Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
games in education is vast and unlimited; good
games have to be designed and developed aligned
with specific educational standards and objectives
and field-tested in the appropriate educational
settings. To be effective, educational games de-
signed to assist instructors have to complement
the curriculum; include a variety of potential
situations at various levels of difficulty; provide
clear instructions, prompts, feedback, and help;
use appropriate media and technology to promote
learning, and include a way to evaluate the ability
of the user related to the objective
Games with the effective use of pedagogical
design principles can provide students a variety
of learning experience. However, many of the
commercial products can be very expensive;
some require specific computer architecture and
software, and may not be aligned with course
objectives. An effective classroom game must
complement specific courses objectives since
it is not designed to just engage, motivate, and
entertain students, but to assist the learner in meet-
ing a specific objective by completing an activity
designed to reach a goal. Gaming must motivate
the learner to want to complete specific activities
by using instructional methods that make learning
fun and entertaining while complementing other
classroom activities. With a little skill and train-
ing, classroom teachers can use software such as
Microsoft Office which is commonly available
in most educational environments, to develop
original instructional games. The purpose of this
chapter is to provide classroom teachers with the
basic tools necessary to create instructional games
targeted to specific courses and/or instructional
objectives. By discussing the trends and issues
of today's teaching and learning, the authors
review the benefit of using educational games in
classrooms and attempt to provide some strategies
and guidelines for creating games for instruction.
By outlining some fundamental issues and con-
siderations, the authors discuss some challenges
and impacts of computer games in classrooms.
Additional examples drawn from literature are also
included to illustrate the use of games in education
and the strategies of effective instruction.
ADVANTAGES AND LIMITATIONS
The inclusion of educational gaming has become
an important component of instructional meth-
odology, and a plethora of computer games are
available to complement a variety of instructional
areas. Educational games can be used in variety of
instructional modes, from whole class to individual
activities, and are an effective way to gain student
attention to learn a specific topic or skill (Gredler,
2004). Well-designed games are quite challenging
for the players while, at the same time, requiring
the application of particular knowledge or skills
(Smaldino, Lowther, & Russell, 2008).
There are many advantages of using edu-
cational games. According to Gredler (2004),
educational games may fulfill any of the follow-
ing purposes: 1) to practice and/or refine already
acquired knowledge and skills, 2) to identify gaps
or weaknesses in knowledge or skills, 3) to serve
as a summation or review, and 4) to develop new
relationships among concepts and principles.
Games with the effective use of pedagogical
design principles allow the teacher to address
various learning styles. Therefore, students are
quickly engaged in learning, and teachers address
the learning needs of various age groups, cultures,
learners, and learners with disabilities.
Games can be motivating, challenging and
fun to play. “Games are competitive exercises in
which the objective is to win, and players must
apply subject matter of other relevant knowledge
in an effort to advance in the exercise and win”
(Gredler, 2004, p. 571). Games create opportuni-
ties for situated learning by providing immersive
and motivating contexts for players to engage in
a wide variety of activities and to develop and
practice the skills necessary to be successful in
those activities (Owston, et al, 2009). Games may
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