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EDUC 552: Group 2- Design Challenge

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Part I: Outline of general parameters of the game Focusing on intrinsic motivation, I propose the following enhancements to the Dart game. 1) Include a story-line at the beginning of the game. 2) Option to choose a character (or create avatar) to shoot the darts. 3) Option to choose color/shape of balloons. 4) Have various play options: beat the clock (try to solve as many problems in a given time period), competition (play with another player- whoever shoots the most darts wins). 5) Incorporate recognition by showing your score, as well as HIGH Score 6) Have the game available on a hand-held platform, as well as web-based with the option for cooperation or competition.

Part II: Develop one scene in more detail A video game used for education purposes, or virtually for any purpose, can not be created with a one-size-fits all mind set. Therefore, the one enhancement that would be ideal to detail would be the concept of adding control, particularly "choice" for the learner. For a environment to be engaging to the learner, one must intrinsically be motivated. Therefore, if more options are present to "customize" the learning game, the learner will ultimately be more willing and interesting to participate. Being able to choose or customize a character or avatar, and the colors used in the game may be important to some players, but not to others. Choosing the option to "beat the clock" may be interesting and ultimately motivating to some students. Students would be learning math fractions the same way through the dart game, however may challenge themselves further and play more by attempting to beat their best score, or their best time.

Part III: Why is this a good educational game I feel this is a good educational game because the topic is simple- learning fractions. However, the learner will have options to personalize the game, which may cause a positive impact on immersion and engagement. Furthermore, having a story and ultimate goal for the game (ex. popping x balloons in x seconds) will be factors that promote interest in the game, and ultimately learning.

Yasmin’s comments: These are some great ideas -- you can even expand more into stories etc -- think about the games people play today as compared to 20 years ago. One thing you should consider is whether the game teaches something new or has he learner practice something they might have learned already. The one good thing about the design challenge is that you don't have to implement the game in reality -- just design it.

Part I. Race to the Top

This game simulates participating in the Olympics, using Math to compete.

1. Gameplay:

-The player choose his/her country of origin and designs avatars for the Olympic Team (this could be personalized uniforms or as advanced as uploading a photo of the player to be the athlete).

-The team competes in a variety of sports that incorporate math to move forward. Specifically, the Darts game would be altered to an archery tournament, where the student uses the same mechanisms as Malone's dart game to hit the bullseye.

-For classroom purposes, this would use a computer-based platform and a series of minigames (each sport, to be better conducive to the classroom time constraints). Computers could be networked to each other, so that students would compete in a classroom-wide Olympics, offering an incentive to compete and also a reward for doing well.

-For outside classroom play, the game would be networked with computers across the world, letting students at home compete with other students.

Part II

We focused in our group on ways to make the gameplay more exciting and engaging for a fourth grade level (which we supposed to be the average grade for fraction learning). Some of our specific ideas were:

1. Improve the gaming interface by using a power meter, instead of the darts. The power meter would act like the darts (that is, the student would be told which area to hit on the power meeting, like the balloon on the dart). This would allow the game to be conducive to multiple sports.

2. Using an announcer to tell the student where to hit the meter and praise them when they do or encourage them when they don't. The announcer would use phrases like "You must hit at the 6/8th to move on!', so that even students who do not win the medal feel like they have succeeded.

3. Students would be stimulated not only by the fantasy of playing in the Olympics, but encouragement from the announcer, crowd, music and a medal-giving ceremony. This would help the game appeal across genders (boys like the fantasy of popping balloons;girls like music rewards, according to Malone p.227).

4. Gameplay could also be more customizable, to avoid boredom. For example, we would introduce time limits for advanced students (beat the clock, how many in a minute, etc). This would not only add another dimension to gameplay, but help with memorizing some math problems through speedlearning (like time tests).

Part III

The topic is simple- learning fractions. However, the learner will have options to personalize the game, which may cause a positive impact on immersion and engagement. Furthermore, having a story and ultimate goal for the game will be factors that promote interest in the game, and ultimately learning.It also draws from from several important educational dimensions:

-It employs a practice model for skill mastery, allowing students to perfect skills learned in the classroom.

-It brings the Olympics to life, adding cultural knowledge to Math to make the game more engaging and thus math more engaging. It also plays on pre-existent interest in sports and cultures to engage students-- "to be maximally motivating, performance goals should be personally meaningful." (Malone, p.233).

-By using time limits and progressions, it allows the game to morph and change for each student, by difficulty and through interface. "...intermediate level of difficulty and challenge will stimulate the greatest intrinsic motivation" (p.231)

-By allowing students to create their own team/avatar, it personalizes the experience.

-Incentives such as medals and goals act as motivators. The game is an endogenous fantasy-- skill and fantasy depend on each other. Malone suggests these types of games are both interesting and educational.

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