Addictive Video Games

There was aan article done by Media Literacy specialist named, Dr. Charles Undergleider. He wrote about the addiction to video games and what parents should do to try to stop it. He feels that parentas can decrease the addiction to video games by incorporating different activities for the kids to participate in. Reading and playing sports are extra activities that he mentions as peoeple good options rather than playing the video game.

Dr. Undergerleider makes the point that basically parents need to take control and supervise their kids. However, I feel that if they are constantly being supervised by their parents then they will begin to do mischievious things. These michievious things include playing the game when the parents are not home adn spending mulitiple hours on the game. I feel that if parents do not want their children playing violent games then they should not buy them. Typical elementary and middle school children do not have jobs so they are being supplied with the games by their parents. Parents should take the initiative into making sure that the game is age appropriate and for their childen.

The Professor of Computer Science, made teh remark that video games can be positive for children. This is a true statement but I think that all video games can be positive for children. Regardless of the games that a child plays, they will still have to use strategies and crititcal thinking to decide what to do to stay alive and/or get the next level. Bottom line is that it is not the child’s fault if the video game becomes addicitve but the parents because they are in fact the parents and have control of what their kids do.

This article heighlighted a few great points and if you are interested in reading it then please click on the following link:

http://www.theparentreport.com/articles/video-game-addiction.html

Who Done it?

Reminiscing on the semester that was I remembered the lecture we had on research methods, specifically the video we saw about the two teams passing the basketball and you were supposed to count how many passes there were.  But did you notice the bear?  This video is a great example of being too focused on one idea and forgetting the big picture.  The only problem now is that it’s too old.

Like most other people in the class, by the time Professor Fishman asked us in class I had already seen the video multiple times.  Still appreciating the simplistic genius of the clip I wanted to find another video describing that idea but one that hasn’t reached the popularity of the nonchalant bear.  So I went to the only reliable source that’s left… the internet. After searching YouTube for a little while I came across another video that take the bear to the next level.  It’s called Who done it? And it starts in the classic detective scene.  There has just been a murder and the detective has just rounded up all the suspects and has begun to question them, asking what they were doing when the man was murdered.  Your job is to listen to the suspects tell their stories and figure out who done it.  Sounds simple enough so why don’t you try for yourself:

Why Most People Don’t Finish Video Games

http://articles.cnn.com/2011-08-17/tech/finishing.videogames.snow_1_red-dead-redemption-entertainment-software-association-avid-gamers?_s=PM:TECH

I found this article from 2011 and thought it was really interesting when I read it. It talks about how video games are not being finished completely.  A production contractor for Activision, Keith Fuller stated “What I’ve been told as a blanket expectation is that 90% of players who start your game will never see the end of it unless they watch a clip on YouTube.  It’s not just dull games that go unfinished the article states.  Just last year, only 10% of avid gamers completed the final mission in Red Dead Redemption, shocking right??  And this was according to the VP of marketing at Raptr, which tracks more than 23 million gaming sessions.  The question the article poses is who’s to blame for this problem?  The developer or the player?  Or maybe it’s our culture?  The answer, the article states, is all of the above.  I pasted the article above so anyone can read the rest of it!  It’s so interesting!

Designers: master one game, or else

In a new Gamasutra feature, Gameloft’s Christian Philippe Guay suggests some simple ideas for getting better at making fun games — by breaking them down into component elements.
“We have to be aware of what has been done before, as it is important to not repeat past mistakes,” writes Guay.

To design fun games, he writes, “I would suggest to any designer to take one game and spend enough time to master it. There are things that can only be properly understood once they’re truly experienced.”

“In reality, the more we master an experience, the more others become alike, because everything in this universe is based on the same principles. We realize that the same mechanics are used, but in a different context. By doing this, it becomes easier to create interesting gameplay mechanics or learn how to fix them.”

There is one important consideration, though, Guay does suggest.

“I tend to think that to study the greatest games of all time would help us to better understand how to make better games. However, those games are often so engaging that we might not see how to make greater things, because when we play them, we aren’t thinking critically about how they’re constructed; we’re experiencing them as players.”

The antidote?

