Discussion: Educational Games

Professor Keesee suggested this would be the best way for us to share information and resources for the final product. 


Game-related Elluminate Webinars from the Week 15 module.


Teaching With Online Games - This guy will put you to sleep but he recommends a link-         http://www.simschool.org/- this is a virtual classroom game you must control with bad kids.


The Unifying View of Highly Interactive Virtual Environment (H.I.V.E.) Learning


After watching a couple of these I'm so glad we are learning hands on.


I found this series of articles on the ISTE Web 2.0 Toolkit page: Learning Connections articles from Learning and Leading with Technology, 2008. The first article deals with educational games.


Butch- Interesting artilce expecially  the Half-Life 2 part about creating a platform. Half-Life 2 operates off the Unreal Engine 2.0. Unreal is the biggest company on the gaming market. Here is a lits of there games they make- Unreal List. If you've played a 1st person game it's probably an Unreal Engine Running it. Here is the Unreal Editor most game makers are using. Unreal made the mistake of launching an Unreal Editor in a few game files like Repulic Commando on PC as part of a contest. They were shocked when people started creating video games using this Engine. People couldn't sell them, that would be illegal but they began an internal exchange of the game.


Educational Unreal Engine - UDK- Here is the site to get the 3.0 version beta- http://www.udk.com/ 

Here is some Peoples creations (to bad all of them, like most games for entertainment only-http://developer.nvidia.com/object/udk.html



This article should be one of the corner stones of our reasons why games are important.


I'll add it to the Resources as an MLA so feel free to quote anything out of the Article just put (Presnsky) behind it. I'll add a few more resources also just use the name as a quote this should make things go faster.


Summary of Presnsky's Article -  Fun, Play and Games: What Makes Games Engaging.


When I watch children playing video games at home or in the arcades, I am impressed with the energy and enthusiasm they devote to the task. … Why can’t we get the same devotion to school lessons as people naturally apply to the things that interest them?

-Donald Norman, CEO, Unext


          This article should be one of our key focuses on this project. It covers the why Educational Games are the key to learning. Educational games motivate and make learning fun and interactive.


          Games are interactive play that teaches us goals, rules, adaptation, problem solving, interaction, all represented as a story. They give us the fundamental needs of learning by providing - enjoyment, passionate involvement, structure, motivation, ego gratification, adrenaline, creativity, social interaction and emotion."Play has a deep biological, evolutionarily important, function, which has to do specifically with learning."(Prensky, p.6)



"1. Games are a form of fun. That gives us enjoyment and pleasure.

2. Games are form of play. That gives us intense and passionate involvement.

3. Games have rules. That gives us structure.

4. Games have goals. That gives us motivation.

5. Games are interactive. That gives us doing.

6. Games are adaptive. That gives us flow.

7. Games have outcomes and feedback. That gives us learning.

8. Games have win states. That gives us ego gratification.

9. Games have conflict/competition/challenge/opposition. That gives us adrenaline.

10. Games have problem solving. That sparks our creativity.

11. Games have interaction. That gives us social groups.

12. Games have representation and story. That gives us emotion. "(Prensky)


While classrooms, reading, lectures, movies, and conversations provide some of these items, games provide all of these.


For Classroom games I recommend we break them down by age or developmental level.

One example for older kids might be Classroom Jeopardy PowerPoint or Deal or No Deal using Questions rather than cases.

Check out the Hardware module for information on audience response systems that can be used to make PowerPoint presentations interactive--and more game-like. (gsk)

Edutopia video and article: Animation as a Pathway to College and a Career



Gamestar Mechanic empowers kids to have fun while they explore their passion for games and game design.
In addition to being a fun game, Gamestar Mechanic was also designed as a learning platform to foster the development of 21st Century skills while teaching the principles of game design. To learn more about and start using Gamestar in your class or after school program, please check out the For Teachers section of our website.  (gsk)

Hirumi, A. Playing Games in Schools

Playing Games in School focuses on four topics: why games should be a part of education, the availability of games in four core subjects and physical education, selecting and integrating games in school, and alternate perspectives on game-based learning. Each chapter takes an in-depth look at research or case studies on topics including how today's students differ from previous generations, integrating games into the classroom with instructional strategies, incorporating game-based learning without computers, commercial off-the-shelf games, virtual environments, and more. The additional resources throughout the book, such as lists of guidelines and a technology consent form template, assist educators as they integrate this compelling form of instruction into their classrooms.

