Right from fun songs to learn the ABCs to the ever-popular spelling bee, games and competition have helped us generate interest in what would otherwise be routine, but necessary memorization tasks. With mobile technology now able to handle a variety of game types, it’s not surprising to see a large number of educative mobile games to choose from as well.
In the book, ‘Augmented Learning’, Eric Klopfer, Associate Professor of Education (MIT), argues for the untapped potential of mobile learning games which would leverage the strengths of a mobile platform, including “its portability, context sensitivity, connectivity, and ubiquity.” These features, Klopfer says, would make learning through mobile device games, ideal from elementary school all the way through college.
The numbers speak
Due in large part to the Apple iPhone, mobile games are now becoming increasingly popular, resulting in a new focus on producing innovative new technologies. The mobile games industry generates approximately $2 billion in annual sales, and may be well poised to contribute significantly to overall computer and video game sales in the coming years.
The Pew Internet and American Life Project, also found that 48 percent of U.S. teens already play games on a cell phone or PDA. Combined with 71 percent of teens ages 12-14 playing games on a portable gaming device, the mobile games sector looks likely to enjoy a large consumer base in the coming years.
Mobile games and education
A growing body of research (Fabricatore, 2000) indicates that mobile technologies can be effective tools in catering to digitally-hooked students and there are signs of the motivating potential and possible learning gains of games played on mobile devices with young adult audiences.
With mobile game-based learning students of all ages use the interactive and entertaining format of the game to creative tackle complex problems. By enabling students to continue to play through levels, competitive learning can be encouraged using repetition, rewards, and challenges.
Most games use social dynamics or real-world contexts to enhance game play, and this can be integrated into the natural flow of instruction more easily than their big-screen counterparts, creating educational and engaging environments for learners. Additionally mobile games can be designed at a much lower cost than traditional PC or console games.
‘Augmented Learning’, Research and Design of Mobile Educational Games by Eric Klopfer
C. Fabricatore, Learning and Videogames: an unexploited synergy, AECT 2000
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