“However, if we play the worst games, then everything frustrating will jump in our faces. Then we will see what needs to be improved, and that forces us to be creative and find how to fix those problems.”

The full feature, in which Guay breaks down fun into seven different layers to offer his take on the essential elements of game design, is live now on Gamasutra.

[link]

Hacker School: collaboration unleashed

In school, I found that the classes I learned the most in were the ones where I had to work in a group with some people smarted than me. People that would challenge my ways of doing things and how I thought about problems. This is essentially the idea behind Hacker School, a New York based group which brings together programmers with a passion to program and has them work together for 3 months to create what they want. If accepted to the school, participants gather together 4 times a week for 8 hours a day and code all sorts of projects and in a variety of languages. Learning is done not from lectures and speeches but from collaboration with other schoolmates who have experience in the area. Collaboration is the key as students build off each other as they branch out and try different languages or create additions to open-source projects. This is how I sort of thought college would be before I started. These “incubators” of talent produce some great ideas and really hone skills that have been left unattended by work or undiscovered through college. At hacker school programmers program because they love it and have a vision of something they want to build not for a grade or a paycheck. At Hacker School, there are no grades or classes, only progress.

source:

https://www.hackerschool.com/

http://foobarmustache.tumblr.com/post/20927915391/my-hacker-school-batch-2-experience-so-far

Algebra, Warthogs, and badges: how gamification motivates learners

When I was in second grade, we had to learn our multiplication tables. Pretty standard stuff 2*2=4, 9*9=81. But our teacher added in a twist, one of the most motivating twist somebody can provide to a group of 7 year olds. She gave us sundae toppings for each set that we “mastered”. learn all the ones 1*1,1*2,1*3… earn a scoop of ice cream. the 2’s another scoop, 3’s whipped cream, and on and on. Our toppings were given to us as construction paper cutouts we placed on the wall and at the end of the unit we got our sundae with all the fixings. Now years later I realize today, that I was a victim of gamification. Before gamification was even a thing, before zynga and cow clicker addicted the world. My second grade teacher was a gamification hipster. Back then they just called it motivation though. We had the “leader board” on the wall with our names on our bowls with our topping badges on top. We even cranked the motivation up a notch by racing each other to see who could finish the tables the fastest and the most accurate. I remember one day at school racing through this multiplication table ( I want to say it was the 5’s but I don’t remember that much) and finished first. After racing up to my teacher’s desk to turn it in and have it graded and got two questions wrong. One of my best friends got up there just after me and had it all right, “beating” me in this battle of wits. Man did that suck in my mind. I still got my topping but had lost the battle. Next time I got them all right and was done the fastest, and that caramel sauce tasted that much sweeter.

This new craze of gamifying learning is nothing revolutionary. Kindergarten and elementary teachers have been masters of it for years. bribing students in every way they can think of, tempting them with class outside, extra recess, story time. All these rewards for doing our work and all this fun we have while learning of all things. People wonder why kids love going to school when they are little and slowly become cynical about its value and enjoyment. It’s cause the teachers stop trying to make learning fun because they have to get through the mandated lesson plan. But there is always that one teacher that manages to squeeze it in, that one teacher who is everyone’s favorite. And now people are heading back to those tried and true methods.

Badges, points, levels, leaderboards, all these gamification “tricks” are being re-integrated into education for everybody not just for little children. Complete one of Stanford’s open online classes and receive a certificate showing you passed or even passed with honors. ” “Badges” are a teensy step in the right direction, but clearly are only motivating to the weak-willed (guilty!) and easily impressed (ditto!). Soon, someone is going to discover a way to apply the crack-like effect of well-designed games like World of Warcraft to the educational realm. I want to learn algebra about as much as I want to spend eighteen hours killing and skinning virtual warthogs” as it says in the article. Online courses like codeacademy and skillshare provide these benefits to their users as well as many other sites. self- motivated learning is growing at a massive pace as more and more sites give access to college lectures, tutorials, books and all those other things one had to go to class to get access to before. Now users can go their own way and get badges to show all the places they have been and all the things they have learned. All through such a simple thing as a construction paper cut-out of a cherry to put on top.

