Educational Gaming: Interactive Edutainment by Sharon DeVary

Sharon DeVary begins her article by agreeing with the previous research that, for children, although the concept of learning may be very difficult, especially in a traditional academic sense. However, DeVary makes the point that learning through play is a concept younglings use to form the foundation of real knowledge, and in turns setting the foundation for further, more advanced learning. This research has been around for a long time, but a reason that it must be re-assessed is the advent of computer games. “Edutainment” is a concept almost as old as this research, the melding of an entertaining video and learning, sometimes proving effective, often times not. Were this to be done through a computer game, success could be achieved more often and more substantially, especially due to the aspect of interactivity. A large problem in producing quality learning games is that development is extremely expensive, and education companies do not have the same budget as Call of Duty, thus, quality can be lacking. Another argument worth considering is that the technology would only be used for the sake of using technology. That is to say, just because we can teach our kids to do math using a first person shooter doesn’t mean it will be any more effective than sitting down with them and going through multiplication tables.

            When I was young, I remember basic educational games on the Apple computers at my school. I can honestly say I played them only for entertainment purposes, and they were very fun. The problem was, I would only play the levels in games where I already was aware of the concepts. For example, I might play the addition and subtraction games in “Millie’s Math House” but avoid the multiplication levels completely. Nowadays, as a film editor, it would be useful to have software that teaches me concepts regarding that, rather than simply using videos.

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