Reflection on Week 1: What Serious Games Exist for People Ages 13+?

During this week I have learned  a great deal about serious games.  After I read Brandi’s blog I really started thinking about educational games and serious games.  Are they the same or different?  Brandi mentioned that educational games and serious games are one-in-the-same, while this may be true in some cases I guess I don’t feel it is always true.  I did comment on Brandi’s page and offered some ideas as to when educational games are or are not considered serious.  Additionally Nicole commented on my initial post about how games, when used effectively, can support students in our classroom.  Many online activities and games are just that, merely games.  In other words, not all educational games are serious in nature.  Not all games require students to think criticially, nor do all games require the player to make decisions that might affect others or be applicable to real life.  I think as I move ahead with this idea of serious gaming I want to make sure that I am really looking for serious games.  I find myself questioning one of the games I put in the Wiki.  I am not certain RoboLab Online can be made into a serious game?  Maybe it can and I just do not see the connection.  I left it on the Wiki page because I noticed we are supposed to be looking at each others and discussing whether or not each entry is in fact a serious game.  So I thought what better way to answer my questions than to just put it out there.

Also during the course of the past few days, I came across the Game for Change Website as I viewed other peoples blogs (Leslie and Megan, I believe).  I contributed to Leslie’s blog and thanked her for the sources she included in her blog.  After reading some of their information I researched the Games for Change 2013 Winners.  As I was doing this I came across the Games for Change 2013 Game of the Year called Quandary.  While this game is intended for a slightly younger audience than what we are targeting in class, 8-14 years, I really felt like this was an excellent example of a serious game.  My daughter and I spent quite a bit of time playing the demo.

Quandry was chosen as the Games for Change 2013 Game of the Year award. Quandry is a free game for children ages 8-14. In the game players are put in charge of a colony. The players job is to help solve problems within the community based on facts, opinions, and solutions. Though this is a futuristic game, many of the problems students are faced with are translatable to everyday situations students may encounter. Quandry guides players as they learn how to approach ethical decision-making.

Overall, I have learned that serious games involve improving  yourself or your community around you in some way, or so it seems.  I like the idea behind serious games and feel like as I learn more about it I will be even more compelled to use them in my classroom.

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