Talk:Games as learning motivation


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Automatic switching

XBlast character

There may be several problems with arcade/action games as learning motivation:

Badly integrated exercises 
An exercise may appear much less interesting than the game phase in between, so the child could see the education as a very undesirable interrupt. A trick to counter that effect could be the use of game effects during the exercise. A child playing XBlast as the game phase may receive an XBlast character as a tutor during the exercise. This could change dynamically with the selected game(s). Lifelike tutors [t.boy] seem more sensible than video game figures but for the purpose of integrating exercises into the game atmosphere an exception may be in order.
Out of exercises 
A child may still enjoy playing the game but may be out of unsolved exercises (exercises previously determined by teachers, tutors or mentors). A selection of Wikipedia articles appropriate for children [sos] could be a nearly unlimited resource of easy exercises that would require the child to answer questions about the article in a multiple-choice cloze (some gaps could require typing an answer instead of selecting one from the list, "none of the above"). It seems easy to collect a large amount of questions for each article, from which a selection algorithm could chose 5 to 10 questions which had not yet been asked or asked seldomly and 1 or 2 questions that had been answered correctly and 1 or 2 questions that had been answered incorrectly in the past.
Fixation on the game 
For games with levels that require solving the puzzles in a level (e.g. Tower Toppler or Pingus), possibly leading to a large number of retries of the same level, a game scheduler could limit the number of levels per day before the game became inaccessible, to avoid fixation on a single game.
Inadequate duration of exercise or game phase 
A child could influence the length of the exercises or game phases with six different levels of difficulty: (no games, short games, intermediate, short exercises, few exercises, short and few exercises). The recorded settings over time could also provide some feedback to mentors and teachers. A child keeping the setting at "short and few exercises" could have a tendency to become a game addict. Another setting could be the degree of independence of work. Klett courses distinguish building blocks (least independence), exercises and projects (most independence). Pupils could start out with least independence and could choose to switch to more independent work at their own leisure. At the least independence pupils would just do what the computer told them to do. At the highest level of independence a generated web page could list the most recommended projects in different subjects for a given age and offer some literature references for further reading but hide the non-educational action games (e.g. XBlast). An independent pupil would probably occasionally switch back to "least independence" and "short and few exercises" to play some games. Solving the occasional exercise between games probably wouldn't hurt the independent pupil. Recorded settings would also provide convenient feedback for a mentor.
Pupils not requiring the motivation 
Pupils not requiring the motivation of games could be motivated to play games merely because others in their peer group were "bad" examples. (Playing a game is, of course, not in general a bad example).
Pupils able to recompile an open source game to run outside the education context should probably be considered outside the scope of such a framework. A mentor or teacher could still notice the lack of any feedback to exercises (e.g.) in the the journal. A conceivable problem could be teenagers willing to share re-compiled games with younger pupils. If all older pupils were mentors this seems highly unlikely: You probably don't go and undermine the work of another mentor when you have spent a significant amount of work and dedication in your own mentoring duties. (another point for formal mentoring: informal mentors do not share an affiliation to a group as easily and may not share a resulting code of conduct)

Game control

A game could receive input from a "game scheduler" while running and gradually become less interesting when certain configurable (e.g. age dependent) limits were exceeded. This way games could be programmed to make a child lose interest, at least for the time being. Other games started as a substitute could start in a more interesting state but then more quickly change to a less interesting state. A child may be more easily prepared to accept the hints given by the game itself than requests from others.

The game scheduler could control games through D-BUS messages, this way all games could be compiled to wait for D-BUS control messages before opening a window; the games would be useless unless launched in the intended context.

Multiplayer games

For a multiplayer game a laptop in a "progressed state of game-tiredness" could announce that to the other players visible, so they could tell the owner not to join another game (because it could, to a certain degree, have a negative influence on their own game). This would motivate children to tell each other not to play too many games, which seems a useful behavior children cannot be expected to show reliably on their own.

See also

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