I commented on several blogs and the one thing that really stood out is the challenge level of games and how important it is to have enough difficulty but not to keep players engaged. I shared a short video with others, which was an interview about the importance of having that challenge in games. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PM-Z20MTkcY. I did a lot of research on the topic this week and learned a lot about the elements of serious games.
I found that I could learn from others about how they are or plan to incorporate serious games in their classrooms. I would like to find a way to incorporate serious games in my classroom and as I mentioned to another student, this semester is the perfect semester for me to learn about serious games because I will be going back into the classroom in the fall.
I shared several of the resources that I found in my blog. I was amazed at how many articles, videos, and other resources there were out there about serious games. I cited these resources in my previous blog for others to look at and use. I continue to learn a lot in this course and love to share what I am learning with others.
Week 2 Blog
After doing a lot of reading, research, and collaboration this week, I have determined that the following are components that need to be included in a serious game:
- A character or identity that can be used in the game. This character allows the player to interact with the environment. Often times you are able to build an avatar or character that represents yourself in some way. “These characters stage happenings in virtual space” (Pedagogy Elements, Components, and Structures for Serious Games Authoring Environments). Players are allowed to experience the game through a character that they can identify with. “Good video games capture players through identity” (Good Video Games and Good Learning). The players are drawn into the games with a character that they choose. Having a character or identity in a game is an essential component to getting players engaged in that game.
- Game should be challenging enough to keep interest and engagement but not too challenging to frustrate players. According to an interview with Curtis Murphy, a game should balance difficulty and skill where they have specific tasks (How to Build an Award Winning Serious Game). Games should be built to keep that balance. “The designer has to understand every kind of player playing the game and make sure that the game is enjoyable for all sorts of players”(Adaptive Game Mechanics For Learning Purposes). Games should not just target an expert or a beginner. The games should be able to adapt to everyone’s skill level.
- Games should have rewards built in and promote risk taking. Whether you are rewarded or penalized in a game, you should have immediate feedback (How to Build an Award Winning Serious Game). Immediate feedback especially on errors allows for learner reflection. Errors in games are seen as positive learning experiences. (Serious Games in Defense Education). The errors allow for learning and rewards give reinforcement and encouragement in serious games. If you don’t have some type of reward, the game is almost pointless for players. Rewards can be simple but everyone loves to get some type of reward or reinforcement.
- Build systematic thinking. Games should encourage students to think about the bigger picture, not just isolated facts and events (Good Video Games and Good Learning). This skill is a really important life skill that a serious game can teach you. What is going to happen if I do this? It directly translates over to many life events. I believe that serious games should be grounded in reality and teach these types of lessons.
There are many other components in serious games but these are the ones that I have researched and found to be important.
Adaptive Game Mechanics For Learning Purposes: making serious games playable and fun, (2003), http://www.cs.mcgill.ca/~jtremb59/Papers/Adaptive Game Mechanics for Learning Purposes – J Tremblay.pdf
Good Video Games and Good Learning, http://www.academiccolab.org/resources/documents/Good_Learning.pdf
How to Build an Award Winning Serious Game (video), http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PM-Z20MTkcY
Pedagogy Elements, Components, and Structures for Serious Games Authoring Environments (2007), http://www.cms.livjm.ac.uk/library/AAA-GAMES-Conferences/GDTW/2007/Papers/A4/LP4.pdf
Serious Games in Defense Education. (2008). http://www.caspianlearning.co.uk/MoD_Defence_Academy_Serious_games_Report_04.11.08.pdf
I commented on a few classmates’ blogs, I shared a few games and apps with that that I found related to their postings. I learned from them by reading about and researching the games and apps that they posted. It continues to amaze me that there are so many serious games and apps out there. This is my first experience with communicating with blogs. It has been an interesting experience and a learning curve for me. In my post, I have asked people to think about healthy gaming and how much time we spend gaming and I got some good responses from people. I learned that WOW actually has cautions built into it so people don’t dedicate too much time to playing it. That was news to me, thank you Leslie. I shared games for change with a few classmates and they were interested in that for using in the classroom setting. It has various games that kids can play to learn about the world and actions they might take to change things while learning about important real problems and issues. I learned from others and shared some games and apps that promote healthy living. I started playing the game called Lumosity, which promotes brain growth, and I shared that game with others, it is a game that is personalized to your own brain growth. It has games built in that trigger different parts of the brain. It is interesting game to play, one that really makes you have to think and remember patterns and puzzles. Overall, this week I learned a lot from some very knowledgeable classmates and was forced to go out of my element to play games, research games, communicate on blogs, and be able to share and teach others about serious games. I look forward to continuing to blog, learn, and teach with my classmates throughout this course.
I have to start by saying that I am brand new to the world of gaming. The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of gaming is of course the World of Warcraft. I have always been against gaming because of how much time it takes in peoples lives but after listening to Jane McGonigal I am beginning to see how it can have a positive impact on people’s lives. There are many games out there that I found when I did a google search. I found a lot of games related to the military, medical field, games that reach out to teens, games for people living with cancer, games about different countries and problems they are facing, and other life crisis games. After looking at many of these games and listening to the videos, I have changed my perspective even more because I have began to see the real value some of these games can have for people. Two of the main benefits that come to mind are that these games can help people to heal themselves and they can cause empathy. I am not fully sold on playing serious games but I would say after this week the idea has really began to grow on me.
Below are a list of a few of the games I found, the site that I found these particular ones on was http://www.gamesforchange.org:
- “Dumb Ways to Die” http://www.dumbwaystodie.com, this game is about the dumb ways people die and gives you the smart way to live. It makes you think about being more careful in certain situations.
- Climate Change http://www.gamesforchange.org/play/climate-defense/. This game allows you to look at ways the atmosphere is being distroyed and to try to stop climate change with things that reduce Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere.
- Code Fred Survival mode http://www.gamesforchange.org/play/code-fred-survival-mode/. This game has players think about your body and what it needs to survive by making the character survive while he is lost in the wilderness. Video of game http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=CjhWJmvx0x4