Book and game
The book and game idea is simply to require that the player must have read a book because otherwise the related game remains unplayable.
A book could be a novel with educational content. The educational content would be equally required to play the game so the player would be motivated to train reading skills by reading the novel and to learn the educational content.
Unlike similar educational games, such as, for instance, Mathica, parts of a novel would be required as a precondition to be able to play the game. The OLPC would, of course, have the advantage of being the book at the same time, so the player could switch conveniently from playing the game to reading the novel and the novel would then contain educational content and riddles that required understanding for earlier information. The game could then rely on both.
One could give the novel and the game a timeline and the player would be in the future (lacking relevant information) if he had not read the novel. This way the motivation to want to know what is in the novel becomes the pupil's own motivation, not a homework assignment, and the educational riddles become a part of reading the novel.
A book could also introduce its own secret language, [secret languages] which would become more and more intelligible throughout the book. The game would then assume the language to be known. Secret languages can fascinate children and young teenagers and can promote involvement. A secret language can also promote abstract thought. Other concepts that promote abstract thought can also be introduced into the story of a book.
Book, game and exercise
Hard science fiction stories can invite the reader to consider the scientific background of the story. To take the idea further a reader could be required to think about the scientific background presented. An e-book on the OLPC could have the unique feature to require the reader to solve an exercise with a strong relation to the story. Such a feature could also be combined with a game/simulation stage during which the reader could have to solve problems or discover information required to continue reading the story. Chapters, game stages and exercises could require the reader to progress sequentially. Exercises could require unique solutions by altering parameters or questions according to the academic level of the user and at random.
A game embedded into a story (as in some of the later Infocom adventures) would also have the advantage of being limited in scope. The player would not be invited to play the game continually until it got boring but only to solve a puzzle within the story.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (computer game) could be seen as an anti-pattern here, because book and game are redundant or contradict each other (instead of complementing each other) and the characters could be seen as having psychological conditions (even consult psychologists during the story) but do not show any realistic psychology. (See also: In-game psychology) The game also contains a motivation to re-play almost the entire game even after it should have become boring (Simple mistakes made during the beginning can make completion impossible).
Hard educational science fiction
This section proposes a set of criteria for hard educational science fiction.
|Age group specification and specification of required knowledge|
|Glossary of technical terms|
|Interactive experiments and simulations||(only possible in electronic publications or as add-ons on the web page or CD of the book)|
|Scientific errors in the story are explained|
|Recommended exercises are present in the text and are interesting for the reader|
|Motivation to think further||e.g. a cliffhanger requires the solution of an exercise (only possible in electronic publications or as add-ons on the web page or CD of the book)|
|Soft sciences are not ignored (social sciences, philosophy, ethics)|
|Mentoring and scientific discussions between characters are present in the story|
|Intercultural competence criteria apply|
|Realistic psychology is presented in the story with occasional discussion of psychological issues.|
It is recommend that evaluation based on this criteria catalogue should use a range of 0 to 3 points per criterion, resulting in a range from 0 to 30 points. 0 points would mean "not present at all"; 3 points would mean "very well done". A value of -1 can be assigned to state that the criterion is not met but that the opposite (if that is possible) appears to apply.
- Database of personal vocabulary#Wikifier - A Wikifier could allow children to read a book in a foreign language more conveniently and to learn the vocabulary more reliably (instead of guessing some words).