The future of edugaming.

So I present the Escapist community with an opportunity to perhaps advance educational philosophy, and maybe even the legitimacy of gaming a little. For about 5 years now I have been diligently working on a way to make edugaming (the use of games to teach) relevant as opposed the the token add on it is now with kids playing Number Crunchers. Well today I'm starting down the path of creating an overarching game about school. Completely redesigning assessment strategies and how assignments are completed, I'm hoping to, well, essentially make school as addictive as an MMO with the same aura of positivity and fun. A goal I am well aware others have been trying for decades.

Coming to you from the front lines of the education sector, I can tell you gaming is seen slightly below puppy hunting among as a suitable school activity, mostly because the "educational games" we have right now are little more than glorified math drills. This is where edugaming is currently failing us. These games display an intolerable amount of ignorance for both the the educational and gaming communities, basically taking the worst aspects from both. I defend this argument by stating I have never heard a student, other teacher, or parent say "Wow this educational game is really fun".

So I begin my quest to make edugaming relevant by talking with some of the gamer communities. I'm curious to know what you all think of a game's role in the classroom is. Could it fit? Should it fit? Have any of you had an experience where education and gaming meshed together nicely? How did it happen?

As for my own plan, I'm hoping to eventually have a sort of RPG archetype for this project. If you saw the Extra Credits about Gamifying Education, it's faaaaiiirly similar to that. Comments or suggestions, particularly from those of you still in school, would be most appreciated. I understand that it may seem kind of corny to do an immersive RPG game in high school but I mostly work with grades 3-6ish so try and keep that in mind.

Quick side note, thank you Extra Credits for helping put the ideas I've been playing with into proper sentences and linear thoughts and I would love any/all your input as well if you happen to stumble across this. If this thing actually does get off the ground you'll have my undying gratitude, as will everyone here =D.

First off I won't hear you bad mouthing edugaming as a whole because Bookworm adventures fits into that category and it is fucking amazing.

Ribbon Hero (I might have the name wrong) turns learning Mcrosoft tool skills (Word, Excel etc.) into a real game not just "do this and get a point gaming".

On to the RPG you are planning do you mean an actual computer based game or a game based on computer principles in the real world, in essence "gaming" education? Pen and Paper testing might reap rewards, or even be complementary, to your whole project.

You should also do a search on here about this topic because I read a pretty in-depth post by a member detailing his attempts to use game based challenge and reward systems to get his class to work with him.

As regarding "could it? should it?", I'm sure it could but I don't know if it is the best avenue to explore if we are talking about an in school environment since you are by nature dividing the class when you could try and unite them with a different approach.

I should clarify, I have never seen a game that was deemed acceptable by a school board. In other words, never heard the sentence in school :P.

And yes, RPG archetype meaning taking the principles of it (and other genres) to apply to activities done in school. An example off the top of my head being a tiered challenge to say construct a drinking straw bridge with varying rewards for certain criteria like "Use only 10 straws", or "Hold at least 30 pennies without breaking" with say a bonus if they can explain why there design worked.

EDIT: Should mention as well that these challenges would be accessible outside the class as well and some could be done at home for a better kind of homework.

Also if you are referring to the university professor, I am familiar with his work and have contacted him in the past already.

Kodachi:
I should clarify, I have never seen a game that was deemed acceptable by a school board. In other words, never heard the sentence in school :P.

And yes, RPG archetype meaning taking the principles of it (and other genres) to apply to activities done in school. An example off the top of my head being a tiered challenge to say construct a drinking straw bridge with varying rewards for certain criteria like "Use only 10 straws", or "Hold at least 30 pennies without breaking" with say a bonus if they can explain why there design worked.

EDIT: Should mention as well that these challenges would be accessible outside the class as well and some could be done at home for a better kind of homework.

I remember playing magic school bus when I was a kid but I am unsure on the quality of education they can give

You might want to send Extra Credit a message by clicking on his profile, then he can get the message.

