Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Games-Based Learning

Games are becoming a pervasive part of everyday life, and our notions of what constitutes a game are changing as fast as the applications of games themselves. These games have defined learning outcomes. Generally they are designed in order to balance the subject matter with the game play and the ability of the player to retain and apply the subject matter in the real world.

Online games for single users are also popular, though access to them is often blocked in the K12 environment. There are many free games designed for K-12 students that are accessible via a web browser and require no installation, such as The Potato Story (, a UK-based game that teaches kids where food comes from

Open-ended, collaborative games also play out as alternate reality games (ARGs), in which players find clues and solve puzzles in experiences that blur the boundary between the game and real life. Recent examples of large-scale ARGs include the educational games World Without Oil and Superstruct, and the promotional game I Love Bees. The Tower of Babel, an ARG designed by the European ARGuing Project, was used in schools as well as by learners of all ages. It was developed to engage students in learning languages other than their own.

According to the 2010 Horizon Report: K12 Edition, another promising area is the development of educational Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) games. As yet, there are few examples of these games designed specifically for education. Early efforts include Mithril, a multiplayer online role-playing game developed by students at Stanford University. Mithril draws on the look and feel of MMOs but is math-based. Students must master mathematical concepts in order to cast spells, defeat foes, and progress in the game.

Software in corporate training and higher education
According to there website, "In a Virtual Heroes world, textbooks and lectures are replaced with complete interactivity, excitement and serious fun!  Our Advanced Learning Technology (A.L.T.) platform has re-invented the way medical, military and corporate professionals can enhance performance and unleash potential. Our technology facilitates the linkage of learning objectives to measurable performance outcomes."

Founded in 1998, BreakAway, Ltd. is a leading developer of entertainment games and game-based technology products. We create entertainment experiences that enable people to master skills and concepts in virtual worlds, and transfer this expertise to develop tools that provide game-based solutions for real world problems. Their platform, the mōsbē™ desktop development studio, is a strategy-based platform designed to enable military, homeland security, medical, and corporate customers solve real-world problems with the situational realism and experiential engagement of game-based simulation.

The term "edutainment" describes an intentional merger of computer games and educational software into a single product. The term describes educational software whose primary focus entertainment, but can be used for educational purposes as well. "Software of this kind is not structured towards school curricula, does not normally involve educational advisors, and does not focus on core skills such as literacy and numeracy" (Wikipedia).

These are games which were originally developed for adults or older children and which have potential learning implications. For the most part, these games provide simulations of different kinds of human activities or historical recreations, allowing players to explore a variety of social, historical and economic processes.
For example:
  • City-building games such as the SimCity series (1989–2003) and Caesar (video game) (1993–2006) invite players to explore the social, practical and economic processes involved in city management;
  • Empire-building games such as the Civilization (video game) series (1991–2005) and the Europa Universalis series (2000–2007) help players to learn about history and its political, economic and military aspects;
  • Railroad management games such as Railroad Tycoon (1990–2003) and Rails Across America (2001) illuminate the history, engineering and economics of railroad management.
  • Geography games such as PlaceSpotting (2008–2009) help players to find locations on earth according to some hints.


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    Best Regards

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