Games, Gamification, and Games Based Learning Get Grokked

GAMES, GAMING, GONE?: We profiled this Mindshift piece by Mr. Frank Catalano on the difference between games and gamification in EdSurge Innovate Edition 080. If you’ve already nailed the ins and outs of games, simulations, and gamification, level up to this deeper article exploring the differences between educational games and games-based learning.

The author and co-creator of Massively Minecraft, Mr. Dean Groom, warns against handing down requirements to make educational games if they aren’t “in synch with game-culture and evolution.” As for games-based learning, he feels it can be accomplished with “imagination, paper, pens, dress-ups, the XBox, Minecraft, and so on.” The key is to focus on “how children experience it and what they do with it” -- what some teachers and academicians might call constructivism.

We get the sense that Mr. Catalano’s games are the same as Mr. Grooms educational games -- all one needs to do is remove the educational prefixes that we superficially attach, or as Mr. Groom states, act as “levers and special powers for teachers!” For a great example of game design that heeds Mr. Groom's advice, check out this blog post from the folks at Motion Math on the design of their latest game, Hungry Guppy.

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