source/inspiration: http://plasticresume.wordpress.com/2012/04/11/skillshare-codecademy-and-the-gamification-of-education/  linked in the article and very related: http://www.ted.com/talks/dan_pink_on_motivation.html

Colbert Report: interview with Richard Hersh

I don’t know if anybody else saw this yesterday but Colbert did and interview with Richard Hersh as he talks about how colleges need to change and need to challenge students to think and grow through college and not just earn degrees. UM also gets a shout-out as one of those schools doing it right.

watch it here: http://media.mtvnservices.com/embed/mgid:cms:video:colbertnation.com:412127

Amidst a Mobile Revolution in Schools, Will Old Teaching Tactics Work?

Tina Barseghian explains how now that there is new technology, she is concerned that old teaching tactics that include pen, paper and a chalkboard will not work or engage students in the classroom. Tina writes about this idea in her article, “Amidst a Mobile Revolution in Schools, Will Old Teaching Tactics Work?” Tina explains that less than a decade ago, using your cell phone in school was looked at as completely unacceptable, where nowadays students use their cell phones 24/7 and depend upon them for not only daily tasks, but as educational tools as well. Chris Dede has worked in the field of education technology for many years and even he is surprised at the vast use of cell phones in the school setting. He explains that mobile learning is being used more frequently in schools than other forms of technology that he has seen.

Statistics show that about 80% of students have cell phones and because this consumer market is so large, this explains the usage of cell phones in the classroom and the rapid speed of this growing technological tool. The author explains that using cell phones in the classroom went from a silly idea to inevitable. One fact i found extremely interesting from the article is that 62% of schools allow cell phones to be used on school grounds, but not in classrooms. When I was in school you were not allowed to bring your cell phone to school, let alone use it during school hours. I think that overtime technology will continue to be more accepted in schools, especially as the technology raised youth turn into leaders and teachers in this country. Many schools are currently being coached on how to use technology including cell phones in the classroom.

I agree with using cell phones in the classroom, because if students are going to use their cell phone anyways and break the rules anyways, then they might as well have to use their phone in an educational way rather than texting their friends while being on their phones. iPads are definitely one form of technology that has taken over many schools. Over 1.5 million iPads have been distributed into educational settings. In addition to those iPads, many brands that are not made by apple are also distributed to schools as well. Using iPads instead of books has become the most frequent device used in the educational setting. Many students use their iPads in the classroom for interactive quizzes and to view educational videos as well. By using these iPads, the students become more engaged because they are able to use the technology they love and are accustom to while learning. One thing the article mentioned is that kindergarden students are using the iPad to learn to read instead of books. Although I do not think that this is necessary, it is pretty funny. Teachers also benefit from using iPads as well. Technology allows teachers to receive test scores faster and to understand the status of the classroom pertaining to how the students are doing in the class and how much of the material they have grasped.

Tina explains that many students use their smartphones instead of the desktop computers offered by the school to look up information because the smartphones are faster and the technology is more advanced. Students use the smartphones in particular to calculate, map and to take notes. I know i have personally taken small notes on my phone because it is more convenient to carry around an iPhone than a big binder and pens. Although the technology that Tina discusses is important for students in order to engage them and incorporate this new generation that is centered around technology, it is important to ask “What real and lasting effect will they (direct tech applications for learning) have on the formal learning equation?” “How do we use these tools to gage a successful mobile learning program?” With new technology, this means that the students have to be the guinea pigs and this is definitely risky as these students have to be prepared for the real world as well. In what ways will these students be at an advantage in comparison to other students? In what ways will they be at a disadvantage to other students that learned with more traditional methods?

Technology, however, will definitely reach students in a meaningful way. Instead of students memorizing facts, they will play games and use things they love such as their mobile device to learn instead. When learning has meaning, students are more engaged and focused. They are also more motivated because they want to learn through these devices. The author also explains that many are worried about new technology being applied to traditional ways of teaching. In order to apply technology in a way that does not resemble old ways of teaching, it is important for the schools to change the pedagogy. Right now by using an iPad, the content being studied is the same as before, just on an iPad instead of in books. The author argues that we must change the way students learn new content.