Table of Contents

Excerpt (Chapter 10)  Integrating Games and Facilitating Game-Based Learning

Excerpt (Chapter 4) Playing Games and the NETS


The 5Ws and H of Playing [Video] Games in School: Part 1 – Why Play Games?

Says first in a series of blog posts by Atsusi "2c" Hirumi on Playing [Video] Games in School--but I couldn't find any others. Still good stuff.

I like the Excerpt Ch. 4 on the 6 standards for children involving games and learning but they forgot one- Anger Management and Frustration Control. 


Ok for advantages I say we add the NETS standards and how gameplay works with them. If I get time later I'll add them.

Here's what I have typed up for the "Serious Games for Serious Topics" article. What do you think? Also, if I'm completely off on how we should be structuring the main page, please let me know. I'm not 100% if we should be doing "link-description of link" or if we should be doing write ups like I did. Maybe I missed the rubric or something? (DC)




The article “Serious Games for Serious Topics” by Clark Quinn at eLearn Magazine outlines one of the largest benefits of technologically-enhanced educational games. It studies the fact that serious games create a hands-on, minds-on opportunity that allows players to actively focus, create and change a scenario while simultaneously learning about consequences of choice in the situation.


As students become more engaged and committed to succeeding in the game, they become more willing to learn about the scenario the situation is taking place in. They begin to care about learning more about the topic and how to solve the problem. As the article points outs, “It’s the difference between watching a nature documentary and going backpacking in the wilderness.” (Quinn) Rather than just memorizing new material like you would watching a documentary, serious games allow students to become active participants in discovering new ideas, information and solutions to problems while also allowing them to feel the tension and suspense of the crisis.




Clark Quinn’s article on serious games also points out that “…learning games are not total learning experiences.” It’s important for educators to remember to create opportunities for students to research the topic further and reflect and respond on what they learned. A disadvantage to gaming is when schools use only the game to teach the material and fail to follow up on the lesson to be sure students have a clear, deep understanding on the issue.


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Just so you know, the drop down menu under 'Insert' in the tool bar offers a way to add a horizontal line. The icon to the right of the ABC Checkmark also allows you to insert the Horizontal Line straight from the toolbar. gsk (Thanks - BA)


The link discription is great for the Examples. These look good for adding to the Advantages and Disadvantages. I agree the Advantage and Disadvantage need some work and should be written more like a Literary Analysis Paper. I was hoping some others would jump in and add to these areas but with the deadline coming up were going to need to do it soon. Okay. I'm going to leave them here and once we have all our portions done we can work everything together to post on the main page. Have you found any disadvantages? I'm having trouble finding some.-DC  Type in limitations, challenges, obstacles + digital games. Try this page from LearnNC for disadvantages/limitations. Slidefinder slides.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of serious games


I just came across and excellent link while looking for colleges that advertise using video games and this one and this one.  I'll be adding some other info in a second I hope to update the comments already added. I really like these three too. Can you add them to the Classroom Resources section with a little description?-DC (I was hoping the other 2 would jump in but it looks like were going to have to wrap this up shortly, I'll wrap up some of the things I've been working on and put it with your advantages and disadvantages)

I'm not satisfied with the definition for educational games. The Horizon Report 2007 indicates, "The term “serious games” has been coined to describe games that have an educational purpose and nonentertainment goals....One genre that offers interesting potential for education is massively multiplayer online (MMO) games, which bring many players together in activities that are sometimes collaborative and sometimes competitive, generally goal-oriented, and often tied to a storyline or theme."  The Horizon Report 2010 indicates, "Game-based learning is an expansive category, ranging from simple paper-and-pencil games like word searches all the way up to complex, massively multiplayer online (MMO) and role-playing games. Educational games can be broadly grouped into three categories: games that are not digital; games that are digital, but that are not collaborative; and collaborative digital games. The first category includes many games already common in classrooms as supplemental learning tools. Digital games include games designed for computers, for console systems like the Nintendo Wii, and online games accessed either through a special game client (like IBM’s Power Up) or through a web interface (like Whyville)."  gskeesee


