Reflecting Allowed

Maha Bali’s blog about education

New Educational Game Idea

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This is a game I am brainstorming for next semester. It’s to teach students about educational game design. I do different parts of it usually throughout the semester but think if I can get students for two hours straight I could do this one and cover lots of ground in a fun way.

Feedback welcome.

Game objective:

To promote student reflection on different components of an educational game, focusing alternately on educational aspects and game aspects, ending with aligning game design to desired learning outcomes… all while actually playing a game, and ending with developing their own game and reflecting on how good it is educationally, game-wise, and alignment wise. So learning outcomes:

A. Evaluate a game’s quality based on how good game-wise and education-wise and whether both align
B. Develop their own game under constraints of certain learning outcomes while being inspired by an existing game (free to modify a lot of original game)
C. Learn about and apply ideas of learning outcomes, multiple intelligences, game mechanics, dynamics, aesthetics and question values behind certain aspects of games – application by analyzing, application by using in own game and later evaluating new hacked game.

Full Idea so far..

In teams, players go through various phases towards better reflection on games they already know.

1. Game of choice: First, a team member randomly picks a card with the name of a game (categories of e.g. board games, digital games, role play, etc. possible). They have to then pick (random or choice? It would be good to have some choice; but if so, this choice should be made before game is chosen – more difficult) a “mode” for helping people guess it (pictionary, charades, etc). This process can actually be used to pair up team members i.e. whoever guesses becomes partner of person who was acting/drawing, etc. Go around so all teams have a game to work with and a partner. (possible variation – if ppl already have partners and guess a game they add that person to their team and have more games to work with!)

2. Analyze the game: each team will analyze their game in terms of Knowledge, Skills, Attitudes it promotes; Multiple Intelligences it addresses, whether cooperative or competitive, and any hidden values. All teams can play this in parallel using regular six-sided die (one for each of the above questions about the game – can cover the dots with stickers K, S, A, M, C, H  – for each of above), each team plays the die but ALL teams have to answer the question. E.g. A team plays “1” so all teams need to write down a knowledge outcome of their game (or several?). A team plays “4” and all teams need to write down multiple intelligences met in their game. If a team says “pass” (e.g. cannot think of a knowledge outcome for their game, other teams can chime in – we all learn – but the team that answered gets to keep these outcomes for next phase of this game)

3. Hack the game for learning: first, give another team two of your outcomes. Second, take from another team one of their outcomes; Third, negotiate with other team an exchange of one outcome. Once an outcome changes hands it doesn’t go back to original team. Then work to change your game so it meets these different outcomes now. (problem w this part is all these outcomes might not be that educational to begin with… So either the games already in the deck need to be interesting enough ORRR there can be a separate deck with good outcomes written somewhere. Perhaps things students say early on they would find valuable to learn/teach).

4. Optional alternative or extension of #3 – hack game for multiple intelligences or coop/competitive

5. Evaluation/Discussion – evaluate hacked game on game aesthetics/dynamics/mechanics and whether they align w outcomes and whether game meets multiple intelligences
(maybe there should be a phase of analyzing mechanics, dynamics aesthetics? But for games we know, it might be boring?)

If the above seemed confusing – read below

Basic Idea

Three main phases; 2 extra phases if there is time

1. Guess the game (pictionary, charades, describe, or 5 Q’s)

2. Analyze the game – knowledge, skill, attitude outcomes, coop vs collab, hidden values, multiple intelligences? (pick cards or roll dice and need to answer. These are 6 different things so dice is enough – roll it 6 times )

3. Hack the game for learning – exchange outcomes w other team (negotiation – not for exchange). Make up a difficult outcome to meet and give to other team (move earlier in game?). Choose an outcome from other team (take by force). Hack game to meet these 3 outcomes.

4. Optional: hack the game for Multiple Intelligences OR for being cooperative if it’s competitive

5. Discussion – evaluate your hacked game: what makes this game fun/engaging (aesthetics)? What are game rules (mechanics)? What actually happens throughout the game (dynamics)? NOW: do the game aesthetics, mechanics, dynamics promote the learning outcomes you have in mind?

Background knowledge needed for phase 2:

(6-sided die w stickers on)

A. What are learning outcomes? What do we mean by knowledge, skills, attitudes

B. What are hidden outcomes? (not obviously in the rules but you end up doing them to win or during the game)

C. What are 8 multiple intelligences? Verbal, logical/mathematical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, spatial/visual, bodily/kinesthetic, musical, naturalistic

D. Cooperative vs competitive games

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