What's the state of the art in educational games?
January 6, 2010 10:54 AM   Subscribe

What's the state of the art in educational games?

I'm looking for examples of educational software -- online, mobile, desktop, whatever -- that have really wowed you in their efficacy. Especially for the typically boring tasks of rote memorization. What's out there beyond things like Mavis Beacon and Rosetta Stone? Aside from actual games, I want to know where to find the best academic work and research papers on the topic.

For some context, I'm a flash developer and for a long time I've built flashcards, quizzes, and the like, and I've done flashcard sets that use things like spaced repetition, similar to SuperMemo, albeit with a much less sophisticated algorithm. I'd like to make the experience more entertaining and specifically more "flowy", in the Csíkszentmihályi sense, but I feel like a lot of what I've seen has been basically some "skinning" of a timed trial, and I'm wondering what can be done beyond that.

At this point I don't have a specific kind of knowledge that I'd like to target. I'm generally interested in things that require rote memorization, but not just one-to-one, term/definition relationships -- if you have some great program or system for memorizing one's lines, or the presidents in order, or the names of the nine muses, I'd be interested in that too.

And finally, if you have some great studying habit that works for you, but you've never seen it duplicated in software, I'd love to hear about it.
posted by condour75 to Education (5 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
Oh man, I hope someone chimes in with a program that's SuperMemo with some flow mixed in. (For what it's worth, I found Anki to be a less-clunky version of SuperMemo).

Anyway, the studying habit that works for me that I've never quite been able to duplicate with software is this: every nonfiction book I read, I take notes on the most important ideas, facts, etc, and I review the entire book on a spaced repetition schedule. It's not flash-card style memorization review -- I'm not in school and I just read books for pleasure -- but simply a refresher so that I keep more in memory than merely what the back of the book could tell me.

Right now I just keep files of the notes and manually calculate and enter the next review date in Google, along with a note saying what repetition I'm on. I really wish I had a program to handle it instead, but everything I've found is flash-card based.
posted by Nattie at 11:44 AM on January 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


May not be right on target, but I hear nothing but great things about Brain Age.
posted by Citrus at 1:06 PM on January 6, 2010


What age group are you looking at? If you're interested in toddlers, contact me via PM...I have LOADS of info for you.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:48 PM on January 6, 2010


Check out Games + Learning + Society at the University of Wisconsin. I went to their conference a few years ago and it was quite interesting.
posted by look busy at 2:22 PM on January 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm looking for examples of educational software -- online, mobile, desktop, whatever -- that have really wowed you in their efficacy. Especially for the typically boring tasks of rote memorization.

Ever since Sporcle opened up quiz creation to users, you can find trivia games on every conceivable memory recall topic -- American presidents, the periodic table, Spanish vocabulary, moons of the solar system, common Latin phrases, popular music, etc. I've seen several quizzes that were pretty clearly designed by teachers as study aids for their students, such as this Earth Science midterm review. The interface is pretty basic, but flexible enough to support pictures, sound, and "choose your own adventure"-style forking paths (to a limited extent).
posted by Rhaomi at 8:07 PM on January 6, 2010


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