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meaningful play 2008 travel

Session Information

TitleDesigning K-6 educational games from Playstation to PSP
Presenter(s)Dave Adams and Peter Rogan, PLATO Learning, Inc.
TimeFriday, October 10, 10:30a-11:30a
DescriptionWhy would an educational content publisher be interested in designing games?

  • Game devices are low cost technology that can be used by schools to expand access to technology. Schools still struggle with the student to computer ratio.
  • Game devices can be used by schools to broaden the type of technology students are exposed to for educational purposes kids today use cell phones, game devices, computers, iPods, etc.
  • Game devices can go home, connecting school and home and increasing family involvement.
Our goal as educators is to create a system for learning that enables the student to master basic skills, develop higher-order thinking skills, and apply the learning of these skills to their world. By their very nature, games provide essential components of an optimal learning environment: motivation, reinforcement, retention, and transfer.

In the 1990s, Achieve Now was introduced to teach reading / language arts skills and mathematics to children in grades K thru 6. It grew into 81 separate PlayStation titles.

It has been sold to hundreds of districts, along with Sony PlayStation hardware for classroom, after school, and at-home use. PLATO Learning recently partnered with Sony to bring our Achieve Now learning content to the Sony PSP.

We will focus on the challenges of game design from an educational perspective, then applying that design process to deployment on a mainstream gaming platform. We will discuss the effort to produce and maintain a learning tool like this on a gaming platform, including:
  • the constraints of the hardware
  • the ever-changing target of the gaming systems,
  • convincing schools that it is wise to invest in PlayStations, PSPs, DS or other such platforms to supplement the instructional tools they already have in the classroom.

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