Game-A-Palooza

There is a long-standing desire to marry games and education. The naturally occurring interest and investment found in games provides much promise to embed games with desired content knowledge and impart it to players. However, the best ways to do so remain non-trivial. Often games are treated as a black box and forced into classrooms. Other times, games are created for the classroom, but do not carry the engaging properties thought to be inherent in them. We at Games+Learning+Society (GLS) believe both the games and curricula around them need to be carefully crafted to complement each other. To this end, we created an informal learning event called Game-A-Palooza in which students participated in 3 curricula designed around 5 educational games. Although each game can be played on its own, we designed the curricula to supplement the materials embedded in them. From these games and curricula, we obtained multiple and diverse data streams – from quantitative click-stream data of each player’s in-game actions to audio data of student interaction during each session to physical artifacts created by teams. The result was an event that provided free all-day spring-break activities for local kids while providing our center a large and diverse data set. In this symposium, we detail the design of each game and its attending curriculum, our data collection efforts and plans for analysis, and the challenges we encountered in creating and implementing such an event.

 

Games, Fun, Learning
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