In our fifth installment of the G4C Industry Circle series, Schell Games shares their recent transformational games for education. Learn more from Schell Games CEO Jesse Schell in a Google Hangout on Wednesday, February 24, 2016, at 3:00 PM ET for a meaningful discussion on the importance of games in education and learn more about the innovative ways games are transforming learning experiences for today’s students. RSVP here.
How transformational games are changing education
By Schell Games
Huh? What are transformational games? Think serious games, but fun! All kidding aside, transformational games are games that change the player for the better. They are designed to positively impact a person’s habits, attitudes, or behaviors. They often increase knowledge on a certain subject, through fun, engaging, and playful experiences.
At Schell Games, we believe in the power of transformational games. In fact, we’ve created many that are aimed squarely at education. They vary with regards to goals, objectives, gameplay, style, and outcomes, yet they all have one thing in common… the ability to positively transform the player.
Here’s a sampling of some of our recent work.
Happy Atoms is a molecular chemistry kit for the 21st century. Chemistry is an incredibly important subject that many students never fully grasp. Knowledge of chemistry is necessary to solve many real-world problems, but the way chemistry is taught often fails to capture students’ imaginations, discouraging experimentation and discovery. Today most chemistry lessons are conducted like math classes. But when you think of atoms and molecules as the building blocks of our universe, you realize that students should be tinkering rather than tabulating. Think Legos, not logarithms.
Happy Atoms combines a digital app with a physical modeling set, letting students as young as 4th grade through the college level connect with science in an entirely new way. Funded in part by the U.S. Department of Education, the system lets them see the difference between elements, feel the forces that bond them together, experiment with ways to combine them, and discover the relationships between molecular structure and properties. It’s a tangible, interactive tool that creates a uniquely engaging and fun learning experience.
The World of Lexica
Have you ever tried to convince a middle-schooler they should read a classic work of literature? It’s not a simple task. After much cajoling and prodding (and perhaps bribery!), they remain reluctant to engage in this activity. In fact, they will probably tell you that they’d rather be playing a video game. Enter The World of Lexica, an action-RPG style experience for young teens that introduces them to an imaginative, book-themed world.
In this tablet-based game, characters emerge from their stories to accompany students on a new and exciting adventure through a literary world. Players explore the world as a Curioso, a magical creature that represents the player’s own curiosity. They are joined by classic book characters such as Cheshire Cat, Frankenstein’s Monster, and John Henry, as they cross paths with the likes of Baba Yaga and Mr. Hyde. By making book characters part of the player’s own adventure, Lexica draws interest to their original stories, which in turn, can be found at the touch of a fingertip in Lexica’s accompanying eReader. The game’s primary goal is to foster a passion for reading while seamlessly bridging the gap between gameplay and learning. It literally makes reading fun!
Digital games for young children are ubiquitous. It’s easy to find an app that will teach letters or numbers or colors. But have you ever tried to find one that teaches more meaningful lessons, like sharing, caring, or good citizenship? These socio-emotional skills are difficult for children to grasp, yet their impact can be profound, especially as children learn to navigate a school environment for the first time. Since children learn by doing, games are an important way to teach high-level executive functioning skills. And nobody communicates these skills better than The Fred Rogers Company and PBS.
Through a close partnership with these organizations, Schell Games has developed many meaningful game experiences for preschoolers under the Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and Peg + Cat properties. One of these is a new iOS app called Daniel Tiger’s Stop & Go Potty, which teaches young children the proper practices, timing, and routines for using the bathroom. Potty training is always a difficult milestone to conquer, but with Daniel’s guidance, children can learn vital skills to make this transition much easier.
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