Games in Education Judy Donovan Judy.firstname.lastname@example.org MEMO October, 2009
What is a Game? • There are a number of different terms and definitions used to describe 'games' -- such as experiential learning instructional simulations, and group learning. • a game is a "structured activity with learning at the end” • An activity characterized by competition, rules and winning and losing • games are simply "fun with a purpose"
Games can enhance the following functions • Motor development. Games often involve movement; they stimulate precision, coordination of movements, and speed. • Intellectual development. As well as movement, games may also involve understanding how things work, resolving problems, devising strategies, etc. • Affective development. The fictional nature of games, the opportunity to act out a role means that they have a key function in the affective development of the individual. Games stimulate students to understand their life experiences and help them to mature. • Social development. Games are also ways of relating to others. In addition to their socializing dimension, their capacity to symbolically generate roles makes them effective transmitters of society’s predominant values and attitudes.
Areas of learning in which games can contribute • Personal and social development Provide interest and motivation to learn Maintain attention and concentration • Creative development Respond in a variety of ways Students use their imagination in art and design, music, and stories • Increase students Knowledge and understanding of the world
Areas of learning in which games can contribute • Physical development Fine motor control can be developed with the increased refinement in using a mouse for navigation and selecting objects • Language and literacy Encourage children to explain what is happening Use talk to organize, sequence and clarify thinking, ideas, feelings and events • Mathematical development Use everyday words to describe position, direction, etc.
More benefits • In addition to helping students learn, games reinforce and review course information by allowing learners to apply what they have learned • conceptualizing education as a game restores enjoyment, healthy competition, and discipline to teaching and learning • Depending on their design, games can also improve teamwork
course design standpoint one of the greatest strengths of using games for learning is that they are excellent tools for connecting learners to knowledge, key concepts, facts, and processes in a way that is fun and purposeful. games also help learners construct meaning and to discover things about a subject area in a more personal way and in a safe environment.
practical standpoint Today's children: • spend over 10,000 hours playing video games. • 70% of college students have played computer, video or online games (Pew report) • "learning via digital games is one good way to reach Digital Natives in their 'native language'" (Prensky, 2001, p.1).
technology standpoint • there is a proliferation of new and emerging computer capabilities that enable greater collaboration and interactivity across time zones and geography • The ability to engage with learners through the use of computers is increasingly attractive, based on learner profiles, and possible, based on current technology capabilities.
learner-centered standpoint • games can be intrinsically motivating and can adapt to different styles of learners, as well as different learning styles. • learners like to be in charge of their own learning and they like to experience it. • Experience-based learning can foster greater diversity in approaches to learning, opportunities for interactivity, collaboration and peer-to-peer learning • Games can be constructed to bridge to real-world relevance.
different learning styles • games can often accelerate the learning process. • because games involve 'doing,' they provide the kinesthetic learner with opportunities to engage in his or her own learning in a physically interactive way. • Berson, a social studies teacher, used interactive games with technology as the enabling tool in his class. He found that more visual learners were not only able to enhance their critical thinking skills, but they also increased their ability to interpret visual cues such as maps and graphs.
feedback • Games can also provide useful tools for generating feedback for the learner as to how well he or she has internalized the learning (Sugar, 2002). • This feedback loop extends to the instructor, as well.
New ways of learning • The computer environment not only influences the people who use it, but also has a bearing on the whole of the social context. • we need to take its effects into consideration in the design of teaching-learning situations. • Hard to predict exact cognitive modifications based on the change from a culture based on writing to one based on multimedia
Speed • The digital generation has far more experience in processing information rapidly than its predecessors. • The amount of information received and the number of channels available for exchanging information are greater today than they have ever been. • Information is processed at high speed
Parallel processing versus linear processing • The digital generation has an ever increasing capacity for parallel processing which involves a more diversified form of concentration — probably less intense, and less centered on a single aspect. • This is the result of a process of adaptation to an environment in which we are likely to be carrying out several tasks at once — driving and talking on a cell phone, writing a letter, speaking on the phone and checking our e-mail messages.
