Education Team/Content Creation Guidelines

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These guidelines are intended to help game developers, volunteers, and those creating interactive educational content for the classroom to design their content to achieve the desired educational outcomes. These guidelines are intended to be pedagogy agnostic.

  • Before you start, write down your goal for the lesson. What will the student be able to do and understand after they are done with the lesson.
  • Do not spoon feed answers:
    • When writing questions and hints do so in a way that gets the learner to understand, analyze, categorize, think and comprehend and put the information into context rather than just memory recall. Even if a test appears to be about recall, the only way learners will succeed is by thoughtful understanding of the topic. Exception: language and vocab learning.
  • Activate prior knowledge
    • Remind students of what they already know that the new knowledge builds upon, or perhaps contradicts (e.g. understanding the distance to the sun and seasons). For long term recall and ability to use knowledge it has to be stored in a useful structure. Disjonted lessons are hard to remember.
  • For multiple choice questions
    • Make sure that the answer to select varies (e.g. not always second answer)
    • Think as the learner will think and try to find where they might be most likely to make a mistake. Use this to make some attractive wrong answers to include.
    • Use at least one interactive game format in each lesson
  • Professional appearance:
    • Make sure to use good quality resolution pictures
    • Keep fonts and colors consistent
    • Align pictures / text etc.
  • Think about Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
    • How can children who are blind, deaf or have difficulty with using a mouse meet your learning goals for this lesson?
    • If this is not a reading lesson, how can a student who has significantly below grade level reading skills meet your goals for this lesson?
    • Children with cognitive disabilities (mental retardation) require more practice, more time and fewer learning objectives to learn. What are the most important learning goals for this content? How can a student with serious learning disabilities still access the curriculum, that is learn the same topics as their age peers, around this area.
  • Do not violate copyright. Use local resources / creative commons materials (e.g. wikipedia) wherever possible (Hint to find Wikipedia pictures you can google site:commons.wikipedia.org)
  • Text should not be as an image file. Where this is the case in the book it must be typed (size matters)
  • For interactive mini games
    • Make sure that in order to play the game the student should understand the concept being taught (e.g. game for living / non living items)
    • If pictures are possibly not going to be understood by the target audience add captions.
    • Games should be slightly challenging: Not impossible but not too straightforward. It is OK if the student might have to try twice etc. to complete it.
    • Games should provide structured feedback to the learner (e.g. correct/incorrect, timers, point scores, etc)
    • Where possible design games in a manner where children should experiment and learn through the game from it's feedback instead of providing all the information and examples needed in advance.
    • Where possible provide audio feedback
    • Where possible and appropriate use animation / effects
    • Do not prevent the user from advancing wherever possible - allow them to continue and come to a question they find challenging later to prevent frustration.
  • Use pictures and graphics generously wherever possible / reasonable.
  • Use rewards / positive feedback at regular intervals (Excellent ! Good Job ! Clapping, pat on the back, etc...) Can also show special pictures etc. after a quiz or game is complete.
  • When the correct answer has been chosen where possible explain why it is correct
  • Review and Assessment
    • Finish your lesson by reminding the student how what was just learned fits into the context of prior knowledge and future lessons.
    • Assessment: How can a teacher with a class of 50 students know who has achieved the lesson's goals and who has not yet learned the material? How will the student know for themselves?
  • Review your lesson with your goals in mind. Did the student actually practice what you want them to be able to do? If you did the activities in the lesson what would you know afterwards?