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Designing video games helps kids learn?
Courtesy of Science Daily (pdf here) comes a study that suggests rapid video game development can boost student learning. From the article:
“Now, computer scientists in the US think that creating computer games, rather than just playing them could boost students’ critical and creative thinking skills as well as broaden their participation in computing.”
This is actually quite interesting. First of all, I agree with the premise, designing video games has tremendous educational potential. Especially modding a game. Why? Students can easily see the relationship between major dynamics. If the kids build a civil war simulator, they can see how transportation, economy, technology, public opinion, foreign relations, etc… are related. However, I have never been successful designing video games with my students because it takes a long time. Even a reasonably simple mod can take several months. When students do design a game, I find the quality is often quite poor. This is why I often think it is better to mod a commercial, off the shelf game than to create something from scratch.
This particular article discusses an idea about rapid game creation - I think holds promise. I would like to see the model or an example, to get an idea of what the final product is like, and how it was designed.