Once again I would like to thank all of you that participated. If you corner me I owe you a beer or one of my specialty drinks. Hell I might even cook for you : )
I just wanted to give you a synopsis of what I pulled from the information given. However I think an overview of the project would help you understand my intentions more.
The final result of this is to determine what factors are necessary in the design of a game that will be used for education. Cognitive scientists, learning theorists and educators have done a ton of research and have determined that focused intent and motivation are key to deep learning. Duh all of us education types say. We realize that. The real question is how do you generate motivation. This is where game design comes in, or at least is going to make an attempt.
Human beings are pattern associated creatures and we learn best when we are allowed to become involved with a subject in a method that allows us to determine our own pace and levels of autonomy. A key factor to learning is the intrinsic value associated with choice. It just makes sense that a person has dedicated interest in something that they can internalize and in some way make their own.
Due to standardization in most classroom settings a lot of this is lost. So instead of having eager willing minds creating new associations through autonomous learning situations peppered by socialization, you have automatons that sit and obediently for the most part regurgitate dictated facts, never making solid connections because they didn’t gain this information through exploration but through rote memorization. Information that is temporarily stored and ultimately lost.
The main factor to educational game design is in essence motivation. The issue with a lot of current educational offerings as those of you in the field know is that American students are becoming less and less motivated to participate fully in their own education. However motivation is a tricky thing because it is difficult to define and even more difficult to instill in large groups with different learning styles. However the nature of game design is to be able to motivate people with different attributes to participate. Games connect on different levels for different people and it is this sense of personalization that education is missing.
For the most part this was my theoretical model for the survey I put together. I just hope that the questions reflected these thoughts. For the most part I got the answers I thought I would. And as always some of the individual responses were just fascinating.
Here is a listing of how everyone defined a game. Please keep in mind that game designers also participated in this survey. I’m sure you’ll be able to spot them : )
An interactive medium that can convey story and/ or feelings for the benefit and entertainment of others.
- A game is an activity, primarily engaged in for entertainment, in which players attempt to achieve an objective through a predetermined set of rules.
- A competitive activity resulting in a winner and one or more losers when completed, but also provides learning and fun for all.
- an escape, a way to interact with others directly (board games) or indirectly (MMORPG)
- I play for enjoyment, also just like exercise......it soothes me. It helps my mind/skill, cause it helps me think.
- Something that challenges a person to think in a variety of ways- quickly, strategically, etc.
- A game is something that holds the player's attention and is fun, engaging, and makes the player think to solve puzzles or patterns at the same time. I feel as though a good game, no matter what the genre, can tap into all these core essentials.
- Something interactive, usually fun.
- An interactive entertainment, either enjoyed by yourself or with others. Interaction is the key.
- A ludic situation with a predefined set of rules. Games require decision-making to either bring about a win-state or keep a lose-state from happening.
- An structured activity with rules and goals that you engage in for fun.
- A game is a (typically) friendly competition against others (human, animal or machine) or against oneself for the purpose of entertainment or other amusement.
- A form of play that is competitive with set rules and decided by luck or skill
- Something that entertains you for any amount of time.
I built my survey in 2 parts. One was a control setting, which is the one the bulk of you took. This was to give a general impression of your idea game environment by letting you impose your game of choice over the questions offered.
The second survey was to rate how well a particular style of game fit this model; in this situation Facebook games. Most of you didn’t take the second one because I believe they did not necessarily apply to you. The difference in the responses was telling. Most people who took both said that while they felt their idea game situation was valuable to them and involved aspects of learning, Facebook games did not supply the same benefit. They stated that they would not seek them out; they did not feel as if they learned from them and they did not hold them as a highly valuable form of entertainment.
The major difference between these games and the control games was literally choice. Facebook games are simplistic and leading. In a lot of ways they mimic what education is currently doing. They tell the answer to playing the game as you are playing the game sometimes making independent thought unnecessary.
It was a fluke that I designed it this way because I’m not a fan of Facebook games so I actually never really played any until this project was proposed. I would open one up and instantly lose interest and not bother to play. However for the sake of research I forced myself to do it : ) The information ended up being invaluable to me so I wanted to share it just in case any of you are ever called upon to explain the validity or lack there of for incorporating social media games in your classrooms or workplaces as a legitimate educational tool.