schaller-games - Introduction Theodore Koterwas New Media...

Info icon This preview shows pages 1–2. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
2 W D I L Introduction Theodore Koterwas, New Media Director, Exploratorium Games are hot. The hype is that the commercial game industry will soon be bigger than Hollywood. Kids and hard- core gamers are glued to their game consoles, personal computers, and PlayStation portables. Conferences are springing up right and left about how to capitalize on their popularity in other disciplines and pursuits, including education and social progress. I doubt there will be a conference this summer that does not discuss games in some way. Professor James Gee has become almost a celebrity in education circles by describing video games in constructivist terms. Everybody seems to want to build a game. (I bet they’re even talking about it at the James Joyce Conference at Cornell right now—no one really under- stands the rules, but ...) It may sound like I’m setting this up as overblown in order to tear it down, but despite the knee-jerk desire to critique what has become almost comically fashionable, I think the issue bears serious consideration. There are a lot of very smart people who believe in games and yes, they are mostly gamers them- selves—one of Gee’s central points is that you must actually play games and even make them to really understand their power. Coe Leta Stafford, Brent Lowrie, David Schaller, and Jake Cressman are gamers who are making games or looking at them to inform their practice. What Makes a Learning Game? David Schaller, Principal, Educational Web Adventures Games have broad appeal, making it tempting to call almost any computer learning interactive a game. But although games take many different forms, there are fundamental characteristics that distinguish a true game from other types of interactives. Thoughtful analysis of these charac- teristics in relation to any particular interactive will help clarify its true nature, and provide honest branding for users. Such analysis can also suggest its potential as a learning game, although user evaluation is necessary to truly understand its effectiveness. Malone and Lepper (1987) provide valuable guid- ance with their list of key characteristics of a learning game: How do these characteristics manifest themselves in something that claims to be a learning game? This first example interactive is an interactive mystery called Pest Detective , from the National Pest Management Association’s Pestworld for Kids Web site (http://www.pestworldforkids.org). (Although the subject matter may seem pejorative towards the natural world, the site defines pests as “animals out of place” and thus explores pest ecology rather than pest elimination.) a) Challenge is created by having clear, fixed goals that are relevant for the learner. Uncertain outcomes provide challenge by offering variable difficulty levels, hidden information, and random- ness. Feedback on performance should be fre- quent, unambiguous, and supportive. Lastly, the activity should promote feelings of competence for the person involved.
Image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Image of page 2
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

What students are saying

  • Left Quote Icon

    As a current student on this bumpy collegiate pathway, I stumbled upon Course Hero, where I can find study resources for nearly all my courses, get online help from tutors 24/7, and even share my old projects, papers, and lecture notes with other students.

    Student Picture

    Kiran Temple University Fox School of Business ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    I cannot even describe how much Course Hero helped me this summer. It’s truly become something I can always rely on and help me. In the end, I was not only able to survive summer classes, but I was able to thrive thanks to Course Hero.

    Student Picture

    Dana University of Pennsylvania ‘17, Course Hero Intern

  • Left Quote Icon

    The ability to access any university’s resources through Course Hero proved invaluable in my case. I was behind on Tulane coursework and actually used UCLA’s materials to help me move forward and get everything together on time.

    Student Picture

    Jill Tulane University ‘16, Course Hero Intern