The text illustrates the image • For many years, images and graphics were used to accompany and illustrate text. • Today, in technological media it is often the text that is complementary: It is used to expand on something that has already been presented in image form. • Greenfield (1996) speaks of the importance of "visual intelligence" and its intense development since the advent of television, cinema and, of course, multimedia. • The challenge for educators is to design ways to use this shift to enhance comprehension, while still maintaining the same richness of information in the new visual context.
Connectivity • The digital generation is growing in a world connected synchronously and asynchronously. • Both types of connection offer access to information and to social relations in highly varied ways. • the new generation tends to approach problems from a different angle; their searches for information and communication are carried out via computers.
Active versus passive • There is a big different between reading and interacting with computers. • Reading needs concentration, silence, working alone. • The use of computers introduce more active experiences such as chat, posting, surfing for information. • C hildrenand adolescents expect immediate results and become more active. • we now see much less tolerance among the games generations for passive situations such as lectures
Orientation towards problem solving • The digital generation has an approach to things that is similar in many ways to a computer game: performance and constant revision of the action, without any planning of the processes. • "Trial and error" is used a great deal, and possibly the task of the educator is to counterbalance this type of action in order to encourage thinking, and strategies for planning and problem-solving.
Immediate reward • It is often said that pupils ask about the utility of what they are learning. • Adults assume that they are asking about its utility in the long term. • But what the student wants to know is its immediate applicability — not necessarily in a utilitarian sense, but because she needs an immediate contextualization of what has been learnt. • They need to work with "authentic" tasks.
The importance of fantasy • a review of many of the most successful computer games and of the films and novels read by adolescents today, shows that fantasy is a key element for today’s adolescents. • This phenomenon has been encouraged by technology • not clear if this affects both genders the same way.
A positive view of technology • The new generations grow up using computers and are highly familiar with them. • The differences among between children and adolescents can be seen in the types of technology they use. • In this regard, studies of gender are particularly relevant. • In the domain of video games, there is a greater preference for adventures and simulation among girls and little interest in action and sports games, which are the ones that most motivate the boys.
The Value of Play in the Context of Games "The commonsense tendency is for people to define play as the opposite of work" (Rieber, 1996, p. 2).
Play • Play is a human characteristic • the existence of games appears in the most wide-ranging of cultures. • Games were originally introduced in the school as something more than just entertainment. (Dewey, 1944)
Roles of play • Play as progress -- engaging in play leads to other outcomes, such as learning. • Play as fantasy -- where play is intended to unleash creativity • Play itself is to be valued without regard to secondary outcomes -- i.e., play for its own sake, to enhance ones' quality of life. • Play as power involves our traditional competitive view of play where there are winners and losers. In the context of play for learning, however, some believe that games used to foster learning work best when competitive elements are minimized and emphasis is placed on the value of the experience and learning itself.
Elements of Games that Teach According to Thiagi (1998), well-constructed games share the following characteristics: • Conflict: Players must have a goal to achieve, as well as various obstacles that must be overcome to achieve the goal. • Control: The game must have a clear set of rules that indicate how to play the game (making moves, taking turns, etc.). • Closure: It must be clear how and under what conditions the game ends (e.g., when a certain point total is achieved, after a specific time limit, when players are eliminated, etc.) • Contrivance: Those things that allow learners to say, "After all, it's only a game!“ • Competency: Refers to the specific skill or knowledge areas that the game is designed to improve.
Effective games The following questions are vital to the classroom use of games: • Is the product fun enough that someone who is not in its target audience would want to use it? • Do people using it think of themselves as "players" rather than "students"? • Is the experience addictive? Do users want to play again and again? • Are the users’ skills in the subject matter and learning content of the game — be it knowledge, process, procedure, ability, etc. — significantly improving at a rapid rate and getting better the longer he or she plays? • Does the game encourage reflection about what has been learned?
