Thursday, May 14, 2009

Video Games ARE Beneficial

With all this research on video games educating I recently went on to check out the top gaming themed articles. One of the articles that caught my eye is titled 12 ways video games actually benefit "real life". Check it out if you had any interest in my recent blog posts it's pretty interesting and shows that video games isn't all about guns and killing.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Escape from Diab Chapter 1 Review

I was recently given access to chapter one of Escape from Diab. The game it self is tailored to a younger age group but I don't see children playing the game on their own free time. However, this doesn't mean that the game can't be beneficial. I can see this game being part of an elementary school's health curriculum for several reasons that are visible from the short chapter 1 section of the game. At the first playable section of the game, you control the main character, Deejay, as he escapes from King Etes' guards. To successfully avoid the guards Deejay must pick the healthiest vegetables out of the two displayed on the ground. Some of these can get a little tricky for a younger crowd as they throw in foods such as fried zucchini vs peas. Both are vegetables but one is healthier than the other based upon how they were prepared. This is done several times throughout the level.

The next section involves a questionnaire on how healthy you eat and drink, I'm assuming this information will be used later in the game to see how the player can improve. The next section is a meal food group balance, trying to have a snack that involves most of the food groups and proper serving size of each item in the snack. Hopefully this is repeated throughout the game to give kids ideas on new snacks that might have never tried before.

The last playable section in chapter 1 involves selecting a goal to better yourself and how fruits and vegetables can help you achieve that goal. There are a variety of choices to pick for each section and my screenshot just shows one combination. This goal setting section also includes an obstacle, which is realistic because who doesn't have obstacles when trying to achieve a goal. This section makes the player think about what maybe stopping them from choosing healthier lifestyles and how they can solve that problem. I feel this is a great feature in the game.

The chapter 1 demo also included a space invaders style game tailored to the setting of the game. I see this addition to be vital for a younger crowd because it gives them an activity that is more fun than the other activities in the game. Hopefully this is repeated in the other chapters.

Overall I feel that this game is a step in the right direction with trying to include technology in health education. This game might not be successful outside the classroom like the game Magi and the Sleeping Star has the potential to do. However, if used correctly in elementary health education classrooms I feel that Escape from Diab can get students hooked as they have fun with a computer game and learn at the same time.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Diabetes Games

Screenshot slide show of Escape from Diab, GRIP Diabetes, and Magi and the Sleeping Star. For more information on the games please see the previous post

Video Games educating on Diabetes?

It may seem strange that video games can help those with the disease but companies and designers are trying their best to be creative and make games that are educational, still fun, and possibly life changing. At a young age children are being diagnosed with diabetes as our country grows unhealthier. There are many resources to help fight diabetes and keep those diagnosed healthy and one of those resources that is up and coming is video games. Several games in creation and/or recently released are Escape from Diab, GRIP: Diabetes Self-Management for Children and Their Parents, and The Magi and the Sleeping Star.

GRIP is designed for a younger crowd around 7-11 years old and is a flash based game that is available to play now. Controls are simple using the arrow keys and the mouse to control your character. The version that I played was in German but it was still simple to understand what you needed to do. As your character makes his way through the world he has to dodge several obstacles in his way but to add to that he must balance his blood sugar with several different foods and the medication insulin at his arsenal. This game is simple and I can see a younger crowd wanting to play it and improving the communication between the child, their parents, and their doctors.

The game Magi and the Sleeping Star is a higher production game with a 3-D design and a much grander story. The game is designed for any age group including adults and looks like alot more fun than the other games, it could possibly be a game that would attract regular gamers as well as the diabetic crowd. The main character in this game is a man who is trying to track down his family who was kidnapped. He faces many monsters and foe on his way and has an awesome weaponry and magical powers at his arsenal. However, he has type one diabetes and the disease affects his magical powers and the better balanced blood sugar he has, the stronger his magical powers are. To keep his blood sugar at a healthy level the player must choose healthy food, count carbohydrates and adminster appropriate amounts of insulin. All of which an actual diabetes patient must do. This concept in the game could be greatly beneficial to a younger crowd.

The last game is Escape from Diab, and like Magi and the Sleeping Star is a more in depth game with a great interactive website. While diabetes isn't directly involved in the game it can be seen where it can relate. The main character, Deejay, finds himself in the unfamiliar world of Diab. Diab is ruled by an out of shape king that wants to spread his unhealthyness to his citizens. He outlaws exercise and feeds his population unlimited free amounts of junk food and school is practicaly non exsistant and children do nothing but sit around all day. Deejay and his new, out of shape Diabian friends journey through this game to escape from Diab to the Golden City to lead a healthy life.

These games are a great example in how video game companies are trying to use technology, which people of all ages utilize, to educate and entertain. They are creative in how they impliment things like healthy eating, balancing blood sugar, and proper insulin dosage to video games that aren't just seen as an educational DVD to kids. However too few companies are getting involved in this new type of video game genre, and the companies that are creating games aren't popular gaming companies such as EA, Sony, or Microsoft. Until companies like those get involved in educational video games I don't see these games being popular.

Friday, May 8, 2009

255 Final Part One

A)Watch videos and read documents

B) The website is based in the country of Canada and the video takes place in the town of Saskatoon which is in the province of Saskatchewan. I found the piece very interesting, it showed how P.E. and physical activity can benefit the performance in other subjects by increasing concentration and mental ability in students, to name a few. The P.E. teacher wasn't directly involved in the experiment because the students ran on the treadmills during their classroom time. They transitioned from physical activity to classroom work rather quickly to maximize the benefits provided by the physical activity. The program turned out to be a huge success with everyone improving in reading, math, and comprehension. All students advanced at least a whole reading level. Many students became interested in the material they were learning, their overall health improved because of the physical activity and behavior and lifestyle changes occurred that would benefit society. The obvious standard thatassociates with this program is that the students are involved in rigorous physical activity that will improve several aspects of their overall fitness such as cardio respiratory endurance. Another standard that this program overlaps is creating a safe and healthy environment. The students were sent to that school because their were deemed problem children. And because of this program all of the students are improving academicly and some are changing their life around to be a better person and get away from the things that troubled them in the past. The are also building meaningful relationships with their peers and teachers all because they are so engaged in physical activity and academics.

Web Sites:

My Lesson Plan

My Progresson Sheet