EDUTAINMENT IN CARTOGRAPHY. Edutainment. Education + entertainment. It is difficult to define its characteristics, but nowadays if the creators want to be successful the entertainment part is to be more evident then the education part.
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Education + entertainment
It is difficult to define its characteristics, but nowadays if the creators want to be successful the entertainment part is to be more evident then the education part.
We have to take into account that without proper guidance, most users (kids, pupils, students) will deal with only the most entertaining elements of the program and neglect the rest.
The essence of the games is the interactivity which practically implemented as the rules of the game.
The main types of traditional cartographic edutainment are the following:
North and South
Storm across Europe
Earth Views is the first program you can buy for any personal computer that depicts a 3-D image of the earth in rotation on any axis. It's also a geography lesson, trivia quiz, atlas and adventure game.
1986 - Where in the USA is Carmen Sandiego?
1988 - Where in Europe is Carmen Sandiego?
1989 - Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego?
1991 - Where in America’s Past is Carmen Sandiego?
1993 - Where in Space is Carmen Sandiego?
Asia Map Puzzle
The game covers the European history from 1419-1820.
War, trade, economy, corruption, rebellions, diplomacy, religion, culture, colonies, exploration etc.
Students should approach history as a dynamic process – see how facts and events came to be.
In the short run the game is historically accurate, but the inaccuracy increasing in long run.
From 1985 the CD-ROM has been used as a computer storage device, but the price was very high, which didn’t allow fast distribution. The first CD-ROM products for PC-s were different dictionaries, handbooks, encyclopedias (e.g. Microsoft Bookshelf, 1987).
Multimedia was the most promising new function in the first part of 90’s.
Sound, video could be part of the product, but at that time very few users have invested on real multimedia PC-s.
Mit Alex auf Reisen
(Troll series: Hungary)
CD-ROM is the common media for software distribution. DVD-ROM has much higher capacity, but due to the different standards this media is still less popular (except movies).
For edutainment products the internet became more important.
In the 80’s the Internet was a common place of researchers, scientists, peoples in higher educations.
From the beginning of the 90’s the web became even more important factor of the computer industry.
Since 1995 the web has influenced the development of the industry: everybody wanted to be present on the web, all the software must be connected somehow to web based features.
The most important factor of the 90’s was the limited bandwith of internet connection. The majority of internet users were able to use only modem connection which doesn’t let using rich multimedia elements. The developments of hardware industry were able to improve the connection speed of the internet users (including the wireless connection).
When Tim Berners-Lee invented the first browser and the whole web strategy in the beginning of 90’s the internet was a very static media. Only few standard file formats were supported (html, gif, jpg).
The standardization effect of the web is also very important: only the most popular, industry standards file formats are accepted (plug-ins can give chance for less known formats), but these formats can transfer more rich content then ever before.
The new trends can give more chance for edutainment in the web environment. Not every user is keen on playing complicated, 3D games which use virtual reality, but these users prefer simple, easy-to-use, non-violent, relatively short, intellectual type of entertainment.
Several websites offer these kinds of games.
The majority of internet games are using new methods: the most amazing and recent element of internet games is the animation.
A strategic game-like edutainment about the 1848 Hungarian revolution, 2004
(sponsored by the Ministry of Education) – the engine is based on Honfoglaló
The appearance of the web has altered the map publishing because on the web the map user is generally unknown to the map producer, publisher and their map reading skills are also unknown.
The cartography have more “users” then anytime before, so the cartographic edutainment now has better chance then ever before if we take into consideration the special opportunities of the web environment.
Department of Cartography and Geoinformatics
Eötvös Loránd University
Pázmány Péter sétány 1/A, Budapest, Hungary