Thursday, September 23, 2004

Hidden Agenda Games

I love this Hidden Agenda contest to create a video game with "stealth" learning so that kids don't even know they're being taught anything. The ratio is key:
"First, game experts and academics will review your game to determine whether it fulfills the contest requirements (teaching and technical). If it does, your game will be judged based on the following weighted criteria – 70% entertainment, 30% education."
Most edutainment probably has the opposite ratio, which is why it tends to be terrible. Kids see right through any attempt to dress up worksheets in multimedia clothing. I also like the explanation they give for the concept:
"There’s a hot concept called 'stealth education' that says it’s possible for people to play a game because they enjoy it and 'accidentally' learn stuff along the way. Unfortunately, the concept has yet to prove its worth with the pre-teen and teen community. But what if educational games rivaled the quality and game-play of today’s top selling video games? There’s a good chance they could teach even difficult subjects to middle school children."
I'm in total agreement with this direction, but my fear is that as a game is seen as less educational and less "accurate" (think history applications), most educators will reject it to cover their butts. Never mind the ongoing issues with getting the required hardware better integrated into classrooms and giving teachers time to learn and implement new ways of's an uphill battle. Thanks to Joanne for the link.

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