Monday, 24 June 2013

Keynote at iste 2013 - digital games, I can't believe we are still thinking like this

Educational games and games for learning have been researched, produced and tested for over 10 years. Some fine examples exist, and interesting results published. But one major problem stands in the way of this new technological nirvana. Designing a successful digital game takes incredible skill. The successful games that kids and adults play are the very cream products that an industry is turning out. Where there is one success, there are 1000s of failures, that fail on such a wide variety of reasons, You can get a game design wrong on some many levels. If we take the equivalent in the literary world it's like saying, "wow life of pi is such as great book, and so many people are reading and enjoying it, if only my lesson on . . . . was like that, I know let's write a book that's as good as that but stick some learning in it". The audience is too savvy, the skill required to create this takes years to develop, unless you push the resulting book down the students throats the market is too saturated for people to discover it and, most important of all, the  material is already rich with meaning.  

I could expand more, but the message is simple . . . 
Don't design educational games, but if you must think about games in the classroom, look at current commercial games and discuss them, they are already rich in meaning.

But . . .  Simulations, that's where it's worth exploring.

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