Games and Learning Strategies There are several important factors to consider in the instructional design phase of course development -- where and when to incorporate a game into your lesson. Questions to ask yourself may include: • Is it important to reinforce specific learning points immediately after a single lesson or should a learning game be incorporated at the end of a unit as a summative evaluation tool? • Can the game be placed in the beginning of the lesson as a way to create the context for learning about a specific topic? • Is the subject matter highly sensitive (sexual harassment, e.g.) and, therefore, requires selecting a game that engages the learner but in no way trivializes the subject matter? • Where can I incorporate my game where it is the most seamless to the learner (doesn't disrupt the flow or instruction or seems as if it was just dumped into the lesson)? • Are there any logistical considerations that would limit the type of games that are feasible (do I have support for any technology-delivered games or must I rely more on a less-sophisticated approach when devising and/or selecting a learning game)?
Other useful questions to consider: • What should the game communicate to the group ? • How large is the group? • What is the audience profile (demographics, culture, and previous knowledge of the subject matter) ? • Is the game most appropriate for introducing, reinforcing, or demonstrating learning points? • Is the game "playable ?" • Is a game the best method for achieving my learning objectives?
References • Gros, B. The impact of digital games in education. First Monday, volume 8, number 7 (July 2003), URL: http://firstmonday.org/issues/issue8_7/gros/index.html • Shareski, Dean http://k12onlineconference.org/?p=332 • Miller, C. (2008). Games Purpose and Potential in Education. Springer. • Mungai, D. and Jones, D. Games to Teach By. Published in the Proceedings of the 18th Annual Conference on Distance Teaching and Learning. Madison. WI. August 14-16, 2002
Language Arts Grades K-2 • http://www.primarygames.com/curriculum/language_arts.htm the road to reading http://www.literactive.com/Home/roadtoreading.asp The road to reading is a blending of Earobics and Starfall, designed for students pre-K through first grade or an English Language Learner.
Literacy - Audio Picture books • KIZCLUB provides educational activities in language arts for preschool and elementary age children. In English and Korean. A total of 32 stories are arranged in three reading levels: http://www.kizclub.com/Sbody.html The word being spoken is highlighted in red. A fun and familiar one is: 10 in the Bedhttp://www.kizclub.com/storytime/ten-in-the-bed/ten-bed3.html. • Story Placehttp://www.storyplace.org/preschool/other.asp 15 stories with activities and more to accompany each. Fun ones are I Will not Take a Bath and Morris’s Special Day which teaches a few Spanish words within the story. Audio accompanies words. English and Spanish. The preschool level is all audio, but the elementary requires some reading and writing. A wonderful site created by a library. The site says; “StoryPlace, an interactive web site, came about to provide children with the virtual experience of going to the library and participating in the same types of activities the library offers”.
Literacy – Audio Books • Mighty Book http://www.mightybook.com/MightyBook_free/free_index.html Describes itself as Entertainment that helps kids read. Many activities and stories are available with a subscription, but quite a few freebies are available including books and stories, games and more. Audio stories – the word is highlighted in red as it is said aloud. Good one is The Muffin Man (under Free Stories and Songs ages 2-4) Note – need to Click Stop twice.
Emerging Literacy • Game Goohttp://www.cogcon.com/gamegoo/gooey.html Includes lots of activities with audio instructions so students can work independently. Site offers several levels including beginning reading and also teaches skills such as alphabetic order, letter recognition, letter-sound correspondence, and spelling. Two of the best are Tina’s World and Real or Make-believe. • Clifford the Big Red Doghttp://www.scholastic.com/clifford/read/index.htm This area of Scholastic’s site includes several audio books, audio phonetics games and more to teach literacy. Games include matching and putting things in order. Lots to do. Students should be able to explore independently after they find a few favorites and learn where things are on the site. • Get Ready to Readhttp://www.getreadytoread.org/content/view/101/317/ really good video/audio stories with interactivity built in. The site includes: Chapter 1: Gus and Inky's Underwater Adventure - a great story with activities that explore rhyming words, word recognition, letter names and letter sounds. In Chapter 2: Rhyme Time “Gus tries out hip-hop beats as Inky helps him learn about rhyming. Children participate in the story by finding words that rhyme to help Gus write his first hip-hop song”. In Chapter 3: Wild World Round Up Students work on listening for the beginning and ending sounds in works, and blended sounds.
