Reflection Week 2

This week has been a successful week other than forgetting to post by reflection on time. I am feeling better about this style of class. Even though, I am feel better about this class I am still overlooking things. I need to read the directions carefully to make sure I am meeting all the requirements.


I am starting to feel more optimistic about including games. I am hoping to learn from my own active participation as well as benefitting from others participation. Each week I find at least 1-3 things of value that I can use in the classroom. Brandi helped me this week by pointing out that I did not specifically include the components required to make it a serious game. With that being said, I went back and added a long list that I found and agreed with from James Paul Gee. I think I was avoiding my own specific list, because they all seemed relevant and I was having a hard time narrowing the list down. I was curious to whether others had a hard time and I found they all tried to create a list, but I really liked that list so I included it. Nonetheless, I did create a short list just as umbrella terms. I will add these to the group wiki shortly.  I also commented on Brandi’s blog and found she did a great job narrowing it down to a smaller list. The next Blog I interacted with was Gary’s and I found that he had narrowed it down to a smaller list.  As I browsed lists, I was thinking in terms of umbrella terms and I am still not sure what I would say are the components of a serious game. I am looking forward to our next twitter session in order to clarify this.


Luckily, with the advances in technology I have been able to attend all twitter sessions. Except this past week, my slow Internet had me believing I was early or class was postponed. Eventually, the news feed updated and I realized I was not early at all.  I have had a lot of family emergencies this past year and I am grateful this class is designed like this. I was able to make a few twitter posts this week in regards to my posting. I also posted some questions regarding serious games and if there is a database of some sort. 


Lastly, I would like to say I am still unsure of my final product or end results for this class is suppose to be. However, I might be misled but I think that is the correct assumption.  With that assumption, I am telling myself not to panic. I now know first hand that change is hard!


Blog 2

What are the common components of serious games? Justify your answer.


Serious games are games that have a serious purpose other than an entertainment value.  According to the article Balancing Three Different Foci in the Design of Serious Games by Anders Frank (2007) , “Serious Games can be defined as the use of games and game technology for other purposes than just entertainment (p.1).” In other words, serious games are games that also aim to teach a serious lesson of some sort.


These games are hard, long, and complex (Gee, 2005). Furthermore according to James Paul Gee (2005) in his article Good Video Games and Good Learning when gaming, “ we should feel ourselves using learning muscles we don’t always use.”


Wow! If games allow us to use muscles we don’t always use it seems like they have great educational value. Gee (2005) suggests that games allows for learning that is long, hard, and complex yet still enjoyable.  I really believe games have an intriguing value in education due to the enjoyment factor. Gee (2005) further states, “human actual enjoy learning, though sometimes in school you wouldn’t know it (p.3).”  I agree because sometimes for many students school just does not motivate children. I have encountered plenty of times when children just refuse to work because it just is not motivating. I love the idea of incorporating games in to the education system to help motivate students to learn. I believe that this is a difficult task but with the advances in technology to some degree games can be included in the classroom.


Serious games have developed as a result of others wanting to use games for other purposes other than motivational (Frank, 2007).  As a teacher, I can see how they have developed, especially after at one point in time working with a child who was engrossed in games. I always felt like using the games as a motivational tool to get work done failed because the child was always so side tracked by the game he/she couldn’t get his/her work done so in turn he/she became frustrated because this child would never see the reward. I always thought it would be interesting to or rewarding to somehow alter the games so they could be part of his education. At the time, I did not know about serious games. I think this child along with others could have learned from social/emotional serious games. It is my understanding that there are some out there and although I am no longer working with these kids I would like to look up such serious games to share with others my findings. I really believe games can help our students who just do not have the connection with school to want to do well.


It is my opinion, that games should and do have a place in our school systems. And is further supported by an educated gaming guru James Paul Gee of Arizona State University who has written numerous books all in which support using games in education (Gilbert, 2011).


The design of a serious game is much more challenging than that of a game just played for entertainment.  Anders Frank (2007) points out, “the design of a serious game is more challenging than the design of a game in general since the design must not only take care of the motivational aspect, but most also contribute to the overall serious purpose (p.1).” This idea had me thinking that it is possible to create a serious game from something as simplistic as Tic-Tac Toe or Connect Four if these games are altered to teach another purpose or “serious lesson”. However, in order to create a serious game out of ordinary games requires some careful thought. So therefore, it is possible that serious games can almost be any game if the game is made so that there is a serious lesson or educational purpose.


What are the components that make up serious games?  According to James Paul Gee (2005) the following list makes up what good serious games incorporate: identity, interaction, production, risk-taking, customization, agency, well-ordered problems, challenge and consolidation, “Just in time” and “on demand” info, situated definitions, pleasantly frustrating, systematic thinking, exploration and lateral thinking, smart tools, cross functional team, and performance before competence. This is a lengthy list, but all of the components that make up good serious games are components that could positively affect the education system. After reviewing the component of good serious games I am planning on incorporating games in my classroom. It just makes sense!

