Zaid from ZaidLearn posted a list of 75 free edugames earlier this month. Here is an excerpt:
When you play a game at Gwap (e.g. ESP Game), you aren’t just having fun. You’re helping the world become a better place. By playing their games, you’re training computers to solve problems for humans all over the world.
2. WFP Foodforce
Understand world hunger and efforts to alleviate it.
3. Virtual U
Is a management education game, a simulation of a university, in which the user takes the role of a university administrator. It is designed to foster better understanding of management practices in American colleges and universities.
Experience historical incentives for the American Revolution from the grassroots level.
5. Discover Babylon
Uses sophisticated video gaming strategies and realistic digital environments to engage the learner in challenges and mysteries that can only be solved through developing an understanding of Mesopotamian society, business practices, and trade. ”
You can see the full article here.
I have not been posting on G&L for some time now and this is because I have been working on a research and development project. OceanQuest is a mini piece of game-based learning focused on creating engaging learning from relatively dry learning content. OceanQuest targets bearings in Key Stage 3 Mathematics, Ma3 (shape, space and measures). The game includes three different missions with varied tasks involving target practice, navigating between objects, giving bearings of objects, clearing sea mines and delivering supplies to islands. Below are screenshots of the missions:
I have compiled a 2 page teachers’ information pdf which contains more detail on learning objectives and the game itself. If you would like a copy please contact me. The game is password protected so please email me or comment on this post if you would like to play the game. The only requirement for the game is Flash Player 9. I have finished the first stage of development and am looking for constructive feedback or evaluations from people who work in related industries. If you are a teacher/other educator/developer or have experience with elearning and game-based learning, any feedback on the game will be very much appreciated. Educators, feel free to have students (KS3) play the game as feedback from the target audience will be extremely beneficial to the project.
I have had only positive feedback so far with people commenting on how fun and engaging it is and also on the potential they see in using the game with their students.
My email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ruth Reynard discusses emergent skill sets for teachers, looking at different ways to engage digital native students and make teaching more effective:
“while we do not know enough about long-term affects on thinking and perception, we can make sure of the technical capabilities and work hard to develop in ourselves the instructional skills we need to meet students where they are in terms of expectations and familiarity. We can also become more critical ourselves in how we perceive our own disciplines and more mobile in how we distribute content and intentional in how we stimulate student response. While mobile technology is coming at us via communication demands, we can monopolize these technological advances and think through how we can use them for instructional benefit and effectiveness.”
Author: Ruth Reynard, T.H.E. Journal, 27th April 2008
Full article available here.
‘A Modest Proposal’, IGDA’s Culture Clash column for April 2008, Matt Sakey writes on game-based learning and education from a culture-orientated perspective. He discusses the potential of game-based learning and highlights the need for the education system to be redesigned to focus on experiential learning. However, he also states that games fit into the experiential design and that they could teach all aspects of learning.
“Experts say that games can’t completely replace other forms of pedagogy. Maybe not, if you simply take games and try to stuff them up the current model for education, a model based mostly on rote memorization through lecture, and less on interpretation and application. You’re told that Animal Farm is a commentary on Socialism, told where Bhutan is. Games don’t work that way; they are experiential. Players draw their own conclusions from the context, which is why games couldn’t totally replace the system as it exists today. Redesign the model to focus on experiential learning, though, and games would be a perfect fit. Of course, the games would have to be very well-designed.”
Even if the games were very well-designed I believe there is a need for a teacher figure to guide discussions on the learning content with the class as a whole. Reflection and discussion is an important part of learning and understanding. In ‘A Grand Proposal’, Daniel Livingstone also comments on this article stressing the need for reflection and discussion.
“In fact, numerous reports on game based learning (several I’ve mentioned before on this blog, apologies for not linking to them just now – I may return and add the links later) emphasize the need for teachers to facilitate reflection when games are used in class. Why? Because in most cases playing the game alone is not enough to make students think things through.”
Zaid Ali Alsagoff posted a great list of free learning tools. Zaid has suggestions for almost every learning issue and below are some of them:
- Microblogging tool? Twitter
- Directory of edubloggers from around the world? International Edubloggers Directory
- Wiki tool? PBwiki
- Encyclopedia, which I can add to or edit? Wikipedia
- Audio recording tool? Audacity
- Tool to host my audio recordings? Odeo
- Tool to transform media into collaborative spaces with video, voice and text commenting? VoiceThread
- Tool to tell a story? Here are 50!
- Screencasting (recording) tool? Wink
- Hosted screencasting tool? Jing
- Mindmapping tool? FreeMind
- Tool to make screenshots from different browsers with one click? Browsershots
- Easy-to-learn 3D authoring software tool? Google SketchUp
See the full article here.