04 March 2014
The Challenge of Creating Educational Games
The game-based education trend has grown in popularity with educators over the years. The current challenge is that many commercial game developers are more focused on creating mobile apps geared toward adult consumers than designing games that have a positive impact on classroom learning. Educators want to be able to get accurate assessments with games. They have become essential for assessing teachers and influencing school policy and curriculum.
According to an article in EdTech Magazine, “With the amount of time students spend outside of school crouched in front of their Xboxes or mesmerized by glowing hand held displays, it is only natural that educators would look to captivate students with similar games in school.”
A common misunderstanding when it comes to using educational games is they are designed to simply entertain students. Many educators strongly disagree with this assumption. They argue the objective of game based educational technology is to provide a more effective learning experience. When students are enjoying the learning process it then becomes more effective.
Educational game developers are the first to admit that adequately capturing complex ideas is a challenge. Creating a story is not difficult but involving a meaningful layer of education requires a high level of skill. Developers are increasingly working more closely with educators to produce games that can teach students standard lessons as well as concepts that are a challenge to grasp.
Educational games are only one tool at an educator's disposal. Many educators are creating materials that elaborate on concepts and ideas addressed within a game. Educational games can also be used as part of a question and answer session and more. These games can take students from an idea in the virtual world to its application in the real world. They can be a valuable tool but educational games aren't designed to do it all.