Kenyatta University The Educational Value in Teaching Game Design Discussion

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As a technology, a board game, video game or cards, is built from existing knowledge making the game a knowledge system which can be used to assist people with learning. Also, the reading included in this discussion suggests, that researchers studying persons engaged in playing games can gain important insights into human behavior, such as how ‘play’ affects personal decision-making.

  • Discuss: Writing in the context of your CSUDH major subject for your degree, do you, or do you not, believe there is, or is not, educational value in teaching game design in a manner similar to the teaching of statistics courses required for your program of study? Why or why not ?

Much research demonstrates the value of games for learning how people makes choices, decisions and even take risks. Such information can be helpful in educating young people. This course has suggested that the use of games can be particularly enlightening for improving student understanding and learning of abstract concepts of biophysical and social science. In particular, board games have been tested as effective learning tools thanks to some important characteristics:

  1. The playful and immersive nature of board games facilitates attention, concentration and motivation of players;
  2. In the course of the game the players experience a “suspension of disbelief” that prepares them to accept ideas even far from their everyday experience
  3. Board games allow a “learn by doing” approach providing an hands-on and heads-on skill and knowledge development;
  4. Thanks to competitiveness and will to win players are urged to deeply understand the rules behind the game;
  5. Downtimes, which are characteristic in board games (for example in the waiting of the opponent’s moves), together with the playful and competitive atmosphere promote reflections and discussions among players;
  6. These downtimes also promote the inclusion of clarifications and explanations in a natural and not disturbing way by teachers or scientific animators during the game course.

Gamification is a set of activities and processes to solve problems by using or applying the characteristics of game elements such as for enhancing organizational productivity. In you game design project you experienced gamification. For example, meaningful stories are game design elements that do not relate to the player’s performance. The narrative in which a gamified application can be embedded contextualizes activities and characters in the game and gives them meaning beyond the mere quest for points and achievement.

  • The Khan Academy is an example of the use of gamification techniques in online education. The educational location-based game Gbanga Zooh for Zurich Zoo asked participants to actively save endangered animals and physically bring them back to a zoo. Players maintained virtual habitats across the Canton of Zurich to attract and collect endangered species of animals.
  • There is some indication that gamification can be particularly motivational for students with dyslexia in educational situations.
  • There is also an increasing interest in the use of gamification in health sciences and general education, where interactive polling, adventure games and other modes can be employed to enhance engagement and interactivity with the course content.

Like many technological developments over the past 600 years, there is controversy, in part over games value to education. Naturally, the opposition to gaming and gamification, though still noticeable, seems to be waning as more higher education institutions provide game-related courses. Some of the oppositional decline might be attributed to a deeper understanding of human emotions as well as scientific knowledge about ‘play’ and ‘fun’ as these relate to human health.

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