There was a whole lotta learnin’ going on this week. I was pretty confident in my list of criteria for a good, educational serious game. And for the most part, our team agreed upon a unified list. There were a couple of really good discussions that I had with my fellow educators. These discussions were really good learning experiences that made me deeply contemplate serious gaming.
One fellow educator posted a really good blog about the benefits of serious gaming in the classroom, but forgot to list her idea of what a serious game looks like. She was grateful of the reminder and ended up producing a really good list 🙂 It reminds me of all of the many times I read over my posts and edit before I post. This is why I usually type and save my blog in a word document, then copy and paste to my blog website. I also have to read the assignment two or three times to make sure I have properly answered the essential question. It is so easy to get off task when you are writing about something that is important to you.
I really had to defend one of my criteria. I believe that it is pertinent for a good, educational serious game to have a collaborative/team building component. I was asked why this was so important. Although I agree there are some really good, single-player serious games that people can benefit from, I find that for it to be beneficial EDUCATIONALLY, it needs to be multi-player. Almost all jobs require some collaboration between employees and a lot of our students are lacking that very skill. I also read over the Tweets on this subject. I believe this is a good conversation that can continue for another week.
Gary is a fellow secondary math teacher. We both understand the importance of developing higher order thinking skills in our students. We have both searched enthusiastically for a good serious math game with no success. They just aren’t there. All of the games that we have come across simply drill basic math skills. Sure, the games are educational, but not serious in nature. I did point out one really good app that drills algebra and pre-calculus math skills (which is also hard to find), but again is not serious. This game will no doubt create better math students, but not better community members.
Is it possible to create an educational serious math game? It would have to consist of good problem-solving tasks. Another thought: would any problem-solving serious game be good for a math student, even if it does not cover math concepts? Isn’t problem-solving a very important math skill? More good thoughts to ponder.