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Digital Game-Based Learning in WebCT Bob Bramucci. WHAT IT IS. Audience Analysis What’s a Game? Do Games Work? Why Not Games? What’s a Non-Programmer to Do? Game Taxonomy Software To Learn More… Future. WHAT IT’S NOT. Trying to Sell Anything Training for Specific Software

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what it is
  • Audience Analysis
  • What’s a Game?
  • Do Games Work?
  • Why Not Games?
  • What’s a Non-Programmer to Do?
  • Game Taxonomy
  • Software
  • To Learn More…
  • Future
what it s not
  • Trying to Sell Anything
  • Training for Specific Software
  • Exhibiting Games I’ve Authored
  • Advocacy for Going “Game Crazy”
statistics from prensky 2001
Statistics (from Prensky, 2001)
  • Sesame Street is over 30 years old.
  • Pong, the first computer game, appeared in 1974.
  • The IBM PC was introduced in 1981.
  • MTV began in 1981, over twenty years ago.
  • Students 18-22 have never known a world without digital games (or rotary dial phones, network-only television, or analog music).
the average teenager
The Average Teenager:
  • Watches over 3 hours of TV per day
  • Surfs the Internet 10 minutes to 1 hour per day
  • Plays 1-1½ hours of digital games per day
  • By the time they graduate from college, they will have nearly as much experience with electronic entertainment as they do with school.
what s a game1
What’s a Game?
  • Homo Ludens: it’s play, and
    • Play is something one chooses to do.
    • Play is intensely and utterly absorbing.
    • Play promotes the formation of social groupings.
  • Starbuck & Webster (1991)
    • Games elicit involvement and give pleasure.
games have
Games Have:

Marc Prensky:

  • Rules
  • Goals and objectives
  • Outcomes and feedback
  • Conflict/competition/challenge/opposition
  • Interaction
  • Representation or story

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: “Flow”: absorption, time distortions, loss of self (but it reemerges even stronger afterwards)



why games work
Why Games Work
  • Games are engaging, entertaining and fun.
  • Games motivate participation and persistence.
  • Games are interactive and utilize active learning techniques.
  • Games use multiple modalities of learning
  • Games provide immediate feedback.
  • Games can provide a safe and inexpensive means of simulating and practicing real-world experiences.
  • In contrast to exams, games are seen as stress reducers rather than stress inducers.
  • Games help to calibrate comprehension---i.e., teachers can see strengths and weaknesses and adjust accordingly.
  • Games capitalize on the virtues of (and universal popularity of) play.
why games work the short answer
Why Games Work: The Short Answer
  • Engagement
  • Interactivity
  • The games business is BIG---at $7.5 billion dollars per year, it’s about the same size as the movie business.
  • So is training and education (an estimated $2 trillion dollars).
  • Telephony and Computers
  • Movies and Video Games
  • Computers and Appliances
  • PDAs and Cell Phones

However, there’s not much talk about convergence of digital games and education. Why?

why the resistance
Why the Resistance?
  • “No Pain, No Gain”
  • Puritan Heritage
  • Madonna/Whore Complex
  • Tradition-Bound Culture of Higher Education
higher education
Higher Education

“Why, in spite of the fact that teaching by pouring in, learning by passive absorption, are universally condemned, that they are still so entrenched in practice?”

--John Dewey, 1918

The lecture method is still predominant in higher education.

  • Customizable Content
  • No Programming
  • Suitable for Academic Content
  • Inexpensive

Tradeoff: not bleeding-edge.

types of digital games
Types of Digital Games
  • Email
  • Adventure
  • Puzzle
  • Board
  • Full-Motion Video
  • Arcade
  • Shooters

Lots of other types (e.g., driving, flying, fighting) but no educational examples.

email games
Email Games

Sample Game: “Quack, Quack, Quack”

to learn more



Web Site

web site tour http faculty fullerton edu bbramucci games index htm


future plans
Future Plans
  • Implement games
  • Build Communications Area (discussion boards, listserv)
  • Incorporate Simulations into Web Site

Next Year’s Projects:

  • Geographical Metaphor for Navigation in WebCT
  • Development of Expertise