Monthly Archives: December 2013

What Makes Serious Games Effective?

From Press Release:

New Research-Based White Paper Published on Serious Learning Games Game On! Learning, the thought leader in serious learning games for the corporate learning market, has just published a new white paper on serious learning games for the corporate training market called “What Makes Serious Games Effective? — 5 Questions to Ask When Evaluating Serious Games in the Workplace”. Share on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on LinkedInEmail a friend Serious Learning Games White Paper Research on serious games suggests improved job skills can be a result of integrating a serious game into your training program. But the same research shows that effective serious games are difficult to design, and they are rare. Gainesville, Florida (PRWEB) December 17, 2013 Game On! Learning, the thought leader in serious learning games for the corporate learning market, has just published a new white paper on serious learning games for the corporate training market called “What Makes Serious Games Effective? — 5 Questions to Ask When Evaluating Serious Games in the Workplace”. The white paper is authored by Dr. Rob Foshay, a principal of The Foshay Group, a consulting firm specializing in high-value strategies for e-learning product architectures, training, and certification. He is a practice leader for The Institute for Performance Improvement, and a Certified Performance Technologist. He is also a Fellow of the International Board of Standards for Training, Performance and Instruction. “Many organizations are currently investigating and implementing learning games”, said Bryan Austin, Game On! Learning’s chief game changer. “ Most are doing so to address the increasing lack of learner engagement of traditional elearning. What those implementing learning games are finding, though, is that they are not just engaging, but that well-designed learning games more effectively anchor knowledge and increase skill proficiency than their “traditional” classroom and elearning counterparts.” Many of corporate learners like games, and play them enthusiastically when at home. For corporate learning professionals, though, the interest is in serious games: those games that are designed to have learning outcomes relevant to the job. “What you really want to know is whether the game is effective in improving job skills, not game skills”, adds Austin. “Research on serious games suggests improved job skills can be a result of integrating a serious game into your training program. But the same research shows that effective serious games are difficult to design, and they are rare.” This research-based white paper provides key elements to look for in an effective serious game. This complementary white paper can be downloaded by clicking here. About Game On! Learning Game On! Learning provides inspired online game based learning solutions that create unmatched learner engagement and produce learners who will immediately and confidently apply their newly acquired skills on-the-job. Our revolutionary “serious games” feature a highly interactive, animated video game design, fun competition versus colleagues, learner-individualized feedback, and real world learning scenarios. An extraordinarily high degree of in-course skill practice helps ramp up employee performance, increase productivity, and move your organization more rapidly forward. We deliver lasting results in an unforgettable learning experience. It’s the most exciting thing happening in organizational learning today! We help you Get Your Game On!

Science Educational Games with Max and Ruby

iPhone Screenshot 5

You don’t find too many science games for preschoolers, but this is a good one.  Max and Ruby is one of my sons favorite shows.  He was so excited to hear that they have a game with the characters from the show.  The game seems very easy at the beginning, but then it becomes more challenging as the player makes progress.   This game has good scaffolding, good graphics, good music, and most importantly good science.  My son loves it!

iGameMom writes that;

“I am a firm believer that science should, and can be taught at a very young age. I also agree it is challenging to teach science concepts to young kids. You have to convey the concept in a manner that young minds can understand and grasp. It takes the full understanding of science and early childhood education to perfect the task.  Max and Ruby Science Educational Games is a science app teaching preschool to kindergarten kids science concepts with fun engaging games.  It does wonderful job in conveying the science concepts via fun games.”

To read the full article on iGameMom click here;

http://igamemom.com/2013/12/11/play-fun-science-educational-games-with-max-and-ruby/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Igamemom+%28iGameMom%29

Not all “edu-games” are created equal.

 

Dean Groom, the Manager of Educational Development at University of New South Wales, writes that;

“The re-purposing of video games as learning tools continues to gather pace with the recent release of high-profile educational incarnations of games like SimCity and Minecraft.

Different educational games have their own different origins, and not all of them are created equal. Educational or not, schools and other institutions are being asked to place their trust in something they have historically banned or ignored.

So which games should educators invest their time and trust in?

Just games or real learning?

In the past, educational games have always differentiated themselves from commercial games – branding themselves as serious – and avoiding double-positioning of educational and commercial entertainment.

But now commercial game developers have have begun “edu-versioning” their best-selling entertainment titles, and extending sales through educational editions.

Video games are big business. It’s difficult to know exactly how big the industry is, but the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association reported retail sales for 2012 were A$1.161 billion, not including downloaded games and other downloadable content.

Interest in the potential of video games accelerated in 2008, after the Pew Research Centre reported “97% of US teens play video games.” Talk of the educational potential of games also became a popular topic for TED Talks. Jane McGonigals “Gaming can make the world better” or Gabe Zimmerman’s “How games make kids smarter” claimed games are not only educational but transformative ways to learn.

Learning re-branded

Educational video games are still mainly produced by academic institutions or by commercial developers.

