My Experiences with Peasant Quest

Wow, what a trip back in time! I stopped by Peasant Quest to give it a try and further explore the world of narrative games. I do not have a lot of experience with these types of games, as I was uninterested in these as a student. However, I see more value now and actually enjoy them!

I strongly feel that narrative games offer a literacy, problem solving, and patience piece that some other games do not. I have no problem with my children spending much time with a game such as this as I know they are learning and growing while playing. I know I needed a lot of patience and problem-solving in the thirty minutes I spent online!

I actually had to re-read the directions a few times to become familiar with the commands. From here, I attempted the game a few times as I was squashed or killed pretty quickly. Finally, I was able to move through a few different areas, such as the hut, and make a little progress.

I would never doubt the learning involved with narrative gaming. Who could argue with a book that has its’ own problem solving aspect?

 

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Gaming and Confidence

I have always been fascinated by psychology and the reasons for our actions. This curiosity includes why we are drawn to gaming and the explosion that is the gaming world. There are many factors that I have considered thus far. Some of which came from Keith Stuart’s post.

I, as well as many, love puzzles. Succeeding in the attempt to solve a complex issue or game is thrilling. It is also enticing and difficult for me to ‘put down’. This makes gaming a fun and interesting way to learn.

Beyond puzzles and games, there is the entertainment value of gaming. Magic, triumph over evil, dream-worlds, or interesting characters entice the player. Interesting story lines that keep us wanting more also help.

Escaping our own world where we may feel inadequate and joining a world in which we are superior is an obvious draw. I consider friends and members of my own family who choose gaming over many real-world experiences because of the satisfaction and success they feel when playing. They do not feel the same success in their personal lives, causing them to go back into the gaming world.

There is also a social aspect to gaming that cannot be ignored. I know that I can feel more comfortable working with someone online versus in person on a problem as I feel less judged and more accepted in the gaming world. Our own feelings of inadequacy are often not evident when we are in a virtual world. We are who we choose to be, and that can include a higher level of esteem and confidence.

Understanding the reasons behind the explosive success of gaming, an educator is able to reflect and understand both their learner and how to meet their needs. Understanding the reasons a learner feels the need to escape in gaming can help the educator build upon the learner’s strengths as well as how to build upon their weaknesses. Empowering a learner and helping them realize their potential is a goal of educators. Why then, would we ignore a source of this empowerment? Gaming can be the means to reaching our learners and helping bridge the confidence they have in gaming to their lack of confidence in the ‘real-world’.

 

Resources:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2011/may/15/video-game-design-psychology

Narrative Gaming and Me

My experience with narrative gaming is very limited. I wasn’t very interested in the early games that existed when I was in elementary school. I didn’t see the excitement in the narrative experience and found it to be dull. I think the first time I noticed someone truly enjoying narrative gaming was when I saw the movie “Big” in elementary school.
Going back and playing as an adult, I can see how other would enjoy the experience. It is much like a puzzle that needs to be solved. I can see how this would draw the learner into the game. I also appreciate the literacy skills needed to play the game effectively.
I was amazed at how difficult it was for me to navigate the gaming activity in Zork I. I didn’t think I would have such a hard time. Honestly, in twenty minutes I was unable to get very far! Narrative gaming is not as easy as one would think!
It was interesting to take a step back in time and give narrative gaming another try. I can understand why others enjoy the experience, but I still was unable to find enjoyment and success. I suppose this relates to my learners and how different games meet the needs of different types of learners.

Gamifying Learning

The idea of ‘gamifying’ education excites, motivates, and enhances the educational experience for many learners. However, joining games with learning experiences can frighten or down-right infuriate others. Personally, I think any experience that helps the learner love learning and want to know more is worth our time and research. I think that joining games and education is a great opportunity for educators.

