learning to Win:Digital-Based Games in EducationNancy Konopka LTMS 510, Spring 2010<br />
    2. 2. Rose<br />2<br />
    3. 3. Exploring games<br />3<br />Design Development<br />Implementation<br />Advantages<br /> for<br /> Learning<br />Leading<br />Tools<br />
    4. 4. Exploring games<br />4<br />Cringe<br />Joy<br />Question<br />Joy<br />
    5. 5. History<br />5<br />1980’s<br />Pretend play<br />
    6. 6. Definitions<br />6<br />Frame Games Serious Games<br />
    7. 7. Definitions<br />7<br />
    8. 8. Advantages for Learning<br />8<br />Promotes <br />Learning<br />Safe <br />Environment<br />Increases<br />Scores<br />21st Century<br />Comps<br />Improves Cognition<br />
    9. 9. Design and Development<br />9<br />
    10. 10. Design and Development<br />10<br />
    11. 11. Implementation<br />11<br />
    12. 12. Barriers<br />12<br />Cost<br />Attitude<br />Technology<br />Curriculum<br />
    13. 13. Leading Tools<br />ftc.gov<br />FTC<br />13<br />
    14. 14. Leading Tools: Point and Click<br />14<br />No-cost<br />For-purchase<br />
    15. 15. Leading Tools: Open Source<br />15<br />Game Engines<br />
    16. 16. Bright Future<br />16<br />
    17. 17. Bright Future<br />17<br />Inspiration<br />Organizations<br />Events<br />
    18. 18. Bright Future<br />Harrisburg University<br />Carnegie Mellon University<br />Drexel University<br />18<br />Academia<br />
    19. 19. Bright Future<br />Advantages<br />Design, Development and Implementation<br />Leading Tools<br />Game Makers of the Future<br />19<br />Summary<br />
    20. 20. Bright Future<br />20<br />Rose<br />2010 and beyond<br />
    21. 21. 21<br />Questions?<br />
    22. 22. Aldrich, C. (2009). Learning Online with Games, Simulations, and Virtual Worlds: Strategies for Online Instruction (Online Teaching and Learning Series (OTL)). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.<br /> <br />Annetta, L. A. (2008). Video Games in Education: Why They Should Be Used and How They Are Being Used . Theory into Practice,47, 229-239.<br /> <br />Beal, T. (2006). Getting Real Results: How to Add Dramatic Power to Your e-Learning. <br />Learning Solutions Magazine, March 20. Retrieved February 2, 2010, from http://www.learningsolutionsmag.com/articles/232/getting-real-results-how-to-add-dramatic-<br />power-to-your-e-learning/page2<br /> <br />Bennett, S., Maton, K., & Kervin, i. (2008). The Digital Natives Debate: A Critical Review of the Evidence . British Journal of Educational Technology, 39 (5), 775-786.<br /> <br />Bolch, M. (2009). Games People Play. Training Magazine, (October/December), 53-56.<br /> <br />Chuang, T., & Chen, W. (2009). Effect of Computer-Based Video Games on Children: An Experimental Study. Educational Technology & Society, 12(2), 1-10.<br /> <br />Foreman, J. F. (2003). Next Generation: Educational Technology versus the Lecture. <br />Educause Review. , March/April, 12-23.<br /> <br />Gee, J. P. (2007). What Video Games Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy: Revised and Updated Edition (2 ed.). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.<br />Continued, next page...<br /> <br />Resources<br />22<br />
