Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
The widespread use of social networks points at
their need for company and associates; they like to
belong to groups and to work in teams. This feature
of young people existed in previous generations
too, but the difference is that today's contacts are
not necessarily personal, and that the physical and
the virtual partly overlap. These circumstances
have led to a different way of learning and different
expectations regarding education. For example,
games enhance the ability to connect the virtual
and the physical, thus helping the development
of different skills. Young people today prefer to
learn by exploring, discovering and doing rather
than by being told facts and given instructions.
They seek interactivity in every segment of learn-
ing. These new aspects of the learning process
can be exploited by taking the advantages that
games offer as opposed to traditional learning
and teaching methodologies: they attract learners,
they activate learners' imagination, curiosity and
the desire for challenge and they also offer a wide
range of possibilities to work in teams.
Educational games compose a special group of
video games, with particular requests on technol-
ogy, design, and cost. At The National Summit on
Educational Games held on October 25, 2005 in
Washington, DC, sponsored by The Federation of
American Scientists, the Entertainment Software
Association (ESA) and the National Science Foun-
dation, nearly 100 experts discussed the ways of
accelerating the development, commercialization,
and deployment of new generation games for
learning in order to find answers to the questions:
(1) why the United States should focus on digital
games for learning, (2) what research is needed
to improve games for learning, (3) what stands in
the way of introducing games and simulations to
education and (4) what should the government,
industry, and education community do to get
educational games to teachers and learners.
After a brief discussion of present trends in
educational games development, some statisti-
cal facts will be given from the economic point
of view. The second section gives more detail on
technologies and features through representative
examples of games used for education worldwide
with respect to pedagogical, business, and social
aspects. The main benefits and limitations of
introducing games in education will be pointed
out in a subsection. The third section is dedicated
to some innovative computer games for persons
with disabilities. An analysis of pedagogical
and social effects of educational games is given
in a subsection. Recent research results on the
implementation of video games in schools, and an
educational game evaluation will be presented as
well. The final section contains some concluding
remarks and future lines of research.
Trends in Educational
Games Development
In recent years educational computer games have
received increased attention from researchers,
educators, and learners. Being a multidisciplinary
issue, educational games are in the field of re-
search of various disciplines such as psychology,
literature, media studies, sociology, educational
theory, and computer games studies (Gros, 2007).
While in the nineties e-learning was going
through a crisis because the huge amount of in-
formation it could offer was static, today's trend
is towards creating learning systems adaptive to
learners. The new methodology requires monitor-
ing the learning process, collecting data from the
users and introducing dynamic changes of learn-
ing methods, depending on the learners' needs
(Moreno-Ger, et al. 2008b). Learning models are
neither linear nor static, hence, computer games
can meet these new requirements without losing
any of their amusing aspects.
In the past the main issues about introducing
games in education were whether to use games
in education or not, whether the games are useful
or not, and how much benefit they bring to the
learning process. At present the main questions
are rather different. One of the research topics is
to what extent the games are cost-effective. This
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