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Michael Williams

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Games that teach and make you learn new things.

What do you do in any game you play? You learn what the game is, how to play it and how you personally can be better at the game.

Well what if instead of shooting zombies, or racing your friends, building a city, you are learning a skill for a job, or grasping a topic more fluently for school, maybe you just want to up your A game. Well you already do this, just with more focus towards the game's core design, meaning the game designer is teaching you how to play his game through his game via tutorials, hands on play and rewards inside the game mechanics.

Ask any gamer, and they will tell you the wealth of useless knowledge they have about any given favorite game, including items in game, their abilities and attributes, the Npcs ( non player characters ) and the many levels or maps in the game known by heart. Imagine if we could take this same principles and overhaul our education system.

How would this be done to teach say Chemistry, Social behaviors, Geography, Math, Science, Nanotechnologies, Manners?


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  • Apr 17 2013: What you are refering to is (rather ridiculously) refered to as 'Gamification'

    It's taking the mechanisims that keep gamers hooked and using it in a non-gaming way.
    There is a lot of theory behind what intrinsicly motivates us, when we get dopamine released and the slighly scary way that games create reward loops to keep your dopamine releases consistent and give you withdrawles when you stop. I'd suggest you do a search for Gamification and see what you find.

    Game mechanisms have been sucessfully used for diet plans, excercise plans and online or offline learning but much more in marketing!

    If you'd like to know more feel free to email me. I work in elearning and gamification is big news in education right now.
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      Apr 17 2013: I must point out that this: ( What you are refering to is (rather ridiculously) ) is a hurtful statement, please if you cannot say something nice, don't say it at all. My mom told me that, you can thank her if you want.

      Now, in regards to the rest of your post, I agree motivation is Dopamine related, some games create this, others create learning loops. You are forced to learn about said subjects in order to progress to the next stage, these are not Educational games I am talking about, and to be completely honest, not what I am referring too. Educational games can be very dry and boring, due to how they approach subject matter. The reason games like Bf3 and EVEonline become multimillion dollar hits isn't due to their Educational aspects, it's more or less throwing people inside a world and having them learn about it with other people at the sametime. Thus you are actually having users play Teacher / student roles, as well are promoted to create new ways of playing inside the game that wasn't originally meant.

      It's more the secondary and third aspects of gameplay I am talking about that teach and reward us through learning that needs to be harnessed and not the logical notion of Games fun, put textbook with pacman and call it an educational game.
      • Apr 17 2013: Sorry Michael, I meant the word 'Gamification' is ridiculous not the concept. I guess I think it's ridiculous because it's looking at the mechanisms behind it that date back further than games themselves.

        If you are genuinely interested in how you can use the aspects of games in a learning environment I would strongly suggest this free course on coursera

        I and a few of our elearning designers have used this course and I feel it is one of the best free resources to learn more about game mechanics and how to use them outside of gaming. The theory applies just as easily to any classroom learning too and there are several examples of this throughout the course.
        Hope it helps and you can put it into practice for your ideas.
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          Apr 17 2013: All good, no harm, no foul. We all have perception and sometimes it's not working for us. :)

          I am genuinely interested, just not actively heading towards such, just as a Gamer myself, from experiences I just don't like to see things wasted, and if we have millions of people learning how to play these extremely challenging online games today, why aren't we using the same core mechanics in education.

          Coming from someone who has Adult ADD and who was ADD as a kid, I can say our school systems just aren't that engaging. Yes of course you have that special school or teacher who is the exception, but for the majority of the system, it's broken and needs to revamp itself to better relate, engage, and focus students in more interactive learning roles.

          Get rid of test taking as a means to show knowledge learned, Get Rid of Dittos and worksheet and for the love of all things natural, PLEASE stop teaching via MEMORY, who the hades decided memory was this important in regards to eduction? I could of just played Guess who all day. Since memory without constant use becomes forgotten.
      • Apr 17 2013: Totally agree! I failed everything in school! Very dyslexic.

        Maybe that's how I ended up working in education! To try and put it right! BAck in the classroom I used to try and turn everything into a game and the students loved it... if nothing else they all learned a lot more when they were having a good time!
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          Apr 17 2013: This is probably the best example I could of given about the Games that teach, is not to make the subject matter more interesting, but to use a game to bridge the natural divide people have communicating ideas and confusion about said idea.

          Games help establish a rule set, foundation and non judgmental forum that allows for relation of subject matter to the game for better understanding and data processing.
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          Apr 17 2013: I have known many teachers who went into teaching because they struggled in school either academically or socially and believed that history would help them understand and reach those who have the greatest challenges in learning.

          My teaching strategy has always been to create an adventure, with challenges and surprises.

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