Can you make an entire school curriculum into a learning game and still make it fun? Will players be able to apply what they learn to new problems long after the game has ended? Can the same game benefit players of different abilities and levels of knowledge?
Teachers, principals, and school administrators are starting to ask these questions, and there is growing demand for effective games for learning. One of the key academic subjects that many believe could be made into a game is basic geometry for 6th graders, which includes skills like solving for the missing angle in a triangle and finding perimeter, area, and surface area of simple shapes. But is it possible to make this fun?
The Games for Learning Institute (G4LI), research partner Microsoft Research, and Motorola think it is and are challenging developers to create such learning games through the second annual Games for Learning Design Competition. Contestants will create and submit their own game for learning basic sixth grade geometry.
Entrants will choose five New York state standards that their game will address, and then create a learning game to teach those standards and demonstrate that the learning goal was achieved. The first-place winner will be awarded $5,000. Cash prizes will also be awarded to 2nd through 5th place winners.
The organizers have extended the deadline for entry. Entrants must register and submit their game by January 12, 2011 (11:59 p.m. EST). The contest is open to the general public. For more information about how to register, game design requirements, and judging details, please visit www.g4li.org or call 212.998.3342.
Select entrants will have the opportunity to demo their games to professional game researchers and designers at the Games for Learning Design Competition Expo to be held on January 30, 2011, 2-4 p.m. at NYU’s Kimmel Center for University Life (60 Washington Square South at LaGuardia Place).
The G4LI is a joint research endeavor of Microsoft Research and a consortium of universities. The partners include Columbia University, the City University of New York (CUNY), Dartmouth College, Parsons, Polytechnic Institute of NYU, the Rochester Institute of Technology, Chile’s Pontifical Catholic University, and Teachers College as well as NYU. The Institute’s aim is to identify which qualities of computer games engage students and develop relevant, personalized teaching strategies that can be applied to the learning process. For more, go to http://g4li.org.