Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Educational games

Back in 1998 I discovered edugames / edutainment. It was a whole new world of digital games offering lots of potential for game developers (at least in theory). The discussion dwelled around "is it a game containing didactic message or is it a learning tool utilizing gameplay in some way". "Is it 80/20% or 50/50%" etc. What ever the case: fearless edugame developers soon learned that there were no existing market channels (at least not effective enough) and the CD-ROM market was already fading...

I listened two inspiring presentations about edugames at the WiG06. Also I have pondered the case (the big picture about education / learning + games) again after I got invited to give a Podcasting chat (with Annakaisa Kultima) at Leipesi (Play, Games & Simulations) course at the University of Lapland. Even though I am not talking about edugames at the upcoming podcast, edugames give interesting viewpoints to the whole topic of 'the future of digi-games'. Today the approach is more open minded and innovative (in the way of utilising technological tools and devices as well as due to social multiplicity of the Internet.

It's nice to notice that today 'edugames' (serious games, beneficial games, utility games) focus on learning in a wider sense. While at the end of 1990s the main focus was in schooling, basic training and subjects at school -- today the focus is more on tutoring, educating and instructing. The topics do not limit to school subjects, instead some of the nicest 'edugames' talk about wellbeing or healthy diet and change in climate.

Some examples and related web sites:
Learning Planet
The Learning Game
Eco Kids
And one my ultimate favourites: NHK's Antarctica. I am so obsessed with those penguins :D

No comments: