feel that the content checks were too
simple, they all enjoyed it and were
able to tell me things that they learned
about mass and physical characteristics. Froguts has several more modules
than I was able to preview, with more
on the way, and I was impressed by the
guided learning nature of the game.
This game would be a great addition
to any science classroom. One drawback is that the material is for slightly
older learners than I think the cartoon
interface suggests, and it may be difficult to hold students’ interest in the
upper elementary grades.
Collapse of Rome (COR). This game
was developed by a history teacher/
computer programmer. It is a souped-up version of the board game Risk
or a slightly more targeted and academically friendly version of Civilization. COR comes with instructions
explaining how the game can teach
history, an online study guide, and
a quiz, along with two tools that are
particularly useful for teachers: a map-making function and debriefing questions. I am very impressed with COR
and think it could be used directly off
the shelf at the high school level.
Fantasy Hip Hop. I also enjoyed a new
fantasy hip-hop game developed by
Jason Townes-French and Brent Vale.
Players learn a great deal about business, team building, hip-hop music,
and its industry via this role-playing
fantasy game. I think this is a great
idea, and it may have a serious future
as an educational game.
Build Your Own
There are several good tools to help
children build their own games at the
elementary level. As an advocate for
user design, I am excited about chil-
dren learning design principles at an
early age and putting those principles
into action by building games that
please themelves and their friends.
Among the best tools out there are
GameMaker, Scratch, and Alice. My
colleagues at Pennsylvania State Uni-
versity recently published an article in
As an advocate for user design,
I am excited about children
learning design principles
at an early age and putting
those principles into action
by building games that please
themselves and their friends.