Assignment 5: Learning/serious games

For my assignment I chose web based digital game called Frepy, since I work with preschool children and I have not had chance to check this game out yet.  It is an environment which consist of many different mini games and has other languages as well besides Estonian. Game supports native language learning and hearing distinguishing vowels in words. Whole game focuses on reading, hearing and clicking or draging the right answers. Game is ment for children ages 4-8. In order to reach the goals mentioned above there are 23 different mini games. In all of them children have to listen or read what they have to do and play the games.

When I was playing the game obviously it is easy for me. But for children it can be quite hard, at least some of the mini games are not that easy. Especially when it comes to reading, since kids at the age of 4 do not really know how to read yet. I think game actually requires some adult supervision and guidance what comes to choosing the right mini game. But I do not think that child will get bored by the games since there are 23 of them so even if one part gets boring they can switch to some other one. Maybe later on they will feel playing the same mini game again. As for the fun factor it did not seem to fun for me, sure there were different elements like the game was communicating with the child and also praising if you did something right. Also the characters in the game were animated, so I can say they had used those elements to motivate children. But for me it seemed purely educational and no fun at all.

What comes to learning as for me I did not learn anything since I know how to read and I do not have difficulties with hearing the vowels in words as well. But if I think of the level of the children then they definitely will learn from it. Repeating some of the mini games children actually learn to listen and it will improve their memory as well. Also using mouse is difficult at the ages 4-8 since most of them are used with tablets or smartphones, that is something I have noticed while doing activities with children.

What comes to game improvement I actually would change many things. One thing what I would change is that mini games descriptions should be written in capital letters. Since in Estonia children learn first uppercase letter symbols and then start later learning lowercase. But I noticed that the game descriptions were given in all mini games in lowercase. Also some of the mini games had a voice option, where they tell the player what to do in order to pass the stage or finish the game and in some there was none. The game descriptions were too long as well. If I were a child I do not think I would have the patience to wait for the whole thing to finish, I would just start playing. Some of the words in the games have voice option and some do not. I would give it to all of them since the age is 4-8 years and not all know how to read. Also in some mini games the sounds started to overlap with each other. For example I clicked on a picture voice said it but at the same time some other noise covered it. This should also not happen. And on of the mini games was in Lithuanian, at least it seemed Lithuanian for me. That is some technical mistake as well, which they have not corrected.

But I would use the game in order to see how much children have learned through the activities I have done with them.





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