There are many different ways to join games and education and many educators already have joined the two in their classrooms. There are plenty of skill-based practice games and with the inclusion of applications and mobile learning there are even more opportunities, especially for young learners. However, as the learner matures, they may have little interest in the educational games that are marketed to schools. To keep these learners interested, we need access to games that allow the learner to grow via tangential learning. The learner needs to be interested in the game and want to participate by choice. This provides motivation and a stronger ability to understand what is shared in the gaming experience. Whether the educational information be shared via Wikipedia, game index, or just blurbs of information thought the game itself, the learner seeks to know more because they have the motivation to move forward and learner more.

I strongly feel that motivation is one of the biggest factors in the success of educational experiences for learners. We can drill and practice or force information upon the learner as much as we like, but that will not create an environment of retentive learning. It will also turn many learners away and create a distaste for life-long learning. When the learner begins to pair learning with distaste, the damage has been done. If the learner wants to learn because of the excitement they feel in an educational experience, the teacher has only to help the learner draw the connections between the game and the learning.

Gamification

Looking at the ‘gamification‘ graphic, I could not help but chuckle. I haven’t thought about a lot of the examples given in the history of gaming section in many years. Considering that I was in elementary and high school throughout much of the history, I had the chance to see the gaming world explode over the years.

I can only imagine where gaming will take us in upcoming years. My children will have a much different experience than I did and their interaction with gaming is much more in-depth. While I would spend maybe an hour a week in elementary school playing games via disc drive, my children are using their iPod and iPad to jump online or purchase an app. They have much more accessibility being it is anytime, anyplace gaming. I was tethered to a computer!

When considering how I will use gaming in the creation of my gaming project, I have a handful of ideas. I work with kindergarten learners, thus gaming in itself needs a little introduction. However, there are games that draw them in and help them in reaching their learning goals. Each learner has an iPad in our classroom, thus accessing the technology is not an issue.

Simulations can be an excellent resource in kindergarten. Visualizing abstract concepts can be difficult at this age, thus anything I can do to bridge this gap is beneficial to my young learners. I am also considering the idea of a point-of-view activity, as being able to consider the thoughts and experiences of others is a critical part of learning at this age.

Resources:
http://www.knewton.com/gamification-education/

Gaming Can Make the World a Better Place

Jane McGonigal’s TED Talk was a wonderful exploration of the positive and ambitious feelings we have in gaming and why we do not have those same feelings when tackling life. We spend so much time tackling the problems in the virtual world, yet we do not spend that time solving real-world issues. I honestly had no clue why this issue exists, thus I listened to McGonigal’s talk with much interest.

After I understood her position, I wondered how this relates to education. It is actually quite simple. The enthusiasm that comes with accomplishing goals within a game is beneficial to us in education. We all want learners to enthusiastic to complete a task and take control of their learning. I see this enthusiasm in my young learners. They want to accomplish goals, solve problems, and put together the pieces to a puzzle. When education builds upon these wants, we see success. I will continue to utilize gaming as appropriate, whether it be digital or concrete, to help my learner enjoy meeting their educational goals.

This was one of the most interesting talks I have viewed so far. It really put gaming into a whole new light for me and I look forward to exploring this idea further.

Resources:

Gaming: Ways to Reward the Brain

As I watched Tom Chatfield’s discussion about gaming on Ted Talks, I couldn’t help but think of my own children. My children are ages seven and ten, and they fell in love with gaming as soon as they were able to play. I found myself limiting their minutes because frankly, they would have a hard time putting their devices down long enough to socialize and live in the real world.

Why is this? Why do children and adults find so much gratification in the gaming world? Tom Chatfield’s talk was very interesting and I have learned a little about the drive for digital gaming and how it relates to my family.

I immediately think about the gratification my children receive in progressing though a stage or world. They have dismissed games very quickly if they were too frustrating or boring and stuck with games that progressed and remained interesting. They enjoy the games that have increased satisfaction and decreased frustration or annoyance.

It’s amazing to think of the science that goes into the gaming world. Not just the computer science skills, but the psychology and study of human behavior. The creators of digital games have definitely figured out the needs and wants of my children and have them coming back for more!

Resources:
http://www.ted.com/talks/tom_chatfield_7_ways_games_reward_the_brain.html