The aim of this thesis is to investigate whether it is possible for a teacher (as a non-game developer) to create educational computer games that could be considered fun‟ to play. The influences of game genre and graphical fidelity on this process are also investigated, along with the practicalities and barriers that constrain the (mainstream) use of computer games within the education system.
A literature review was conducted into the motivations for using educational games, the educational and conventional approaches to games design, and finally the development frameworks/software tools available for the purposes of implementation.
Building upon the literature review, a questionnaire based survey and a games design pilot were conducted in order to establish what constitutes educational games design „best practice‟. Based on the feedback/results obtained, a small number of educational games were developed (using the package "GameMaker") and piloted for use within the subsequent main study.
The main study consisted of a series of educational game playing sessions (supported by questionnaires) aimed at addressing the thesis research questions. The results of the study (in combination with an additional literature review) suggest the following:
It is possible for teachers (as non-game developers) to create „fun‟ educational computer games, although this may not always be the most practical or preferred approach.
Low fidelity graphics do not negatively impact the successful use of computer games within an educational environment.
Educational games can be used practically within the education system, but with constraints and barriers preventing their mainstream adoption, unless schools, government and educational game advocates work together towards a shared vision.
Due to limitations within the study, the influence of genre on the use educational games remains unresolved.
This thesis contributes new knowledge through the discovery that computer games do not require high fidelity graphics in order to be used successfully within an educational environment (at the primary school level), and addresses a gap within the current literature through the documentation of the author‟s „real world‟ experience of developing educational computer games (from a teacher‟s point of view).
Djaouti, D., Alvarez, J., Jessel, J-P., Rampnoux, O. (2011). Origins of Serious Games. In: Ma, M., Oikonomou, A., Jain, L. ed(s). Serious Games and Edutainment Applications. UK: Springer London, pp. 25-43.