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Title: First things first: Design principles for worthwhile educational videogames
Authors: Hickey, Daniel T.
Barab, Sasha A.
Ingram-Goble, Adam
Zuiker, Steven J.
Issue Date: Jun-2008
Citation: Paper presented at the 8th International Conference of the Learning Sciences (ICLS) 2008, Utrecht, The Netherlands, June 23-28, 2008
Abstract: Three design principles are advanced for multi-user educational videogames. First, they should support situative embodiment in academic knowledge, where personally meaningful activities and coherent narratives foster collective engagement. Second, they should offer multiple levels and forms of meaningful assessment and the opportunity to succeed, fail, and try again. Third, they should provide useful feedback that is used to enhance participation, learning, and curricula. These principles were developed in three annual design-based refinements of a 15- hour ecological sciences gaming curriculum in nine upper elementary classes. Across years, the situative embodiment afforded by the curriculum was refined with informal assessment, and innovative virtual formative feedback was incorporated around a key curricular activity. Results across years revealed incremental improvements in participation, understanding of key concepts, and achievement of targeted standards. The ultimate gains in understanding and achievement were larger than those in comparison classrooms that used a conventional text-based curriculum covering the same concepts and standards.
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