Where we stand with respect to gamifying education

  • #1
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Summary:

Building games that can provide an interactive and practical(although virtual) learning experience for kids.

Main Question or Discussion Point

I am just wondering about where we stand with respect to gamifying education.

What are the best online educational games out there and which grades do they cover ?

How many reliable studies have been done which demonstrate the effectiveness (or lack of) of educational games ?

Do you think developing educational games will help atleast some students understand and develop an appreciation for the stuff they learn at school ? Assuming the games are well planned and designed to be able to impart knowledge as well as give a good gaming experience for the players.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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Yes, I think they can help. However, our attempts at doing so have failed because the end goal is always to sell your games to the school. You have to appeal to the ones who will decide not necessarily to the teachers and children who will use them.

One game that appealed to me and used by my kids was the GeoSafari. I bought several of their card packs and even developed some of my own cards with the notion to teach a foreign language.

geosafari.jpg

The game randomly selects a picture ie one of 26 LED lights flash and you must enter the right number for the answer. The machine knows the answer because you enter the card code (top right corner ie 1506) at the start of the game.

I'm sure it could be adapted to a total software implementation and I've considered doing it via Processing-based Java but sadly never have enough time to spend on it. However, with a new granddaughter, I may resurrect the idea shortly.
 
  • #3
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Courses also have to be structured differently from traditional teaching methods and you have to ensure you cover all the bases of the course to be successful.

Another possible game model would be a scavenger type game where the kids scour certain sites trying to find the answers the teacher is looking for. In my high school history class, our teacher would give a sheet of terms and events to look up. Some were easy and some required library research to find. Our teacher was helpful mostly unless he saw you were procrastinating to the last minute and then he would shut down his help. ANyway, this could be updated to the internet using selected sites like wikipedia...
 
  • #4
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I would say that my kids learned some communications and leadership skills from Dungeons and Dragons.

I think the question is too broad to answer.
 
  • #5
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I think the question is too broad to answer.
I was thinking about STEM subjects till high school atleast, I have no experience teaching languages and/or humanities. I did learn a bit of history from games like Age of empires.

We all know that kids can spend a lot of time on computer games. I was just wondering why we haven't successfully built games that are engaging to the players and end up teaching some stuff as well.

Obviously the difficulty levels and topics that a game is going to cover should be appropriate to the player's education, so that it's not too easy or too hard.

The trick is to make the kids feel like they having a good time and end up learning some stuff they wouldn't have learnt eagerly in a classroom session.
 
  • #6
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our attempts at doing so have failed because the end goal is always to sell your games to the school. You have to appeal to the ones who will decide not necessarily to the teachers and children who will use them.
Now that almost everything is moving online. Perhaps the servers can be kept running by using the ad money, so we don't even charge anyone to play the games. I am not entirely sure about the market for such products.
 
  • #8
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Now that almost everything is moving online. Perhaps the servers can be kept running by using the ad money, so we don't even charge anyone to play the games. I am not entirely sure about the market for such products.
I don’t think that’s a good model. Parents will complain that companies are targeting kids with advertisements. The ads will be distracting because that’s how ads work and you’ll have the added problem of ad appropriateness.

Cool story but likely fake:

Some years ago, a department store chain did a mailing campaign using shopper buying and viewing habits. The goal was to find those shoppers who were pregnant because they are open to considering new products more than other kinds of shoppers aka "The Holy Grail" of marketing.

A dad was livid that his 16 yr old daughter was getting baby ads in the mail and demanded that the store cease and desist sending her these ads. Later he discovered that the store identified her as pregnant before he knew she was pregnant. Oops.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/kashmirhill/2012/02/16/how-target-figured-out-a-teen-girl-was-pregnant-before-her-father-did/#1594f0f26668

and some counterpoint to the story I mentioned where they believe its fake:

https://www.kdnuggets.com/2014/05/target-predict-teen-pregnancy-inside-story.html
 
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  • #9
pbuk
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I'm sure it could be adapted to a total software implementation and I've considered doing it via Processing-based Java but sadly never have enough time to spend on it.
Easy to code and even easier to make available in JavaScript, I did a proof of concept on the train and put it on GitHub - I didn't have time to create an image though.

Now that almost everything is moving online. Perhaps the servers can be kept running by using the ad money, so we don't even charge anyone to play the games.
No need to pay for a server for an open source web app, just host it on GitHub. Won't work for multi-user games though.
 
  • #10
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Nice first start. The problem is that your solution is hard coded to the states (I think). The flexibility of the geosafari is that it allowed the states card to be replaced with any one of hundreds of cards alll with differing answers.

This would require using an image in the center and a card code to type in at the start (or something keyed to the name of or code of the picture) that mapped this question went to that answer and then your random selector feature.

one other thing the geo did was a random light show like it was thinking of what to ask next by cycling thru the lights randomly.
 
  • #11
pbuk
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The problem is that your solution is hard coded to the states (I think).
Not at all, I put the questions and the image data into a YAML file - for a different set of questions just create a new one. There isn't any code in there to swap files, but you can see how it is loaded in the code - it's all in that one file, only 210 SLOC for this proof of concept. Taking it forwards you would want to split out into modules and use WebPack or something to package it all together including the dependencies.
 
  • #12
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I am thinking about making an online physics game, any suggestions about the best JavaScript game engines/libraries will be appreciated.

It's going to be a simple 2D game.
 
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  • #13
pbuk
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I am thinking about making an online physics game, any suggestions about the best JavaScript game engines/libraries will be appreciated.
The only one I am aware of is Phaser - I've never used it but it looks impressive and well supported.
 
  • #14
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There’s the unity game engine. We’ve used it for some cool projects. It uses c# or JavaScript and can run on numerous platforms.
 
  • #15
pbuk
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There’s the unity game engine. We’ve used it for some cool projects. It uses c# or JavaScript and can run on numerous platforms.
Although Unity used to support a flavour of javascript called UnityScript, it has never been able to run in a web browser, which is what I think @Monsterboy is looking for. And support for UnityScript ceased in release 2018.2 (July 2018).
 
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I have played MMO games where you have to band together in guilds / groups of upto 40 people at a time to take on a bad guy. The game mechanics are designed that almost everyone has a crucial role to play in order for the bad guy to be conquered. This won't teach you anything on a education sylabus but it does teach organisation, team work, and the importance of all working towards a common goal. The guild leader who assigns out the tasks for each person does need leadership skills and I have seen these roles placed on people CV's when applying for jobs.
 
  • #17
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The only one I am aware of is Phaser - I've never used it but it looks impressive and well supported.
Thanks! I will check this out.
 
  • #18
pbuk
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  • #19
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I tried to integrate Phaser 3 with React library (with which I have some experience), didn't seem to work.
I tried following this tutorial but it didn't work.
I will have to do it in plain javascript like in the original tutorial.
 

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