From press release of Learning Games Network (LGN) : NewSchools Venture Fund today announced a $200,000 investment in Learning Games Network (LGN), the leading game-based learning research and development studio. The investment will support LGN in building the market for high-quality learning games through the design and development of games and related tools; and help LGN to launch production of the Playful Learning, a knowledge network and community of practice where teachers will be able to share resources and best practices for using games in instruction.
What’s most meaningful is:
Practical support for teachers interested in using learning games in their classroom curriculum is inconsistent or completely lacking, making it difficult for educators to use games effectively in their classrooms. In order to address this information gap, LGN will launch the Playful Learning initiative, an online resource that will provide teachers with access to information from both learning game experts and teacher-users about specific learning games. In addition, teachers will be able to easily document and share their lesson plans and assessment strategies for learning games.
In its efforts to spark the development of tools that educators can use to personalize learning for students and expand the number of adaptive solutions that tailor instruction, content, and assessments to students’ readiness and interests, NewSchools has taken a deep interest in learning games. Long-form immersive learning games have the ability to help students make learning gains in both content acquisition and skills acquisition, but without focused attention on some of the barriers in the market, these games will not reach underserved students.
This is exactly what educators interested in game-based learning need! I am excited that Learning Games Network can step in to bridge the gap. Spinned off from MIT Education Arcade, LGN is committed to the development and distribution of games informed by research in the learning sciences, creative design, and technical development.
Maybe you have played learning games from Education Arcade, take Lure of the Labyrinth as an example, it’s a game for pre-algebra students. Brilliantly designed math puzzles are wrapped in an exciting narrative where students work through the challenges for saving their pets and world. I was amazed how hard my kid had tried to play the game since it’s quite challenging for an elementary school kid. The power of game-based learning lies in the context that lures learners’ desire to solve the problems.
Great Games have the following 6 elements and I list what make the elements in Lure of the Labyrinth as below:
- Mystery – It was a dark and stormy night… and it’s a monster world, monsters having resemblance or twist of mythology characters fill the mysterious underground you fall into, you don’t know what will you run into next.
- Mastery – From the experience of trial and error as many times as you like, then you figure out how to solve them because you catch the math pattern in the doing.
- Mental challenge – Not only solving math. puzzles is challenging, to find where you should go through the clue you are given is interestingly challenged too. The creatively designed puzzles can even be enjoyable brain teasers for teens and adults.
- Narrative – You stumble into the monster world on the way to save your pet, then the scenarios lead to why you need to do those tasks (puzzles), the story world is kind of disgusting but fun! (like world of warcraft)
- Novelty – You have a cause in the virtual world which pulls players away from the boredom of the real world.
- Flow – There are 3 levels for each puzzles, whether you level up or stay depends on your personal pace.
We live in a culture where digital games loom larger and larger everyday. And today’s kids are being shaped by this culture. They have expectations based on their experience with digital games and media. Quality games like Lure of the Labyrinth give learners the motivation and fun of learning, also give teachers and parents resources for using them properly. We are so looking forward to more learning games from the creative minds behind game makers like LGN. I also think that learning things in a creative way will also nurture kids’ creativity.
- Join The Journey of 12 Educator Bloggers Gamifying Learning (classroom-aid.com)
- 3 Answers to The Problems of Game-Based Learning (classroom-aid.com)
- Case Study of Lure of the Labyrinth (from Lynette Barr )