OT: Games can provide a good role for education, but the games will never ever ever be as fun as a professional entertainment game as the education part will be forced out.

Creating games like Zork or text based adventures that could penalize players on grammar and spelling (I would need it XD) or at least effect what happens, would make the kids to take greater care and pay attention to what their typing.

For instance I myself suffer from a mountain of disabilities when it comes to literacy skills, and Role Playing on Garry's mod has helped me learn to be more grammatically correct, and pay attention more to how what I write reads.

Maths is fairly easy but the quality of the games out there needs to improve.

History.. Pick up total war as the knowledge of troop names and such prove vital to game play and such.

Science is fairly easy as the games could just let you act out the experiment.
Such as your Mr lonely electron find your BFF.

On the whole educational games are easy to make but many are awful.

All they need to do is employ random flash game designers from kongragate or newgrounds.

Hmm I agree that you can, in theory, make any game out there fairly educational. However my efforts are more in the "try to make school itself a game". Finding those often overlooked aspects of what keeps a WoW playing re-subscribing every month or what makes a Starcraft player continuously search for their own "perfect" strategy, then applying those aspects in a meaningful way that makes students actually want to come back and learn something new.

I read your blog (or what I assume to be yours since it uses your op word-for-word)

Firstly, I think that redesigning the entire classroom experience to base around games is a mistake. Afterall, different people learn in different ways, and so much focus goes into finding ways to help kids that don't learn well in the traditional academic environment, that we forget it still works for a lot of people

Secondly, education and gaming are not just for kids, but that is the perception held by many. It seems the struggle to promote edugaming is in perception more than anything else, so I wonder if a successful edugame made for community/FE colleges might make schools take more notice

Leading on from that, a single example of a successful edugame in isolation will prove the most powerful argument, and lead more ambitious proposals for changing the way people are educated to gain more credibility.

However, to my mind, the big problem is that for games to be truely effective as teaching tools, they have to be immersive, and any time the player feels they are being pushed towards a certain direction, it breaks that immersion. Kids turn off from the current crop of edugames because they know they are edugames.

As un-scientific as it is to construct an experiment with such a strong bias as to what I think the outcome would be, I would suggest something along these lines:

A). Make a computer game, for example, an RPG set in the 3 Kingdoms period in China. In one version, you make all the magic runes actual chinese characters. So for the water spell you have to draw a with your mouse or something. You also make a version with the chinese characters taken out and replaced by english or made-up symbols.

B). Take 3 schools, ( or groups of kids or whatever) selcted to be as similar to each other as possible. Distribute one version to one school, another version to the second school and the third school is the control group. Furthermore, the teachers and pupils should not be aware that the game is an edugame. I.e. you sell the game to the kids as "we're making this new game and we want you guys to test it before we put it on general release." And the kids take it home / don't play it in the classroom. In fact you want to avoid any association with school in the kids minds as much as you can

C). After a set time from the game being distributed, you start the kids on a Chinese language course, which you teach and assess in the normal way.

At the end of the experiment, you can have a cool press release saying "Study shows Edugame improves exam scores" or somesuch (or perhaps it'd be even more interesting to look at why it didn't have that effect if that were the conclusion). In any case, you get lots of PR, and get other people to take things more seriously

Again, you dress it up to the head-masters / school principles as a scientific experiment (which is what it is, despite pre-held bias), into learning rather than marching into the classroom and telling teachers how to do their jobs. Ultimately, the experiment is about out-of-classroom activity aiding in classroom learning, so there should be the feeling it is complimenting / adding to the traditional teaching, rather than changing it (and we all know how resistant people are to change).

Also seconded on the Total War series. The Civ series and many others do a great job of filling in the historical detail for those players who look for it. I've been playing the Empire TW episode recently and have learned far more about 18th century Europe, India and America than I otherwise might have done, and largely simply because I enjoyed its predecessor, Medieval II.

 

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