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Educational Gaming for Free Spirited Skeptics Theory and Challenges of Pedagogical Games May 8, 2012 Elizabeth Pyatt

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Presentation on theme: "Educational Gaming for Free Spirited Skeptics Theory and Challenges of Pedagogical Games May 8, 2012 Elizabeth Pyatt"— Presentation transcript:

1 Educational Gaming for Free Spirited Skeptics Theory and Challenges of Pedagogical Games May 8, 2012 Elizabeth Pyatt gaming@psu.edu

2 Who Am I?  Elizabeth Pyatt  Instructional Designer  Penn State since 2000  Solitaire addict, just brought Wii  Minesweeper, Puzzles, PacMan, Space Invaders, Missile Command, Jeopardy  Educational Gaming Commons  http://gaming.psu.edu http://gaming.psu.edu

3 Outline  What’s a Game?  Does there have to be a winner?  Potential for Learning  PBL, motivation/affect, teams…  Skeptics Corner  Leading to “What to Avoid”  First Steps

4 But first a contest  How many games will I mention?  Need names plus count  There are some prizes on the line.  Audience will determine accuracy of list

5 What’s a Game?  Favorite games (any genre)  What do they have in common?

6 Official Characteristics  Set of rules/restrictions  Semi-arbitrary (e.g. no hands on the ball)  Context is “Not Real”  Scoring Method  Competition (& a “Winner”?)  Many expect there to be  Sometimes you beat the computer…or yourself  Successful games are “fun”

7 Parameters?  There’s some candy on the line…

8 Interesting Parameters  Electronic vs. Non-Electronic  Team vs. Individual  What Skills are Being Practiced?  Math, Word, Strategy, Dancing, Music  Meditation, Building, Flying, Farming, Sales  Time investment  Casual (short & sweet)  Non-casual (lots of investment, high reward)  ± Background Narrative  Games vs. Puzzles vs. Toys  How many outcomes?

9 Educational Possibilities  Games invoke a variety of pedagogical principles such as…

10 Team Playing

11 Group Learning  World of Warcraft  Discuss strategy, plan missions  Make trades  Compile notes  http://www.wowwiki.com/ http://www.wowwiki.com/  Practice English grammar  Econ in Outer Space  A game in which students build a modern economy from scratch post spacecraft wreck  ECON 201, UNC Greensboro

12 Role Play

13 Empathy  What’s it like to be another person?  “Warrior” is a common role BUT  Business Administrator  Sims & ECON 102 Sims (Campus)  Bucket of Beans (S. Pacific Reciprocity)  Players learn the value of “cashing in” favors  StarPower  Establish an arbitrary upper class via trades  This class can establish new rules  BEWARE  http://www.stsintl.com/schools- charities/star_power.html http://www.stsintl.com/schools- charities/star_power.html

14 Quests and Missions

15 Pot Assembly Required

16 PBL/Challenge Based Learning  Games are often won by solving problems  AKA “Quests” or “Missions”  Educational Quests  Beer Distribution Game (used in Smeal)  Oregon Trail  Rare educational game that was a commercial success

17 Simulation Game Genres  God Game  Game in which players control parameter of universe (e.g. Sim Games)  History Sims  Age of Empires  Trial of Lizzie Borden (U Mass)  Science Simulations  Flight Simulator, Spore

18 SimHealth Played as part of HPA 101

19 Leveling Up Pac Man Maze levels Pac Man 5D which presents a variable 3D grid. Invented by a Russian gamer.

20 Mastery Learning  Achieve Minimal Score before moving to next Lesson  AKA complete level 1 before level 2  Scaffolding  Each level introduces new element  Adding a touch of difficulty adds interest  Too little is boring  Too much causes gamers to quit  Zone of Proximal Development  Unlocking in Games  Leveling up unlocks new tools (reward)  New equation? New diagram?