Investing in iPads is useless if there are no gains by using the iPads. Although the iPad is convenient, the iPad needs to further advance the learning and engagement of the student in order to be worth switching over to this piece of technology. The test scores need to show better results in order for the iPads to be worth buying. As long as the iPads make an impact in learning and have the proof to show it, they are worth incorporating in the classroom. One iPad app showed that there was a 20% increase in algebra when using the iPad in comparison to those that did not use the iPad. These comparisons between traditional study techniques and new modern technology techniques are important to show drastic differences in the amount of engagement and motivation students have to learn. By using new technology, the students are more engaged and therefore more likely to learn more often rather then when they have to. The iPad and cell phone are just a few ways that technology can be incorporated into the learning environment.

This article can be found here: http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2012/03/amidst-a-mobile-revolution-in-schools-will-old-teaching-tactics-prevail/

The Future is…Soon?

A recent article I read from the Huffington Post ponders the incredible advances in computer technology that have occurred in the last half-century.  When it comes to games, our interactions with them requires a “significant intelligence of at least the artificial variety” when it comes to multi-player real-time immersive games.  Intuitively this makes a lot of sense, but it was interesting and a little unsettling to hear of these intelligences becoming more advanced to the point where now “computers can always win” at certain games like chess, checkers, or bridge.  Given the tremendous advances in both media and technology within the past fifty years, it’s very possible “future intelligent systems will then design even more powerful technology, resulting in a dizzying advance that we can only dimly foresee.”  The world of gaming has a symbiotic relationship with the world of science, which makes for an exhilaratingly uncertain century ahead.

Gaming Down Under

We’ve talked a lot in the past semester about how games have been adapted for use in the United States, but companies and developers in other countries are also finding ways to incorporate them into the education system.  In Australia, video games are being used for helping teach students physics at one local high school near Sydney.  Popular games like Angry Birds, Sonic Racing, and Formula 1 are all utilized more than educational ones, which aren’t as engaging.  This is a far cry from where the school (Merrylands High) was four years ago, when non-students rioted on the property.  There was not much context to that detail, but I assume that the repercussions of that instance did a lot to dampen student enthusiasm about their education.  Perhaps these games also provide ways to learn in a style that helps them stay involved in active learning, reducing the risk of delinquency or dropping out.  Overall, it’s an interesting to hear about what’s being done in this field outside America.

Learning about Cells?…Play this Game!

I would like to introduce a game I recently found.  The game is called Axon, and it is meant to have people learn about neuron development and types of cells.  The way the game works is that you begin with a cell and then have to continue clicking the small dots around you before the current circle’s energy runs out.  This is meant to also simulate how neurons compete with other neurons for resources, since your developing brain is a very competitive environment.  It is actually a very addicting game: the music is fun, the game is simple enough and it is very easy to continue clicking those little dots.  The best part of it is that at the end it tells you how long your neuron was and what kind of cell it can be.  These are not exact, but obviously more complex cells come at higher points levels.  For example, my personal best of 63,000+ points gave me a cortical layer 3 cell, whereas when you only achieve a couple thousand points you get a retinal cell, which is nowhere nearly as complex.

This game really got me thinking about how you can teach biology concepts with games.  I had previously played physics games, but never biology.  For this reason, it was very interesting for me to actually learn about a topic I had never considered much throughout school.  Link is here: http://armorgames.com/play/13108/axon

Childhood Obesity & Video Games

Childhood obesity in today’s society is larger than ever. With all the different fast foods, video games and parents being busy, the kids are not able to receive the proper nutrition. Every parent when doing a lot of running around and has their kids with them complaining that they are hungry pulls into McDonalds or the nearest fast food place to give their child a quick meal. That gives them what they want but without thinking twice about if it’s what they need. Parents nowadays are so busy that they are not home to cook dinner which leaves the children to order out or eat junk food and sit in the house all day playing video games. Without their parent being home they are not able to go outside and receive exercise, meaning the only exercise they receive is at school at recess. Is playing video games and not eating healthy causing the children to become obese?

By Tim Ingham for computerandvideogames.com

Video games have been named as a main cause of obesity in the young by a World Health Organization study.

One-third of children living in different parts of the world are obese, said the study published in the Journal of Pediatrics.

