Jeremiah Diephuis (US/AT) was born in 1976 and grew up in the great arcades of the American Midwest. After studies in computational linguistics and communication and knowledge media, he turned his focus to the use of games for various purposes in the public sphere. He currently works as a lecturer and researcher in the Digital Media department at the Hagenberg Campus of the University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria and is a founding member of the research group “Playful Interactive Environments”.
Serious Detours: A Critical Reflection on Developing Games for Education
FROG 2020 – Short Talk
Educational computer games have been promising to revolutionize our school systems since the early 1970s, with early titles such as Oregon Trail and Mathteroids demonstrating how typical school content could potentially be employed in games. However, almost fifty years later, educational games, which have effectively been subsumed by the category of serious games, are still rarely utilized in schools, at least not on a wide scale. This is in direct contrast to such statements as the fairly recent IEEE prediction that “gaming will be integrated into more than 85 percent of daily tasks by 2020.” This talk will address some of the previous successes of educational games but also the challenges they currently face. In particular, such difficult issues as determining the appropriate level of abstraction, weighing the complexity and accuracy of the underlying models and dealing with different player expectations. The presentation will draw on some of the projects that were developed in the research group “Playful Interactive Environments” as well as other serious games developed both in and outside of Austria. Finally, some experiences regarding educational game design and playtesting during the pandemic will also be shared.