Extra Credits

I just power watched through three videos because they’re interesting, and also because I’m putting off my poster design. Anyway, here they are together:

Responsive Learning

In classrooms, teachers have to deal with 30+ students, and it is impossible for them to deal with each student on an individual scale and see where the students are struggling. Education is standardised and run on a tight schedule, so if a student gets left behind it’s incredibly difficult to catch up again.

However, if someone continuously fails at the same place in a game the system will notice it, and can take a note of that easily. If this were a learning game, the teacher could be notified and the student could get extra help with that particular part of study, or the game can just adjust its difficulty on the fly in order to help the student understand and gradually work their way up to the place they’re supposed to be at.

“Games can automatically tailor assignments for us.” For the individual student.

Candy Crush.

Candy Crush is a wildly popular submission game that is assumed to make more money than even the biggest selling console games of the year – I thin it rakes in something like 1 million a day, so mega bucks. I skipped over the part about monetization and how they make money because, while interesting, it’s not what I need to help me. The base design of CC is a copy of Bejeweled, which has been around for a long time and spawned huge numbers of spin-offs. So why is CC in particular so successful? Well, that lies in its dedication to interest level in its players. Lets have a look:

– New style/goal every level

– They change the playspace (i.e. not just a plain rectangle, like is usually used in these games) and reshape it to develop and hold interest while not adding complexity and confusing the players with new concepts/mechanics. This means players get to develop a relationship with the new mechanics as they come and learn how to master them before gaining new tools to play with.

– Randomized boards: because the play is different every time, there is no feeling of “I’m just not smart enough to understand this level.” Candy Crush is not a puzzle game, no matter what people may say, it’s a pattern making game. And if it is different every time, the player may think “Now this is the time I’m going to be successful!”

– The score is actually secondary. The main goals (in order to get to the next level) are either getting specific items to the bottom of the screen, or matching using specific squares on the grid. This is because it’s a lot easier to see just how close you were to winning than if you have an arbitrary score value.

Why students hate homework

Fear of failure. I think I ranted a bit about this when I was contradicting Jane McGonigal, but games suspend this while real life doesn’t. Homework generally involves very little chance for revision or second chance, and you’re basically just given a grade for it.

Games train you to overcome problems rather than fear them – they let you get back up again and start trying immediately with little consequence, and generally no personal judgement. While you are playing – if properly immersed – you are not thinking about how you compare to other people.

Games ask, ‘can you find a way to solve this problem?’ rather than ‘Do you know the solution to this problem?’

“Today we need to prepare students to find innovative solutions.” Learning by route was great for the 1800’s, where factory jobs required this sort of knowledge, but the world has changed. A lot of jobs now require innovative minds.

Games allow iterating through mistakes and learning through failure (without potential embarrassment).



REF: Portnow, J., & Floyd, D. [Extra Credits]. (2014, May 7). Education: Responsive learning – how games help teachers. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzmdx7ZL8OM

REF: Portnow, J., & Floyd, D. [Extra Credits]. (2014, Apr 23). Candy Crush’s success – why people can’t get enough of candy crush. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sz4WXVNq7v8

REF: Portnow, J., & Floyd, D. [Extra Credits]. (2014, Apr 30). Education: An end to fear – why students hate homework. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWyPLNi8rD8


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