What’s it all about then?

The Game Learner is all about using games in education – not just electronic ones (although these will definitely feature) but pretty well any kind of engaging activity that has at least some of the elements that make up a game.

I’ll get into what makes a game in more depth shortly but for now, some of the key elements of a game (according to Marc Prensky) are that:

1. Games are a form of fun. Giving us enjoyment and pleasure.
2. Games are a form of play. Giving us intense and passionate involvement.
3. Games have rules. Giving us structure.
4. Games have goals. Giving us motivation.
5. Games are interactive. Giving us doing.
6. Games are adaptive. Giving us flow.
7. Games have outcomes and feedback. Giving us learning.
8. Games have win states. Giving us ego gratification.
9. Games have conflict/competition/challenge. Giving us adrenaline.
10. Games have problem solving. Sparking our creativity.
11. Games have interaction. Giving us social groups.
12. Games have representation and story. Giving us emotion.

(from Marc Prensky’s writings )

For me, the three key elements, which you will generally find in any sort of game, from tic-tac-toe to Halo 3 are:

Rules – make things fair by forcing everyone to take specific paths to reach goals

Goals – the things you measure yourself against – we conceive a future state and devise strategies to achieve it.

Outcome/feedback – the game changes in response to what we do, gives us information related to our activities

I’ve had an interest in gaming since my parents brought home a basic Pong style game console in the late 1970s – as a young fella I was fascinated by it and it was much to my chagrin that they didn’t embrace the Atari revolution that followed not long after. (Or any of the following games systems for that matter – it wasn’t until I was well out of home in the mid 90’s that I was able to get a Sega MegaDrive and pick up where I’d left off – aside from the odd visit or 10 to the game arcades and friend’s houses that kept me going 🙂

Working as an educational multimedia designer/developer (I should really figure out that title one day) for the last few years – and studying for my Masters in Education (I.C.T in Education) has opened my eyes to some of the potential of games in teaching and learning. Given the emergence of gaming in general and the way the internet and the social web are reshaping the nature of knowledge and information in the 21st century, this seems like a good area to be focussing on.

I have a few game based design projects on the boil that I’ll talk about from time to time, there’s plenty of interesting other bloggers out there doing great work in this area (Karl Kapp and Jenny Weight to name but two) and plenty of research going on all the time – not to mention new games being released pretty well daily. I’ve also already done some writing on games in education for my aforementioned study which I’ll recycle tap into 🙂 so new material (hopefully) won’t be too hard to come by.

And of course, links, contributions, ideas, feedback and so on are always most welcome.

cheers for now then


This entry was posted in education, elearning, games, what is a game. Bookmark the permalink.

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