It reported over 70,000 teenagers from 34 different nations are overweight or obese. It called a sedentary lifestyle – ‘spending three hours or more per day watching TV, playing computer games, or chatting with friends’ – is the main reason behind the figure.

Only 25 percent of the boys and 15 percent of the girls get enough exercise, said the report.

“With regards to physical activity levels, we did not find much of a difference between poor and rich countries,” said WHO official Regina Guthold, adding that “growing up in a poor country does not necessarily mean that kids get more physical activity.”

Violent gamers are bad gamers

I’ve played a lot of games, and I notice various patterns when playing with people. It should be obvious that people have a lot of different levels of competence, and there are different levels of maturity  as well.

I’ve noticed a connection for years: the best players are the more mature players. The people who are really good at video games tend to be more mature, and it only makes sense to me, since you need a lot of discipline to be good at a game.

What I never did, however, was make the connection. We talked about violent video games in class, and I have spent years defending violent video games. I never made the connection.

Someone else did. A study in Sweden suggests that the cause and effect of video games and violence is not just incorrect, but based on a hypothetical situation that doesn’t exist outside of the hypothetical. It turns out that being more mature and working with other people is a huge help with these games, and the people who play those games the most need a lot of maturity and good cooperation skills.

So not only is the link between violence and video games questioned, but the entire framework of that research is now under question. Can we put this entire issue to bed soon?

Story Design Challenge: Best Entrance Eve

Once a month, the Story Design Tips column is going to have a story design challenge. Whereas we usually use that space for tips about dialogue, world-building, plot, comedy, endings, and more, the story design challenge is the place where you can show us what you’ve got, get some feedback, and maybe get some exposure. The story design challenge is cross-posted on Gamasutra and GameCareerGuide. To participate, just submit your entry in the comments section of the Gamasutra blog post.

Let’s get to it.

Memorable Entrances

As a writer in games or any other media, you’ve got a few tools. One of them, which you can choose to use or ignore, is the first impression a character makes when she/he/it first appears in the plot.

A memorable entrance is a good way for a writer to try and establish his most important characters. Rather than think about what your plot needs, think about the most memorable way for your character to make an entrance. Find a way that is unforgettable and also shows who the character is.

What’s memorable? Think about the first time you saw Doc in Back to the Future. Think about Yoda’s first scene (in Chapter IV). Think about the first time you saw the terminator: the way he got his clothes and sunglasses right after he appeared. Think about Steve Martin’s first few minutes in Little Shop of Horrors. Think about the first scene of every James Bond film. Think about Indiana Jones’ first few minutes on screen in his first and second films.

The Rules:

  • Please don’t use anything anyone owns the rights to, even if you’re the one who owns those rights. Let’s have no variations on existing games, movies, or stories. That includes anything you or your company are working on at the moment.
  • Please keep your entry under 1000 words. 1000 words translate roughly to 4 double-spaced pages. That should be more than enough.
  • Winners will be announced on Gamasutra and GameCareerGuide on Tuesday, April 3rd. This means you have six days (Monday is the last day) to publish your entry.
  • Please publish your entry in the comments of this article. If you want to do it anonymously, use Gamasutra’s system to log in anonymously.
  • Important: When you publish your entry, send it to me simultaneously via email (at guyhasson at gmail dot com). That way, you make your entry public (in the comments), while ensuring I have your real email address if you win.

The prize: The prize that’s mine to give is a free electronic copy of my book, Secret Thoughts. It’s science fiction, recently published by Apex Books, and so far has gotten great reviews. Here’s a link to the publisher’s website, where you can check out the plot and the reviews. When you send your email, please specify the type of file you want (pdf, epub, or mobi). If you’ve already won a Story Design Challenge, all I have to give you is glory.

