Navigating educational games can be an arduous process at times. Sometimes games are too blunt in their teaching while most educational games are difficult to find for a variety of reasons. Despite these difficulties there are more games being made every year with the goal to educate people. And a study this year found that 55% of teachers surveyed use games weekly.
Forbes recently had an article on Zynga supporting educational games with Co.lab.
Whether selling games and apps directly to consumers or to institutions, there are unique challenges. Sosnik and White find that most developers have great ideas but they are missing one (if not more) pieces of the puzzle. Perhaps they don’t know how to include assessments mapped to standards. Perhaps they don’t understand how to bring an app to scale. Perhaps they struggle with marketing, or engagement, or user interface. Co.lab has designed a program “tailored to the specific needs of games-based learning startups” that brings together “NewSchools Venture Fund’s educational and edtech expertise and Zynga.org’s access to best-in-class talent and resources from the world of commercial games.
Rand Corporation released a report on their take on educational games (Thanks to @Aidaneus!). The report looked at engagement metrics and reaches the obvious conclusion that it’s not a good idea to use screen time. They looked at more than that and reached some interesting conclusions on early childhood education games. Their recommendation are rather good (even if they are ambitious):
- Changing policy mandates and funding at the local, state, and national levels, though typically a slow process, will be critical to redefining developmentally appropriate technology use in classrooms.
- Simple, clear guidance (e.g., a short fact sheet that defines developmentally appropriate use, public awareness campaigns) could immediately begin to influence ECE providers’ and families’ understanding of appropriate technology use.
- To address concerns among early childhood educators about the lack of models or exemplars of effective, appropriate integration of technology into ECE, demonstrations of appropriate use should be developed and distributed to provide support to these educators.
- Existing software and application rating systems are useful in providing simple, accessible assessments of media content can help busy or uncertain providers and families, and these types of systems should continue to be supported and updated to provide support.