Cases • A fun way to learn: the Educational Games
Tafel Monsters (Table Monsters) is an easy and fun way for kids to learn to multiply. The free iPad game allows students to practice their skills in a playful manner. With great results!
abcdeSIM is based on the ABCDE method. Simply put it’s: treat first what kills first. The letters indicate the right order of treatment: Airway, Breathing, Circulation, Disability and Exposure.
Why these games?
Games can be a powerful learning method. Broadcasting companies (NPS), museums, brands, non-governmental companies and educational publishing companies (Malmberg) have all come to IJsfontein to develop games they can use to get their information across.
In schools and other educational settings, games are increasingly deployed to broaden the students’ knowledge. The focus is no longer on just arriving at the solution of a problem, but much more on the process of problem solving. And problem solving is key to learning.
In the traditional way of teaching schools focus on relating facts and testing how well students can retain the provided information. You learn something in theory, you practice by doing tedious exercises and when you’re finished, you’re generally allowed to go and do something else.
By presenting the information in the form of a video game with an engaging narrative, students are allowed to use different strategies to arrive at the desired learning goals and they will play the game again and again, which will deepen their understanding of the subject matter.
What makes these games work?
IJsfontein has several game designers and strategists on staff with extensive teaching experience, which enables us to understand the challenges of reaching learning goals.
From very simple games like Tafel Monsters (Table Monsters) a game that helps young students to multiply, to complex games like abcdeSIM, a hospital emergency-room simulator for both students and professionals – we try and come up with appealing story-lines for our games to motivate people to play them over and over again, so that they truly understand the underlying mechanics. It’s not just about the right answer; it’s much more about how you arrive at the right answer.
How do these games come about?
By working very closely together with the client on identifying the learning goals we’re able create games that trigger students into thinking for themselves.
In a game called Lekker Goedkoop (Nice and Cheap) students are confronted with the dilemmas you are faced with when you want to design nice and affordable clothing. While playing the game children will notice that their choices have an effect on the price of the final piece of clothing but also on the conditions under which they are produced.
The game was originally designed to accompany a tv-series about slavery and is now also being used as classroom teaching material.
So what’s next?
A 2012 report by the New Media Consortium identified ‘game-based learning’ as one of the major trends affecting education in the next five years.
We expect that more and more of our games will be officially accredited and that they will be played in schools and at other learning facilities.
This article is brought to you by IJsfontein • www.ijsfontein.nl