How ABC is gamifying education

ABC Splash Games
by Laura Douglas

As Australia expands into digital learning, we are seeing a rise of games in the classroom – with the recent launch of three new interactive learning games from Splash, ABC’s online education portal. They have gamified science, history, maths and geography, by turning school subjects into “game time” for Australian students and teachers.

The free games will see students and teachers try to fix a broken down spaceship with Zoom, a science based game set in outer space. They can don a toga in Ancient Rome to solve a crime with QED, a new history game and app. Or they can conduct their own census to create a living map of their community and explore Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data with ConCensus.

QED 200 x 200pQED: Cosmo’s Casebook takes kids on a journey of discovery through the history of Ancient Rome as students take on the persona of fictional lawyer, Cosmo Maximus, to solve a crime and represent defendants in court. QED stands for ‘quod erat demonstrandum’, meaning that ‘which has to be demonstrated’.  The educational game is matched to the year 7 history curriculum. It has recently launched and is available as a web game as well as an app on iOS and Android.

Zoom is a science game that helps kids learn science concepts through nine mini-games set in space. Students will be fixing the broken Polaris spaceship but have to ‘zoom’ deep into the cellular or molecular level of objects to make them work again. By repairing the Polaris ship, kids will learn the science behind touchscreens, colour vision and lasers. Launched online in January, the game is matched to the Year 9 and 10 science curriculum but can be enjoyed by anyone aged 11 years or older.

ConCensus uses the Australian 2011 ABS census to explore Australian society, heritage and families in a fun and visually appealing way that enables kids to relate statistics to their own lives and experience. It is designed primarily for use by maths and geography years 7 and 8 students and launched on the Splash website in late February 2014.

ConCensus comes with a ‘MyCensus tool that enables students and teachers to conduct their own census. The results can be viewed and compared with responses to the same questions across Australia and will grow to form a living map of Australian schools and their local communities.

Director of Innovation at the ABC, the developers of Splash, Angela Clark, said that gamification techniques will bring learning to life in a way that makes sense for today’s students.

“These games, QED, Zoom and ConCensus, show the possibilities of what digital education can bring to the classroom – exciting narratives, visual tools and relevance.  Education that is exciting for both teachers and students alike is a powerful resource in school,” she said.

All three games are available for free on the Splash digital education website.

Each game has been designed to dovetail with the national education curriculum for their respective subjects.

How do you feel about kids playing digital learning games in the classroom?

by Laura Douglas

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