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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Educational tabletop games: good or bad?

Educational tabletop games: good or bad?

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Hello, everyone.

I am Yuji Yamamoto, a producer at a Japanese company called AWESOME JAPAN inc.

On August 20, 2014, I will be launching a kickstarter campaign: “PALEON”, a board game about dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures.

When I was a child, I didn’t really like studying, and my parents would scold me for playing video games every day.

So I thought, why not play games and learn at the same time?

I think parents wouldn’t scold them for playing and learning at the same time, since they’d be using their time productively and having fun.

Many elementary school classrooms have a collection of board games, and educational games like PALEON would be more useful than traditional, popular tabletop games like Connect Four. Lots of kids (especially boys!) like dinosaurs, too.

But I’m not sure if educational games like PALEON would be accepted by parents and teachers. It has well-researched information and teaches strategy, but doesn’t support a specific skill set like “Math” or “History”, unlike other educational games. There may also be people who like to separate “work” and “play”.

Please let me hear your opinions about educational games and PALEON. Would kids enjoy it? Do you use educational games (tabletop and electronic) in your classrooms and homes? Or do you enjoy old school tabletop games? Would teachers and parents be interested?

I’m sorry if this gives off too much of a “marketing” vibe. I wanted to hear your opinions as educators (and parents). Looking forward to your discussions!

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Samer Rabadi's picture
Samer Rabadi
Community Manager at Edutopia

Hi Yuji, posts asking for app feedback and/or kickstarter campaigns are typically only allowed on the Community Bulletin Board. In this case, you've asked some interesting questions, so we will leave your post here to see if the community is interested in responding.

I will however be deleting the link in your post. If you'd rather keep the link, then we'll have to move your post.

Kevin Jarrett's picture
Kevin Jarrett
K-4 Technology Facilitator from Northfield, New Jersey

Hi Yuji!

As Samer points out, your questions are interesting, so let me offer some insight.

First of all, I shared your link with a parent of a child I know who is utterly *OBSESSED* with dinosaurs - she loved it and I think will be a backer! I know dino's are very popular with many kids (yes, boys, but girls too) so I am sure your product will be a hit.

Success in schools is another matter, I think. In order for a game like this to gain wide acceptance and adoption, you're right, there has to be a curricular link. With time so precious in classrooms these days, teachers everywhere are being challenged every day to teach what the kids need to know and be sure they know it. When the curriculum includes dinosaurs, your game could be just what the doctor ordered. But then it would likely sit, only perhaps being used during recess or other 'free' time. At least that's my take on it.

You are probably familiar with the term 'gamification' - it's very hot in education right now. People are realizing that kids learn a great deal during play and companies are scrambling to find ways to use games in meaningful ways that allow kids to explore and interact with content, learning in the process. So, you are on the right track.

Personally, I think the 'low tech' side of tabletop gaming has a lot of potential and is a welcome change from the 'technology overload' we have in our lives these days. I'd love to see a similar game put together around another concept. Perhaps you could reach out to some teachers and parents to get their input?

Good luck!


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