Friday, February 24, 2012

Online Scrabble: An Engaging Ed Tool

I recently took the plunge into online Scrabble and I finally realized the feeling my passionate video gaming students have when time flies and they don't want to stop when playing a video game.  It's amazing!

What's also amazing is the rate of learning with online Scrabble.  My Scrabble abilities have grown ten-fold in only two short days, and this is incredible when you consider I've been playing the game for decades.

What increased my playing power?  There are many design factors that contributed to my quick learning including the following:
  • The chance to play multiple players at many levels.
  • The speed of the game as I was introduced to new words at a very fast rate.
  • The ready access of the online dictionary that I used to check words.
  • The fact that I was seeing so many words I hadn't heard of which prompted me to look up the meaning of those words oline by opening another window.
  • The competition: Yes, I want to beat my brother-in-law (a Scrabble expert) before I die!
  • The play at your own rate aspect of the game.
I'm sure that online game designers employ many design factors to create passion for their games.  What are those specific factors?  Can educators profit from understanding video game design and the factors that underly these games?

I'm been at the periphery of this discussion, taking note now and then, but I definitely am seeing the link between quick learning of what can sometimes be painstaking, dull, rote learning of essential facts and processes becoming a passionate engagement in game-like play.

Are you employing online games in your classroom?  Do you design online games? What factors are essential to promote efficient learning in a motivating, student-paced, multi-modal way?  Please send me your links, thoughts and ideas related to this discussion. I want to learn more as I believe my students will profit from this information.  Thanks!