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  NOTES- ‘Serious Games for Learning’  
Posted 2006-03-12 by Tony Walsh
Serious Games for Learning
Room 15
Sunday, March 12th
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Jim Brazell- Consulting Analyst, IC2 Institute
Jim Bower- UT scientist, CEO of NewMedian Numedeon
Michael Whalen- instructional designer
Erwin Kaplan- retired Army officer, involved with game-based learning

Why I chose to attend this panel: I'm a barely-competent game designer, so this should be a useful experience.

- Xbox 360 can churn 1 teraflop for $300
- 4th gen computing is ubiquitous computing, systems on chips, control human biology
- Cooper's Law: The capability of wireless communications has doubled every 2.5 years since the invention of the radio.
- tech/sci convergence is enabling the 4th generation... nanotech... genetic building blocks...
- tech/sci demands that we restructure education to start renaissance in computing
- e.g. Biosim 1.0 simulates human genome in a videogame, finding scientific solutions through gameplay
- serious games: games for learning and building games for learning
- a study of the videogame industry shows that consumers want to be producers (self-organized innovation networks)
- e.g. VSTEP, Food Force, Glucoboy

- the army is going down the road of games
- what is the best way to communicate with soldiers in the field
- the age is changing, kids today are wired, they grew up on games
- the army is going through a transformation
- Target Audience: Active army, army reserve, Ntl Guard, 25-45 years of age
- Army had to redesign their courseware and incorporate doctrinal changes to simulation production and integration.
- "digital natives" vs. "digital immigrants" a digital gap caused by age... kids are using the same tech every day that they will use in the battlefield
- the future army is a social network... soldiers will be blogging... using cell phones...
- military combat sims (live sims) cost millions of dollars
- military leadership trainer uses the Unreal Engine

- is apparently built by 8-14 year-olds
- "How do we engage kids?" Whyville was built to engage kids to teach them about healthy eating.
- 1.5 million registered users... users are "anonymous" (I think they have aliases)
- passed 1M users in December 2004... viral marketing only...
- usage dominated by females
- Whyville has longevity, retains users over many years (e.g. one user registered in 2000)
- site stats exceed many mainstream entertainment sites
- bigger than Denver and Detroit
- there is an in-world newspaper
- females prefer more social games
- Whyville works through sponsorships
- "carvatars" branded avatars by Toyota Scion
- 9-14 year-old girls spend more time on the net than TV
- future marketing depends on the degree of engagement (engagement through challenge and learning)

- makes science and social studies edu software for middle school students
- upfront goals to the game "Reality, Inc."
- demos one scenario [looks like a learning object to me]


Kaplan- America's Army (the game) is a recruiting tool. The army is now targetting gamers younger than 15 years of age through video games on the Xbox and PlayStation.
Bower- Doesn't have a problem advertising to kids based on the idea of the kids "learning" about the brand's facts rather than getting an overt marketing message.
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