Butch and I were just talking about whether or not we should include all educational games or just digital-based. I was typing this up while you were editing so I'll go back and add the other two categories. Other than the missing two categories, does this sound okay? (DC) Wait, I just want to be clear on this. Should we add all types of games to the entire page or just acknowledge that there are other types of educational games in the definition? Can you clear this up for us, Dr. Keesee? (DC) Yes your doing a great job on working the ideas together. I'll sort and divide the 3 game types to give examples and put them in the wording. We seem to have accumulated quite a lot of examples and spacing them through the work seems to work best. After re-reading some of the highlights of the Horizontal Report I'm going to make some updates to the Definition. (BA) PS- I'd say you've done more than enough DC. Make your final posts and lets put this baby to bed.




According to the 2010 Horizon Report, games are a way for students to experience the struggles and successes of collaboratively working towards a solution to a complex problem set within an interesting storyline. It also points out that although games have been a staple in classrooms for years, “…they are single-player or turn-based rather than truly collaborative.” (Horizon Report.) Collaborative digital games allow students to work with others and develop deep thinking and problem-solving skills rather than just memorization of a topic. One example of these types of games are massively multiplayer online games.


Rather than a single dimension of play, Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) games include a number of “sub-games or paths of engagement that are available to players.” (Horizon Report.) The various levels of engagement requires students to work both on their own and within a group to accomplish a pre-determined goal within a storyline. The games are challenging and often force students to research the topic further outside of the game in order to understand and succeed. 




Another advantage of educational games is that students can work on multiple skills at once. The 2010 Horizon Report expands on this idea and lists a long list of benefits from “open-ended, challenge-based, truly collaborative games” such as MMOs. Using games of this type can open opportunities for students to work on skills in all areas of traditional education at the same time including research skills, problem-solving and leadership.


Examples of Classroom Uses:


The New York City school Quest to Learn (http://www.q2l.org/) is a great example of how curriculum can be structured to allow for students to work collaboratively on units and work together to solve problems. They also frequently use games to help students experience and have a deeper understanding of the material they study. (Horizon Report)


Resources for Classrooms:


“Mithril (http://stanford.edu/~pnaqlada/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; players must master mathematical concepts in order to cast spells, defeat foes, and progress in the game.” (Horizon Report)



So according to the rubric, we should be adding some multimedia aspects into our page. I don't think this is a video we should necessarily post on the site, but it does have a good explanation of the disadvantages of collaborative video games in the classroom. It also includes a script of the video so I'll write something up for the disadvantage portion. The part I like the most is from 1:40-2:26 but the rest of the video is pretty good as well. I'm going to post a link to the video instead of the actual video right now so that the script will be included. (DC) Update: The write-up is below.


Big Think Video


Here's another that we could use for an example of classroom use.



From the Big Think video I listed above...




In his video for BigThink.com, video game designer Jesse Schell outlines a few of the problems schools face with integrating serious and MMO games into the current curriculum.


The first point he makes is that “games don’t fit well on a time table.” It’s hard to determine how long it will take a student to accomplish sub-goals and ultimately finish a game, which can pose a problem for teachers wanting to outline how long classroom units should take. While we could set a deadline for when students must end the game and move onto a new unit, we also run into the problem of students feeling discouraged from not successfully finishing a game. If we allow students to stay on a game until they finish, we run the risk of some students falling behind others. It also creates much more for the teacher to keep track of.


Jesse goes on to point out that because each student/group plays his own game, they’re likely to encounter a completely different experience from someone playing the same game, but making different decisions two seats down. This difference in experiences also mucks up the traditional teaching method of each student learning from the same material with the same experiences. It also leads into another problem that Jesse points out- if each student is learning and experiencing something different, teachers will have a much more difficult time keeping track of who has learned what. These are issues that can be solved, but schools need to be informed of them before introducing these games to the curriculum.


Gameplay is much like reading a book as comparing it to traditional learning. The same debate of what approach to take on reading was taking place in the 1960's and 70's. Louise Rosenblatt developed what is called now as The Reader Response Theory where the reader brings his own frame of reference in a Literature work unlike new criticism where the Literary works interpretation is fixed and there is only one right answer.

I found this rubric for Assessing Student Learning in Virtual Simulations and Serious Games and thought you might be able to use it.