Institutions have begun working with independent developers – for example, Filament Games and E-Line Media – to translate academic theories and research into games. These are usually designed for student use at school.

Online community projects – like Minecraft in Schools – editable by academics and others are in a similar category. These involve using an existing framework and adapting them to include lesson ideas and assessment tools.

Often these types of games include “teacher only” powers to enforce particular learning styles or behaviours on students. And they sit outside of institutional or commercial control, normally used independently by teachers.

Australian school teachers have taken to using educational version of Minecraft to teach spacial and numeracy skills.

Games described as educational are also sold through online stores like Apples iTunes or Google Play. Though prolific in number, they appear devoid of alignment with educational institutions and are generally cheap or free forms of entertainment.

The newest form of edu-game are well-funded commercial games retooled for education markets. There are several examples such as Electronic Arts’ (EA) The Sims, Mojang’s Minecraft and Valve’s Portal.

Portal, rebranded TeachWithPortals, attempts to combine Valve’s seminal game with school science problems. Here, non-gaming teachers can find resources for easier classroom implementation than in non-commercial open software games, which require some assumed knowledge.

But this approach is frequently criticised for fundamentally changing the nature of the game. While keeping familiar aesthetics, these adaptations shift the gaming environment to one teachers feel more comfortable with.

What is a good educational game?

Educational games are often sold as a “better than nothing” proposition, which demotivates some students, and does little to build a new understanding with educators about the extent new media like video games can play in education.

They also allow the companies developing these games to find a new educational distribution channel. For schools, this new era of educational games is a confusing mix of popular culture, social media’s ascendancy, new channels of communication, and a growing research base.

Valve has tried to leverage an existing game into an educational product, but not everyone is convinced it will helped students learn.

Numerous studies have shown teachers must feel the digital technologies are competent and reliable – in essence, trust these technologies – in order to use them with students.

To establish which game-titles are better than others requires teachers to work out how learning occurs in games – empowering students to exchange ideas rather than continue to see the games as a new way of delivering the same teacher-dominated pedagogy.

Good educational games will provide an enriched, personalised learning experience, the ability for the teacher to alter the goals, support for both formal and informal learning opportunities and the potential for social networking.

Games like Minecraft, Terraria, King Arthurs Gold offer these kinds of shared spaces, co-creation, adventure, immediacy, interactivity, persistence and community.

Teachers have become more comfortable with some long-established games – most notably Quest Atlantis – being in classrooms as part of a broader push to bring new technology to learning.

A newer example is the ABC Splash project, which combines film, book, game and live events that school-systems have struggled to sustain or maintain interest in.”

To read the full article click here;

http://theconversation.com/edu-games-hit-the-market-but-not-all-are-are-created-equal-20148

Video Games as Tools for Learning and Recovery

video games

Sheldon Armstrong writes that;

“Many parents see video games as time-wasting distractions and encourage their children to stop playing and to focus on their studies. A growing number of teachers and scientists, however, are beginning to see these games as valuable tools in education and therapy. Video games have the ability to teach children not only basic skills, including math, physics and language arts, but broader concepts like collaboration, spatial reasoning, and critical thinking. Innovative therapists also use existing gaming systems to develop new programs to help patients recover from a variety of accidents and illnesses.

Education
Gaming offers children an alternative to the boredom they often feel when faced with traditional methods of education. Computers and tablets are such a ubiquitous part of contemporary life that it makes sense for teachers to use them in educational curriculums.

Video games are adaptable for all levels of learning. Instead of boring rote memorization that can be off putting to kids, video games offer an exciting medium to help students conceptualize theories in subjects such as math, algebra, geometry, and physics. Games can teach problem solving, provide challenges, and encourage risk-taking, all within an educational context. These games can motivate kids in their schooling.

Spatial Reasoning
Spatial reasoning is the ability to visualize and manipulate two- and three-dimensional objects. It is a vital component in the teaching of mathematics, science, engineering, and technology. Studies have linked strong spatial reasoning skills with advanced levels of creativity and innovation. Games that encourage children to solve puzzles, build structures, and craft virtual worlds also teach children spatial reasoning. Developing spatial reasoning skills through video games not only helps kids improve basic math scores, but can also prepare them for future professional work.

Critical Thinking
Critical thinking involves understanding concepts rather than memorizing facts. In video games, players are confronted with complex problems for which they must formulate solutions and take appropriate action. Often, a number of different alternatives are presented to players, forcing them to make quick choices. This process sharpens vital critical thinking skills.

Collaboration
Though gamers are often stereotyped as people sitting alone in front of a screen, in reality, most game play is a collaborative process. Many games have multi-player options in which two players, each with a controller, work together to solve a problem or reach a goal. In a larger context, massively multi-player online role-playing games in which players from all over the Internet join forces in virtual worlds to combat foes and achieve objectives require sophisticated teamwork skills. Video games enable students to interact socially while they simultaneously develop problem-solving skills.”

To read the full article by Sheldon Armstrong click here;

http://thetechscoop.net/2013/11/27/breaking-barriers-video-games-tools-learning-recovery/