Computer Skills • Jigzonehttp://www.jigzone.com/g.php?AD20D4A.92B825&z=6&v=164438 wonderful site with dozens of puzzles – builds mouse skills as students drag each puzzle piece to the proper location. Students learn they have to be precise or the puzzle will not come together. Start with the 6 piece classic and let students increase the difficulty (up to 247 pieces!) as they improve. • Magickeys Another puzzle site (also includes stories (no audio) and other games) http://www.magickeys.com/books/jigsaws/ You can choose difficulty level of the jigsaw puzzles- start with 6 pieces. Many of the puzzles allow rotation of the pieces, which helps students learn spatial skills in addition to problem solving and mouse skills.
Computer (and other) Skills • BBChttp://www.bbc.co.uk/cbeebies/funandgames/makemunchmovemachine/index.shtml The Make Munch and Move Machine is fun! Try the Munch button. This recipe game teaches the shapes of foods and where they are found (the audio explains that the sheaf of wheat is turned into bread) and is great for learning how to use the mouse as you must drag the recipe ingredients to the mixing bowl. • Mostly Mommies: http://www.mostlymommies.com/games/infant_games.html This activity is really good for beginners. You move the mouse and a ball follows your actions. Teaches how to move and control the mouse and how to click the mouse.
Computer Skills • Fisher-price.comhttp://www.fisher-price.com/fp.aspx?st=10&e=gamesLanding&mcat=game_infant,game_toddler,game_preschool&site=usThe ABC’s Zoo Learning Game under the Toddler category teaches keyboarding as well as the alphabet, with great animal sound effects. When you press a letter on the keyboard an animal starting with that letter pops up. In all there are 27 Toddler games, 8 Infant games and 37 Preschool games. This game teaches (through video and audio) colors and shapes, and requires use of the keyboard: http://www.fisher-price.com/us/fun/games/colorshapes/ • Kids Com JR. Kidscomjr.com Several activities under Games at this site and the activities under Art help teach mouse skills. Paintpad at http://www.kidscomjr.com/art/paintpad/paintpad.html has students use the mouse to color within the lines using a paintbrush. This is best for advanced users as it is hard to stay within the lines. There are three paintbrush thicknesses to choose from; no eraser, but students can use white to “touch-up” errors. An Internet Safety Game under Games on the site is worthwhile, though students may need help taking the quiz; there is audio but unless you remember the order of the choices you have to be able to read to choose the correct response.
General Games K-2 • Nick Jr. http://www.nickjr.com/kids/flash_site/index.jhtml Problem solving role playing games, stories, lots here. Dora the Explorer, Dora’s fairy Tale – takes awhile to load - click twice - http://www.nickjr.com/playtime/cats/stories/all_stories/dora_fairytale.jhtml interactive with audio instructions and little games to play. • CBC Kids Literacy skills– http://www.cbc.ca/kidscbc/ At Princess Patty’s Post Office students can write a letter. Audio instructions so no reading needed. Coloring (Art machine), Sticker Park Explorer, explore a pond, woods, and other environments. • Fun with Spothttp://www.funwithspot.com/house.asp?locale=US On site are two animated Eric Hill books. Matching farm animal game, send a postcard (with help) from the beach – lots to do! Spot Digs a Hole is fun: http://www.funwithspot.com/bsPages.asp?menuCode=BS&subMenuCode=BK • Kids Psychhttp://www.kidspsych.org/index2.html Matching, shapes and more. Click on each link twice to open. Two levels; ages 1-5 and 6-9. Very short little games; some kids might like the repetitive nature and replay some over and over. Instructions not audio and not intuitive as the site was designed for parents to work through it with their children. Music a little annoying. Good rewards for correct answers. • Little Ghttp://little-g.com/shockwave/loading.html 20+ games for preschoolers teach math, counting, money, sorting, matching, creating a story, learning about tolerance, and more. Some students will need help at first. All short and simple one concept games.
