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Colloquium - DiGiano and Repenning

Playing a Game: The Ecology of Designing, Building and Testing Games as Educational Activities
SRI International
Department of Computer Science
10/5/2005
11:30am-1:00pm

The design and implementation of educational games can be highly motivational to undergraduate students. In many cases it allows them to build the kind of computational artifacts that they envisioned building when they entered a computer science program. Additionally, the design and implementation of games is demanding, as it requires to master a variety of skills and to combine them in a context that typically includes collaborative and interdisciplinary work stiles.

Initially, computer science programs did not welcome the notion of game design, as they perceived games as a non-serious application of computer science principles. With the game industry growing at an enormous rate and the complexity of the games clearly reaching a level of complexity approaching, and in many cases exceeding, the level of most "serious" computer science applications the evidence has reached critical mass indicating that games have become computer science showcases.

At the same time there is also increasing evidence that games can have high educational potential. Rich simulations, for instance, promise to engage learners in activities in ways not previously possible with traditional media such as books and even electronic media such as movies. Our goal was to combine these two directions by offering courses on game design for education. The main point of this paper is to share our experience over three iterations of this course.

Sponsored by the Center for Lifelong Learning & Design.

Department of Computer Science
University of Colorado Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309-0430 USA
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