Games – whether casual or immersive, single player or multi-player – demand the full focus of the participant on the game itself. Lose focus and there are consequences. In an educational Math game like Algeburst, the speed component of the participant’s score will suffer; in the mobile-device-based action game Temple Run, the player’s character will fall off of a wall or crash into a bridge. Gamification — or the application of game mechanics and game design techniques to non-game applications and contexts — utilizes badges, leaderboards, rewards, and other forms of recognition. The participant’s focus, in this case, is on the set of activities that are being encouraged by the game mechanics, not on the processes of tracking points and granting rewards.
“Tech stakeholders and analysts generally believe the use of game mechanics, feedback loops, and rewards will become more embedded in daily life by 2020, but they are split about how widely the trend will extend. Some say the move to implement more game elements in networked communications will be mostly positive, aiding education, health, business, and training. Some warn it can take the form of invisible, insidious behavioral manipulation.”
A recent trend in the business world has been to bring game world elements into the real world. This methodology is referred to as “gamification.” According to a Pew Research Center report, gamification is “interactive online design that plays on people’s competitive instincts and often incorporates the use of rewards to drive action — these include virtual rewards such as points, payments, badges, discounts and free gifts; and status indicators such as friend counts, re-tweets, leaderboards, achievement data, progress bars and the ability to level up.”
“Your brain’s important, but not all that important,” said Dr. James Paul Gee, a professor at Arizona State University and a leading authority on literacy and the potential of educational games, during a talk at the Learning and Brain conference last week. By that he means the following: What we’d assumed about the importance of brain functions – following rules and logic and calculating – are no longer relevant. There’s been a revolution in the learning sciences and the new theories say that human beings learn from experiences – that our brains can store every experience we’ve had, and that’s what informs our learning process.
High School: Hopscotch HD for iPad on the iTunes App Store This is a great iPad app which teaches programming skills to kids using blocks of commands in a similar way to MIT’s Scratch. Read reviews, get customer ratings, see screenshots, and learn more about Hopscotch HD on the App Store. Download Hopscotch HD and enjoy it on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.
Middle School: Video MonkeyVideo Monkey is a great way to simplify all your encoding needs.