he educational game LetterSchool reached a milestone this week: just a few months after its release, more than 100,000 copies of the app have been sold. That’s a striking result for an app that teaches something generations of children have wrestled with: how to write letters and numbers. LetterSchool’s greatest achievement is that it creates a very stimulating learning environment, offering kids a truly compelling gaming experience. Boreaal Publishers believes the app is an important part of the solution for better handwriting education.
via Interest in Learning to Write Surges Thanks to Educational Game LetterSchool: More Than 100,000 Sales | Virtual-Strategy Magazine.
I learned about Rhetorical Peaks at the Humanities Gaming Institute I attended last year. To my mind, it’s the most realized game so far made when it comes to trying to duplicate the kind of critical thinking instructors try to teach their students. Thing is, it can’t be played independently; it needs to be played in the context of a classroom, and under the guidance of a professor. It’s a game, still–can you solve the mystery?–but it’s not a game that uses a set of self-governing game mechanics to convey humanities knowledge, or ways of knowing.
Rhetorical Peaks is a study in making games for the humanities, both in terms of lessons to learn and pitfalls to avoid. My reading of it is that it trades immersion and autonomy for classroom-specific goals. My dream is that we learn to make games that don’t have those trade-offs: that they be immersive, autonomous games that teach the humanities’ ways of understanding the world.
Created by Francesco Crocco
This is a cooperative learning game that may be played verbally or in writing.
1) The point of this game is to cooperatively build an idea that involves memory recall, argumentation, and applied learning.
2) The game also teaches players how to write a successful paragraph by giving each player a different role to play that corresponds to the rhetorical elements of a paragraph.
1) Assign a question or topic, or let the students choose one.
2) Make teams of four.
3) Assign each player a different role:
➢ Start: One person starts the process by stating or writing a main idea related to the topic. If this is done in writing, pass the sheet of paper to the next person.
➢ Support: The next person adds a few sentences that offer supporting details. These may come from facts, statistics, examples, analogies, logic, explanation, quotations, or some other means of support.
➢ Summarize: The third person sums up the main idea and draws all conclusions, thereby finishing the paragraph.
➢ Counter-Argue: The last person opposes the completed argument by offering a critical position. This stage teaches the players that the creation of knowledge is both a constantly unfolding process and a process of dialogue.
4) Play it again with a different topic. Assign the players a different role each time so that they can learn each part of the process by practice and imitation.
If you like, add the element of speed by putting two teams in competition with each other. The first team to successfully complete the process wins an award (you decide what it is).