Monday, 27 April 2009

Using immersive games to teach children how to be safe using a safe and highly controlled environmen

I've always thought that games are brilliant for teaching. Their mix of fun and addictiveness keeps
your attention whilst their rules and challenges encourage you to use your faculties and improve yourself.

The addition of connectivity through networks, the internet and so on adds to their appeal. Truly immersive games are now becoming reality so the experience matches life very closely. I would like to see games that use many of these elements to teach basic concepts such as safety and good social skills. For children this would be so helpful because you could provide a safe environment to practice skills that are necessary in the outside world. 

I grew up with fairy tales. They're a common way of introducing children to the bad elements of life in a less scary way. It seems the witches and gremlins represent many of the people we want to protect our children from in real life but don't want our kids to know they're real. 

I'd like to see this in a game where children can practice the skills of staying safe and having fun whilst in a sand box environment controlled by teachers and such. The children play games and complete tasks like a normal game. Maybe they do some work too like following French signs to somewhere. Along the way they meet lots of people who may help or hinder them. Any of these characters could be played by teachers and other children or the computer. You could also link classes together and create teams. Then just use scores or other means to reward for the right actions. 

The ultimate prize in this instance would be getting to the destination following the signs and puzzles correctly and working well with the characters you met along the way. Figuring out who the goodies and baddies are and dealing with them correctly. I feel this would be a fantastic way
to introduce children to real life and help them learn the skills to stay safe whilst getting on with things. It provides a very safe and highly controlled environment thats easy for teachers to work with. 
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