21 Shoot To Kill

22 “Drill and Kill”  Games encourage practice  And automaticity of skills  Such as pattern recognition  But with fun graphics & music

23 See also  Math drills  More fun with tiny angry scientists?  Algebra Meltdown (http://www.mangahigh.com/en_us/games)  Vocabulary and spelling  More fun as Hangman, crossword?  Identification  …

24 Affect/Motivation  Games can add motivation to  Chores (Chore Wars – competitive chore points)  Jogging (Nike Plus) – badges, leaderboard  Self-Improvement (SuperBetter)

25 Skeptics Corner  Games “better than reality”  Aren’t we supposed to be helping students deal with reality?  YES…however  Gamers often good at tackling real world challenges and learn real world skills  Reflection can help them see how…

26 Just Games?  What about  Active Star Trek fan communities…  Or Dorothy Dunnett readers  Knitters, needlepointers, metal workers  Toastmasters  “Stovetop” league? Monday Morning quarterback?  …

27 “Gaming the System”  AKA Cheating  Games  Cheat codes, destroying weaker opponents  Some socially OK, others not  In School  Academic Dishonesty  BECAUSE…

28 When games are high stakes… Survive annihilation. Win free nail polish for life?

29 Can we still have fun?  Low Stakes vs High Stakes  Games (low stakes) + reflection (higher)  Students do enjoy  Change from lecture/quiz  Leader Boards (when low stakes)  Games if logistics not too burdensome  A certain level of goofiness or joie de vivre  Game may teach crucial skill  So maybe we do require it anyway

30 Can we make Failure an Option?  Games teach via mistakes  Because they allow resets  Gamers comfortable experimenting  Can we use more “maximum scores”?  Can we give hints  Maybe with minor points deductions

31 Thinking Game Goals  Games can allow for:  Strategic/Systems thinking  Experience as a different person  Add motivation  Practice of low level skills/knowledge  Games don’t  Convey content (except in the “narrative”)

32 Oregon Trail  Goal: Teach about life on the Oregon Trail Life on the Oregon Trail is very hazardous, requires careful planning, and crosses a variety of terrain

33 Quick Starts  Casual Games  Hangman/Peril/Typo  http://gaming.psu.edu http://gaming.psu.edu  PowerPoint Templates  ANGEL games (crossword/match)  Gamification  Badges? Quests? Avatars?  Case Studies (gussied up)?  Many avatar/graphics tools

34 Fun Play  Find the challenge “sweet spot”  Not too easy or too difficult  Challenging gun for faculty ≠ fun for students  Allow for goofiness  Graphics, sound effects, puns  Allow for some “low stakery”  Can activities be replayed?

35 What do you mean “goofy”?  Many use great cartoons but do we  Show warriors fleeing the scene after a mistranslation?  Simulate explosions in engineering?  Turn ourselves into an avatar?  Turn homework into “quests” or “missions?  Add game graphics to assignments?  Allow students to earn points towards late assignment submissions?  Unlock “power” equations? Tools?

36 Explaining Functions w/Subs  Using cash register buttons as metaphors for algebraic functions in Math 21 Starring Deb Mirdamadi, Mont Alto Campus

37 Failing can be Funny

38 Today we learned  Games can be good learning environments  Problem solving, skills practice, collaboration  Games have many facets  Games in school ≠ games in the wild  But hopefully can be fun & educational  Gaming does require a mental readjustment for instructors  But there are many paths to victory

39 Who Am I?  Pragmatrix  Super Powers  Master of Learning Objective Congruence  Assessor of Pedagogical Games  Explorer of New Technologies  Queen of “Keeping it Real”

40 Some References  McGonigal, Jane  Reality is Broken: Why Games Make us Better.  James Paul Gee  What Video Games Have to Teach Us about Learning and Literacy  Koster, Ralph  A Theory of Fun  Bartle, Richard (player types)  Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades: Players who Suit MUDs

41 Contest Results  How many games did I mention?  Must provide names


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