Link: http://gamecareerguide.com/features/1062/story_design_challenge_best_.php

the ties that bind them

Professor William Schmidt is working to change the way children are taught science in school. Science is one of the unique subjects where all the different “topics” are really all interconnected. physics, chemistry, biology all of these are intrinsically tied together as principles from one topic are vital to the workings of the others. All of them build off each other and yet are separated in school. children learn them one at a time, occasionally realizing along the way how they are relearning stuff they learned earlier. Schmidt proposes, in his 8+1 plan, that schools focus more on the concepts behind the world rather than on teaching subjects by the books. These 8 concepts are core pieces of all science subjects and were all discovered using 1 way using the scientific method. Instead of having kids memorize all these facts and stats about organisms and molecules, Schmidt wants them to focus on the concepts behind them focus on how atoms interact, form molecules which form cells which form animals.

source: http://8plus1science.org/ and http://phys.org/news/2012-04-students-science.html

One Laptop per Child: How to judge success or failure…

One laptop per child is a non-profit organization that works to bring low-cost laptops to children in developing areas of the world. Through these laptops they hope to “empower, engage, and educate” the children and help them to improve themselves. It seems a pretty straight forward idea, giving these kids all the worlds knowledge at their fingertips and let them see how the world works. With these laptops they could research all sorts of topics and improve their grasp of concepts they learn in school. And yet a standardized test scores do not show improvement. So this initiative has failed. ??? Can we really say that? One study done in rural Peru found an increase in students cognitive skills. That seems to be what OLPC set out to do. Give children access to information so they can figure stuff out for themselves. So the initiative has succeeded then?

It seems that just giving access to technology is not enough to drastically improve test scores and yet the kids got smarter. Seems like just another example where standardized testing doesn’t showcase what people want it to. It doesn’t show how children grasp concepts or understand principles, all they want is regurgitation of information. And yet these kids could have been using their laptops to study anything. But anything wont be on the test. So can we really say if OLPC is a success or not? It seems to me that we will have to wait until these kids grow up and become adults to see if they are able to improve their communities and make their children’s lives better than theirs. Maybe it will inspire these kids to graduate and get advanced degrees, start businesses, or maybe they will invent some new technology or develop the next instagram and sell their program for $1,000,000,000. We won’t know for a while since standardize test scores are gonna tell us if one of these laptops inspired the next Bill Gates down in Peru. Just have to wait to pass judgement on this program.

source: http://www.hackeducation.com/2012/04/09/the-failure-of-olpc/

STOP! Collaborate and Listen

Learning is evolving. The days when monolithic structures filled to the brim with books dominated the college skyline. Kids don’t go to the library for books anymore. It has be come a place to meet up with friends and classmates to study. Those rows upon rows of technical books aren’t needed. Most probably haven’t been moved in years. We have wikipedia now. I’m sure most students who read this can remember at least one time they wandered the floors of the UGLi or the Dude to find open tables, study rooms, or even enough open computers to work with their teammates. The bookshelves take up space that could be study rooms. Williams college is having this problem right now. http://alumni.williams.edu/roomlearn. Do they still need books? What does this new generation of learners want and need to become academically successful? e-readers? computers? or just a wi-fi connection? As technology gives people more and more access to information, what people really need is a quiet place to meet and talk to other people to work on their project.

Educational Video Games

At Hope College in Hopeland, Michigan, there is an online game for a conflict and communication class. There has been statements made because others are jealous that students get to play the game in class. It is an educational game for the class. The most interesting fact is that the students felt that the best games were the ‘serious games.’ These games were played amongst the higher level students such as the graduate students.

To read more about this then click on the link below:

http://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/2012/04/09/college-students-find-serious-video-games-educational-fun

Game Based Learning: A Paradigm Shifting Opportunity for Innovation

Mike Shumake writes about game based learning in his article “Game Based Learning: A Paradigm Shifting Opportunity for Innovation.” Shumake explains that gamers are always interacting with technology and there is not a question of whether or not technology is now the socially acceptable way to hang out with others or have fun solo. Shumake continues to explain that his friend and brother play both computer games, Xbox games and board games in order to socialize with others and entertain themselves when playing alone. This observation gave Shumake an understanding of why games are so interactive and engaging for young adults. These observations gave Shumake the idea to apply video game based learning in the classroom as well. Shumake explains that game based learning is a “hot item” now in the classroom among new teaching techniques taught by teachers. The 21st Century Teaching and Learning Best Practices explains that game based learning is the top item for teaching in the classroom.