    23. 23. Gibson, D. (2006). Games and Simulations in Online Learning: Research And Development Frameworks (illustrated edition ed.). Hershey: Information Science Publishing.<br /> <br />Habgood, J., & Overmars, M. (2006). The Game Maker's Apprentice: Game Development for Beginners. New York: Apress.<br /> <br />Klopfer, E., Osterweil, S., & Salen, K. (e.d.). Moving Education Games Forward. Creative Commons. Retrieved February 1, 2010, from http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/<br /> <br />Liu, E. Z., & Lin, C. H. (2009). Developing Evaluative Indicators for Educational Computer Games. <br />British Journal of Educational Technology, Vol 40 (1), 174-178.<br /> <br />Mayo, M. J. (2007). Games for Science and Engineering Education. Communcations of the ACM, 50(7), 30-35.<br /> <br />Oblinger, D. G. (2004). The Next Generation of Educational Engagement. Journal of Interactive Media in Education, May. Retrieved February 2, 2010, from http://jime.open.ac.uk/2004/8/oblinger-2004-8-disc-paper.html<br /> <br />Prensky, M., & Thiagarajan, S. (. (2001). Digital Game-Based Learning. New York: Paragon House Publishers.<br /> <br />Prestera, G. (2007). Put the Learning Back in e-Learning- Making it Meaningful, Relevant, and Engaging. Learning Solutions Magazine, March 27. Retrieved February 2, 2010, from http://www.learningsolutionsmag.com/articles/231/put-the-learning-back-in-e-learning--making-it-meaningful-relevant-and-engaging<br /> <br />Ritterfeld, U., Shen, C., Wang, H., Nocera, L., & Wong, W. L. (2009). Multimodality and Interactivity: Connecting Properties. Cyberpsychology and Behavior, 12(6), 691-697.<br /> <br />Steinkuehler, C., & Duncan, S. (2008). Scientific Habits of Mind in Virtual Worlds. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 2008. Retrieved February 2, 2010, from http://website.education.wisc.edu/steinkuehler/papers/SteinkuehlerDuncan2008.pdf<br /> <br /> <br />APA formatting by BibMe.org.<br />Resources<br />23<br />
    24. 24. Image Credits<br />24<br />Credits listed as images appear: right to left and top to bottom<br />Slide 1: Hasbro Games, 1988 (Nancy Konopka)<br />Slide 2: Susann Samples; Hasbro Games, 1988 (Nancy Konopka)<br />Slide 3: Nancy Konopka<br />Slide 4: Riverdeep Interactive Learning Ltd. 2007<br />Slide 5: Riverdeep Interactive Learning Ltd. 2007 <br />Slide 6: http://www.leapfrog.com/en/Demos.html;http://www.americasarmy.com/downloads/<br />Slide 7: Aldrich, C. (2009). Learning Online with Games, Simulations, and Virtual Worlds: Strategies for Online Instruction (Online Teaching and Learning Series (OTL)). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.<br />Slide 8: Mattel (Nancy Konopka)<br />Slide 10: Habgood, J., & Overmars, M. (2006). The Game Maker's Apprentice: Game Development for Beginners. New York: Apress (Nancy Konopka);<br />Robert Keefer<br />Slide 13: Riverdeep Interactive Learning Ltd. 2007<br />Slide 14: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/youarehere/site.html#/the-food-court<br />: <br />
    25. 25. Image Credits<br />25<br />Credits listed as images appear: right to left and top to bottom<br />Slide 14:<br />http://classtools.net/<br />http://www.adventuregamestudio.co.uk/<br />http://www.adventuremaker.com/<br />http://www.qube.com/<br />http://www.articulate.com/<br />http://www.clickteam.com/website/usa/<br />http://www.kar2ouche.com/<br />Slide 15:<br />http://irrlicht.sourceforge.net/<br />http://www.blender.org/<br />http://www.openscenegraph.org/projects/osg<br />http://www.freegameengines.org/gamebook-engine/<br />Slide 16: Harrisburg University, http://www.harrisburgu.edu<br />Slide 17:<br />http://www.alice.org/<br />http://www.peteandc.org/<br />http://harrisburgu.edu<br />http://www.digra.org/<br />http://www.instituteofplay.com/<br />http://www.elearningguild.com/<br />http://www.gametheorysociety.org/<br />
    26. 26. Image Credits<br />26<br />Credits listed as images appear: right to left and top to bottom<br />Slide 18: Harrisburg University, http://www.harrisburgu.edu<br />Slide 19: Harrisburg University, http://www.harrisburgu.edu<br />Slide 20: Susann Samples<br />Slide 21: Hasbro Games, 1988 (Nancy Konopka)<br />