Frank, A. (2007). Balancing Three Different Foci in the Design of Serious Games:       Engagement, Training Objective and Context. Situated Play , September, 3-13.

Gee, J. P. (2005). Learning By Design: Good Video Games As Learning Machines. E-    Learning, 2(1), 5.

Zack, G. (2014, January 24). EdGamer Episode 10: Games and Learning with James Gee. EdReach RSS. Retrieved January 24, 2014, from   

Week 1 Reflection

Wow! Although I had many of the requirements for this first class already “under my belt” from taking a previous class with the same instructor, I am still pushing to get things done until last minute.  The only real struggle I had this week was trying to get onto Wiki Spaces. I am up for any suggestions on what I can do to get started with this project. I plan on tackling this problem later on tonight after I clear my mind by taking a walk.


I am still in the process of looking at serious games. There are so many serious games to look at on the Internet. Recently, my Internet at home has been malfunctioning, so I have had to only work from the school. I know that I would love to browse the Internet to search up serious games that I could use in my classroom or suggest to colleagues. I also find that it takes me a considerable amount of time looking for games. Therefore, I have tweeted about my desire for suggestions in hopes to learn some tips and tricks for searching up serious games.  I have found a link that has a list of serious games. I posted the link of twitter as well. Here is it is:  However, this link does not provide a list I was looking for. Ugh! It is just being a bit more of a challenge than I would like it to be.


Nonetheless, I found 3 serious games: Math Chimp

Math games organized by grades + curriculum, Minecraft, and Pandemic.  All three of these games I listed are not what I ideally had in mind in terms of including them in the classroom. I would like to find games that I might be able to include in the 4th grade classroom. The math chimp has a bunch of math games that can teach students math facts and is grade level appropriate.  And although the next is cliché, I was really interested in Minecraft because I know many of my students are interested in this game. I was also hoping to learn how I could use it as an educational incentive for those students who need such a reward system. I finally have some understanding of this game, but also came to realize it might take actually playing it to thoroughly understand it.  The final one I found was Pandemic and this game mimics how flus such as the Swine Flu spread. I would have to look at this game deeper to get a better understanding of how appropriate it is for younger students.  Later tonight, I plan to go to a friend’s place and just relax while using the Internet to look for serious games.  I think my biggest hold up is I am looking for educational serious games.


Luckily, I was able to learn from others this week and take a peek at what kind of games they have found. I found that Gary had found 3 serious games that would work well for his age group. I also really enjoyed reading Nicole’s post because she seems to have a grasp on the idea of gaming. Gaming is new to me, because I have just chosen not to. I have been much like Gary, too busy to take part in gaming. However, much like he is I am willing and interested in learning about what gaming means to the educational field.


I look forward to collaborating and learning about gaming in education.




What serious games exist for people ages 13+? What can we learn by playing these games?



There are numerous serious games that exist for people ages 13+. These serious games have the ability to allow us, as a gamer, to get a satisfaction that is not otherwise possible from doing normal everyday activities. For some, this satisfaction can be much better than reality. Serious games allow the gamer to be challenged to solve mind-puzzling problems in a virtual world where collaboration among numerous people can happen. 


Games allow us to collaborate in ways not humanely possible. For instance, I know of a young child who plays Minecraft and interacts with a guy from Scottland, half way around the world from him. The technology behind certain games allows for collaboration.


Another great benefit of games is that they essentially push us to use creativity and optimism to solve challenges. I believe it is an innate human quality to take on challenges and any game allows us to do that.  For instance, look at the game that involves skipping down the sidewalk without stepping on a line so you won’t break your mother’s back. Yes, it is just a small challenge, but because it was a game that challenged us to do something small we played it over and over again. With that being said, I think most would agree games are motivating and should be incorporated into our education system.



It is the motivation behind the game that makes it all worth it. Since, games can be very rewarding it makes sense that they could be in integral part of education in the future. I know that they are currently used as reward systems in some schools. However, I am not sure many schools have used games as a way to educate students.  It makes more sense to get “more bang for your buck.” Students will be learning while they are playing rather than doing some learning so that they can play a game later.


After educating myself on serious games, I have decided that they are definitely something I plan on researching in efforts to include more in the classroom, especially because they are so highly motivating. I was thinking these serious games might be the only way to motivate those students who are usually classified as oppositional defiant? With this idea that has sparked, I plan to investigate it more and see what research there is out there on this topic.  My hope is that I can find serious games already made to try out with kids. 


I also want to share my findings with coworkers.  I am going to remain optimistic and hope to discover that there are same great serious games that might motivate oppositional defiant students while teaching them social skills. That would be awesome!


To wrap up my thoughts for today, I look forward to finding out more in regards to the educational benefits of serious games.