Shumake explains that game  based learning is not about the technology, it is completely about the game. When explaining games in education, he explains that education is important, however the educational aspect is not relevant if the game is not fun in the first place. The game has to be enjoyable in order to engage the students and if the game isnt fun, then the game is just as traditional of a method of teaching as any other traditionally used technique used by teachers in the classroom today. A lot of the time, the attention when creating video games is only based on the educational aspect and not on the enjoyable fun aspect that draws students into the games in the first place. Without the engaging fun aspect of the game, the educational game is useless and not anymore educational or engaging then using pen and paper and a drawing board.

Shumake led a team that tried to create a game based online course with a videogame company. He explains that his team assumed that while making a video game it had to be in a virtual reality and went into this project with no direction. Shumake explains that he faced many challenges including making the actual video game design with no skills or understanding as to how to create a video game. He also explains that his vision for the game resembled games that students were already familiar with, however they added an educational component. While struggling with the game design, Shumake explains that he also struggled with trying to fit the educational aspect into the game design and was unsure of how to incorporate education into a virtual design.

The issue explained by Shumake is that Video game based learning is expensive to design for the educational sector and it lacks flexibility and creativity. In contrast, Game based learning can be cheap to design and is fun with flexibility and creativity. After seeing these observations, Shumake changed his point of view and vision for his game design with his friend Adrian Dunston’s advice in mind. Dunston is Shumake’s avid game playing friend that understands the engaging and critical components of educational game design. After thinking through these observations, Shumake continued to approach his game design in different ways. Many of his ideas included creating a story line game design where the player chooses their own adventure. Each adventure would be planned out one week at a time as the story line progressed.

Shumake’s other ideas included using Facebook as an introduction utility to show the setting and situation of the game based learning design. He understands that students will know how to use Facebook, Twitter, Google Voice, Gmail, Google Talk, Evernote, Google Calendar, youtube, Soundcloud and others. Because of this, he plans to incorporate different technological media to bring students towards increasing engagement in the learning setting. Shumake also discusses other approaches that involve revealing more of the game, but only with correct answers from the player. This way the player is more motivated to continue the game in order to receive more game content thats new. He also explains that it is important to be flexible with game design and be prepared and open minded to changing the game, as well as the direction of the game as it develops. It is important for students to bring their own creativity to the stage.

In the article, there is an example of how it is possible to bring a creative component to the classroom that is connected to the curriculum. Shumake explains how creative role playing games can introduce a new topic involving World History, Language  Arts and Biology. The role playing game involves groups of students as the game playing team and the teacher as the architect. This allows the teacher to control the rules in a fun and interactive way where students are still able to learn. Role playing games can also be used in math where the students are dependent on the math in order to excel in the game. Shumake gives the example of World of Warcraft with gear weights, character stats and experience to show dependence on math in a game. In order to excel the player must understand math, however the math is heavily integrated into the game in a way that does not distract from the enjoyment of the game.

Another example where role playing is used is in world history. Shumake imagines the students role playing in a emerging civilization and then as they move through out the game they move ahead in time through world history. With each new time period, the students excel through the game and understand famous historical events and people. While experiencing the emerging new societies, the students come to understand problems that people of the past have faced and because the students role played the time periods, they are more likely to remember the issues and famous events that occurred in the past. This same idea can be used in biology to understand the evolutionary chain and ecological relationships. Shumake explains that this idea can be used in all different educational topics.

This article can be found here: http://gettingsmart.com/blog/2012/03/game-based-learning-a-paradigm-shifting-opportunity-for-innovation/

Ten Surprising Truths about Video Games and Learning

Have you heard a the ten truths about video games and learning?

According to Paul Gee, there are: 1) feed the learning process, 2)obviate testing, 3)build on experience, 4)redefine teachers as learning designers, 5)teach language through experience, 6)entice kids to love challenges,7)motivate learning,8)teach problem-solving,9)encourage risk-taking, and 10)provide valid learning model for schools.

There is a PBS documentary from Paul Gee on the website as well. The reasoning between the 10 ten truths by Paul Gee is quite interesting and if you’re interested then you should go to the website link below:

http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2011/02/ten-surprising-truths-about-video-games-and-learning/

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