In order to get a better understanding of my genius hour topic, I decided to interview University of Georgia student Jake Jensen,22, about his experience with educational video games. He said that while he had never used a video game or app to learn something specific, there were a lot that he played that helped him with general cognitive development or practice skills he already had. He referenced an iPhone game he enjoyed called “Okay?”, pictured below. The game is played by bouncing a ball off of shapes in order to make the disappear. He said that while he already knew the physics concepts employed in this game, he liked playing it to practice his skills and progress through the different levels of increasing difficulty.
Screenshot of the game “Okay?”
I asked him if he remembered any games growing up that helped him learn in school. He didn’t recall any, and said he enjoyed sports video games more than puzzle or educational games. However, he did remember playing the game Lemonade Stand (part of coolmathgames.com). In this game, you are given a small start up allowance and try to make as much money as you can in 30 days. You must buy ingredients and products then try to sell your lemonade. He said he didn’t play it to specifically learn anything, but he could see how it would help his math and time management skills.
Finally, I asked him if he would be more or less willing to play a video game or app if he it was educational. He said that as a kid, he would probably not want to play a video game if he knew it was supposed to be teaching him something. He also said, however, that if it was fun enough and wan’t obviously educational, he would probably still be interested. He said in high school and college he would definitely be willing to use video games to help him brush up on or practice old or new concepts. “If you’re going to need to know this stuff anyways, you may as well learn and practice it in a fun way,” he stated.