Nogginhttp://www.noggin.com/games/index.php fun site for preschoolers. Some things to try are Pinky’s word game, creating a story with 64 Zoo Street, making a video, playing an ABC game, getting ingredients for a salad, counting, the who has more game - great site. • Play Kid’s Gameshttp://www.playkidsgames.com/ Math, alphabet, vocabulary, memory, geography and puzzle games. Whack the mole alphabet game is fun; you have to whack the letters held by moles in order to win. http://www.playkidsgames.com/games/wam/default.htm • Thomas and Friendshttp://www.thomasandfriends.com/usa/thomas_the_tank_official_us_website_intro.htm Thomas and friends website. Building games, puzzles, memory games. Games - Build an engine is fun as is the Legos Building game: http://www.thomasandfriends.com/usa/building.html Some games have written instructions so students may need help at first and it takes time to figure out how to get around and back. • Up to Ten - Boowa and Kwalahttp://www.boowakwala.com/ Overwhelming in its riches. This is fun: Can You Walk Like a Duck Songhttp://www.uptoten.com/kids/boowakwala-adventures-ducks-ducksong.html 400+ games and new ones each day. Choose from 11 Sorting games from the easy Shells to the harder Birds on a Wire. http://www.uptoten.com/kids/boowakwala-navigation-gamesindex.html Turkey Tic Tac Toe has great sound effects!;-)
Math Grades 3-5 • http://www.primarygames.com/curriculum/math.htm • Count us In http://www.abc.net.au/countusin/games.htm • Math Playground http://www.mathplayground.com/games.html • Academic Skills Builder http://www.arcademicskillbuilders.com/games.htm
Language Arts Grades 3-5 • http://www.primarygames.com/curriculum/language_arts.htm • Academic Skills Builder http://www.arcademicskillbuilders.com/games.htm • Wordmaster Vocabulary game – have to identify the word missing from the sentence. • http://www.onlinemathlearning.com/vocabulary-games.html
Science Grades 3-5 • http://www.primarygames.com/curriculum/science.htm • Science Museum Launchballhttp://www.sciencemuseum.org.uk/launchpad/launchball/ • The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis http://www.childrensmuseum.org/games/grades_3-5.htm
Math Grades 6-8 • Chaos game (hard!) http://math.bu.edu/DYSYS/applets/chaos-game.html • Education 4 Kids http://edu4kids.com/index.php?TB=1&page=12 • Fido http://www.digicc.com/fido/ • Lego Box Game http://www.lego.com/build/junkbot/junkbot.asp?x=x&login=0 • Pig http://cs.gettysburg.edu/projects/pig/index.html • Timez Attack http://www.bigbrainz.com/
Science Grades 6-8 • BBC Science Games and Activities http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/body/index.shtml?nervous • Jefferson Labs http://education.jlab.org/indexpages/elementgames.php • Line Rider Gamehttp://linerider.com/play-line-rider-online • Line Rider 2 http://www.linerider.eu/game36.php • Science News for Kids http://www.sciencenewsforkids.org/pages/gamezone/ • The River City Science Inquiry Project http://muve.gse.harvard.edu/muvees2003/index.html
Language Arts Grades 6-8 • Free Rice Site http://www.freerice.com/index.php • 20 Questions http://www.20q.net/ • BBC Numeracy and Literacy games at all levels Lots of audio. • http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/ks1bitesize/numeracy/sequences/index.shtml
Game Classroom - K-6 Math and Language Arts Games • Game Classroom is an educational games website catering to the K-6 market. Game Classroom offers mathematics games and language arts games. Games can be found by selecting a grade level and then a subject area. Both the mathematics and language arts categories are subdivided into specific focus areas. Some of the games are unique to Game Classroom and some are games that are used on other sites.In addition to the games, Game Classroom offers a "homework help" section for each grade level and content area. In the homework help sections are sample problems and questions, how-to guides, links to other help websites, and links to games related to the help topic.