About Serious Games

Serious games (SGs) or persuasive games are computer and video games used as persuasion technology or educational technology. They can be similar to educational games, but are often intended for an audience outside of primary or secondary education. Serious games can be of any genre and many of them can be considered a kind of edutainment.

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Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Croquet Virtual Learning Environment

Croquet is coming—prepare to rethink online learning.

Imagine you are an undergraduate student of the future. Your first class takes place in a lush wooded landscape with rolling green hills and a waterfall. Then you go through a portal to your next class in an underwater world full of fish that undulate around you—some of them are your fellow students. Your last class takes place in outer space, where Earth and a satellite are revolving around the moon and you can see the gravitational effects of two bodies on a third. If you get in the way of the moon it will toss you out of the way.

Think this sounds like science fiction set in the year 2305? Think again. Programmers from the University of Minnesota and the University of Wisconsin are developing a multi-user, 3D software environment called 'Croquet' that enables students and instructors to move through, create, and collaborate in virtual worlds.

Croquet looks and feels like a virtual reality game, but in terms of its development and goals is radically different. Mark McCahill, director of the University Technology Development Center on campus and one of Croquet's authors, explains that while the goal of most games is to hurt, destroy, and dominate, the goal of Croquet is to create and collaborate. Educators have often been attracted by the features of gaming software, which are highly collaborative, interactive, and intrinsically motivating. But these gaming engines aren't necessarily well suited for teaching and learning because corporations own and control the code and allow users only limited functionality. Croquet, on the other hand, is open source software, which means that anyone can access the code or the tools and create, extend, or adapt the virtual space to their own ends.

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