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The fourth type of game - kagfs
When I talk about educational games, I usually talk about three types of games (see original blog post here).
Without belaboring it:
COTS -commercial, off the shelf
There has been an emergence of a fourth category of game, I’m calling it kick-ass-game-for-schools (kagfs). The qualities of a kagfs include:
1. Very high production value
2. Content-accurate information (like, accurate representation of history, medical information, government structure, etc…)
3. Really good tools for reporting individual student progress to teachers
4. All the stuff that make COTS games good like:
4.1 ...dynamic, adjustable difficulty
4.2 ...easy early goals
4.3 ...play experience invites entrance into Csikszentmihalyi’s idea of “flow”
4.4 ...allows different player types to enjoy the game
4.5 ...is a game a kid would want to play at home (this is kind of my ultimate litmus test for games in education)
I have only seen one instance of a kagfs, at muzzy lane but a recent feed popped up on my rss reader: t.h.e. journal had a piece titled: Researchers Study Effects of Educational Games on Math Achievement by Scott Aronowitz. I think this might be another example of a kagfs link here for dimensionM. But I need to play this game to see.
It looks like there is some snazzy instruction stuff on the front end, and then the kids explore a pretty cool-looking interactive world, applying the math skills they are studying.
The only thing I don’t enjoy: stopping the game while the kid solves a math problem. Update: after playing their demo, I kind of nudge this particular game into the edutainment arena. Gorgeous production values, great tutorial, but zapping all the transmitters that have an even number? That doesn’t quite fit into my kagfs category.
Anyone else see any kagfs?