REVISITED: What's in a Learning Game? RE@L Learning for Life!

RE@L Logo 60pxEDITORS NOTES: Every now and then we revisit a previous blog because it is worth taking a second look. Especially if more, new thing are happening. Such is the case with Dr. Jane McGonical, Gaming Expert Extraordinaire. We’ve added an additional link on new topics about gaming that she is discovering. Take a look! It’s still what’s happening in gamification and more is coming. Learning Games are powerful and fun at the same time. Read on!
KidsChooseEver wonder why kids love to learn new games, but don’t care so much about learning new things in school? We at RE@L wonder about it all the time. We are constantly looking for new ways to include gaming and simulations in our teaching/learning products.

images It’s all part of a new way to learn called “gamification”, finding new ways to make learning more game like, fun and productive. Our educator-designers invented Oregon Trail almost 40 years ago, arguably the greatest learning game ever. More on how much further we’ve come down the simulation trail below.

Here’sm some of the reasons why today’s learners love interactive simulation/learning games:

• If at first you don’t succeed, you can try, try again.

• You can compete and learn with others.

•You can win badges of achievement to display your skills.

• You can “buy” cool stuff with your skill points.

• You can learn from your losses. You can learn from losing!?! YES! Failure is something few want to happen in a classroom. But losing in a game can teach you a lot more than failure. It can improve your strategies to make you a winner.

Dr. Jane McGonigal is a recognized gaming expert. In a short video below, she addresses many concerns raised by educators: violence in games; competition vs collaboration; so-called “time wasting”.  She cites valid research affirming the effectiveness of gaming and interactive simulation. Click on this link to see her video:  Truths and Myths in Gaming

McGonical-1RE@L’s “gamification” experts agree with Dr. McGonigal. We are working diligently to ensure that very high level standards of gaming techniques are tested and incorporated in RE@L products. At RE@L we understand the power of gaming. We learned that when our team built the greatest K12 computer simulation game of all-time: “Oregon Trail”. Millions of people around the world have used the game in school and at home for four decades. They still do. Here’s a more recent link to some of her latest thinking on this emerging way for more kids to learn more. Click on her photo to the right to view her article.

RE@L has new and better learning games on our planning boards. Students will not only be able to go back in history to learn in our games, they will also be able to go forward in time and learn, too. We have ambitious plans to build more gaming into more of our learning products. RE@L knows gaming and we also know learning.

Want to learn more about the power of gaming? Follow our RE@L Blog.

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  Stay tuned! More RE@L Learning soon to come!

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Tom King & Dale LaFrenz

Dr. Tom King has served for over 40 years as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Saint Thomas in the School of Education. The Saturn School of Tomorrow, formerly a St. Paul Public School, and his visionary response to educational reform, was a lighthouse on the frontier of school change. Tom was an experienced high school teacher of mathematics, a school administrator, and Director of Technology for the St. Paul MN Public Schools. He is also a member of the RE@L Team. Dr. Dale LaFrenz is Chairman of RE@L and one of the founders of MECC Software who brought “Oregon Trail” to millions of K12 kids everywhere. He has written extensively on the history and evolution of Ed Tech. His work in forging new paths for MECC’S “edutainment" software was instrumental in connecting school-markets, kids, teachers and consumer-markets/kids/parents, and now serves as the new launching pad for RE@L apps and software.

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