Games for Didactic Use

One of the things that is important to me is creating positive change in the world.  While I loved teaching, I felt that there had to be a better way to connect with people.  After watching the failures of schools to produce responsible students and that of the environmental movement increasing changes for the survival of the species it seemed clear that there is a better way.  So I researched and read and looked at what appeared to be successful.  What I’ve come to is that games area fun and engaging way to connect with and communicate a message.  While the message can be communicated through both the theme and the mechanics either should provide a better way for information to be retained as behavior change.

The use of games for education is a growing field, although it has been in practice for decades in experiential education.  Using games in education, in a didactic purpose, is linked with greater understanding and better assimilation of the information by players.  I may not be a scientist, but I can observe that there is movement on the games front as this understanding percolates through society and more play pops up.

You’ve probably noticed  consumer industries using gamification for marketing purposes.  Gamification’s use normally lies in facilitating customer education or encouraging specific behaviors.   When related to marketing, gamification is meant to bring in more customers and to teach them to interact with your website or brand in a particular way.  Click here.  Share there.  Look at our brand over and over and over.

On a higher note when used in education games can inspire courage, problem solving skills, or a deeper knowledge in a subject.

I could make a bigger and better influence by designing games that could have a  social impact for the greater good.  Now with Waste Not developed, Common Cents ready for workshop use, {Suburban} Renewville due for publishing in the late summer, and several ideas percolating in my brain it seems that the feeling I had is now getting the opportunity to prove itself.

I’m not alone in thinking that there is something more to games than violence and nudity.  Games for Change holds an annual conference on the topic.  You can find Jane McGonigal on TED not once, but twice talking about how playing games can make a difference.  SXSW had a trend, not just a talk, but a trend on Gaming for Good.  As SXSW identified this is a trend and one that I expect that we are going to see grow.  So why not use this knowledge and put it to good use?

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