My (Story) – Toy – Puzzle – Game

Wave interference, South Island, NZ

Wave interference, South Island, NZ (Photo credit: brewbooks)

The main goal of EdTech 532 is to develop an educational game. As a step towards that goal, I’m reviewing others definitions of games and considering the storyline my game will follow.

In general, the game I have in mind involves students interacting in a world similar to their own real world with some non-real-world surprises. On their quest, students will encounter problems that can be solved using math. The problems are ones they would face in a normal day or involve topics and/or careers they are interested in.

When students need to learn a new skill for which they have no previous knowledge, a quest will be served up that will provide pictorial, contextual experience. As students develop skills, they will have more choices within the game. Similar to a “Choose Your Own Adventure” story, students will be allowed to choose from a set number of paths. The number of options, challenges, and the complexity of those challenges increase as the student’s knowledge-base increases.

The storyline for these quests will be partially dependent on the student. Student choice of avatar will define some initial quests and their choices will allow them to create their own story path. Students will be able to change their avatar during the game which will alter their storyline.

This game will be geared to middle-school students, so the avatars/characters will relate to areas of common interest to students of this age. Some characters I’m considering are a rocker, an athlete, a fashion designer, and an animal trainer. In addition to these characters reflecting middle-school students’ interests, they provide opportunities for a broad range of real-world mathematical applications.

I’ve started collecting a few images to convey what my game might look like. Take a look HERE.

Chris Crawford defines a game as “an interactive, goal-oriented activity, with active agents to play against, in which players (including active agents) can interfere with each other.” (Wikipedia) What I have in mind fits this definition with one exception. I don’t have plans for players to interfere with each others progress in the game. This may change, but, for now, my thinking is that interference may not contribute to the educational value of the game. Students will interact with each other and with characters in the game. If “interfere” is interpreted in a broader sense that would include players collaborating with each other, then my product fits in with Crawford’s game definition.

Chris Crawford has published a document about computer game design via Scribd. I have embedded this document below. I will use this document to help me further develop my game idea.

AECT Standards

Standard 1–Design
As I review documents and articles related to game development, my knowledge of instructional design is both broadened and refined. My experiences with a smaller subset of digital learning is being expanded while my understanding of what is educationally beneficial refines my view. This process is like using a sieve to collect a desired item. In the end, I’ll have a magnificent collection of educational building blocks to create a game that will engage and expand student learning in an efficient and effective way.

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