Full version of Algeboats is out!

In case you’ve been waiting, the full version of Algeboats is out in the iPad store for $4.99.

You can see some of the gameplay for the Lite version of Algeboats on Youtube.

The game is designed to teach students about what algebraic variables mean and to begin to understand equations. It’s clever because the students don’t see equations to solve, but in the process of finding crate values that “make” the flags, they begin working backwards and thus solving the equations created by boat=flag. I’ve seen learners as young as 5 be absolutely delighted by the game (and the fact that they are doing algebra). Parents, of course, will be delighted as well.

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NPS and Gamification

Last weekend I visited Bryce Canyon National Park and Cedar Breaks National Monument for a 3-day digital detox. [Yes, believe it or not, I can put away the Interwebs for 3 whole days.]

While hiking in Bryce Canyon, I stumbled across a bit of gamification of the hiking trails called Hike the Hoodoos Challenge.

With all the hype about digital badges and gamification lately, I can’t help but wonder why the NPS doesn’t take this a step further and develop a digital mobile game where you can earn activity badges in all the National Parks and Monuments by hiking the trails. It seems that you could just as easily use QR codes on the signage to “check in” to various trailheads via a mobile app. Better yet, let state parks get in on the action.

Maybe you’d rather just see the pictures though … here’s Bryce Canyon and our hike to the Queen’s Garden.

And here’s Cedar Breaks National Monument (we took the 2-mile hike to Spectra Point/Ramparts Overlook Trail)

Of course, if the NPS did create a mobile app game for hiking (Hiking the National Parks with Zombies?), then I suppose I would have to carry my phone with me, huh? Here I am, sans Internet-enabled digital devices.

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Board Games that Change Attitudes

Two weeks ago I attended the APF ProDev Gathering in Orlando on the future of Games and Simulations. A great time was had by all, and we had an enlightening time thinking about what games and simulations would be used for 10-15 years from now. Several games I learned about are worthy of mention here:

Buffalo (by tiltfactor) is a game that has been shown to change your attitude about stereotyping careers based on gender and ethnicity. You wouldn’t really know that from playing it, but players walk away being more aware of how much they know (or didn’t know) about women and minorities holding non-traditional positions (CEOs, programmers, scientists, etc.).

Cards Against Humanity is really an “Apples to Apples” style game that should only be played by adults (and possibly only by adults that are consuming alcoholic beverages). This is a game that is interesting in many ways – one is that the game was originally a kickstarter, and the designers have made a small fortune on the game.  But secondarily, I’m pretty sure that playing this game lowers your moral standards (so yes, it changes your attitudes). I don’t have any research to back that up, but trust me on this one. Don’t play this game with your parents.

Pox: Save the People (and, of course, ZombiePox) is about stopping the spread of a deadly disease. You can choose to vaccinate against the disease or cure the disease. Curing takes more resources than vaccination.

One more game that I think is worthy of mention (though it is one I’ve known about for a while) is Train, by Brenda Brathwaite. This is a game that explores the “devastation and tragedy of the Holocaust.” Read more in the WSJ article: Can you Make a Board Game about the Holocaust?

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Level Up: Video Games for Learning Algebra

Last week I gave a presentation at AMATYC about video games for learning algebra. As usual, Mat Moore did a fantastic illustration for the prezi.

It was staged in five levels:

  • Level 1: Why use games?
  • Level 2: What is a game? (manipulatives, puzzles, and games)
  • Level 3: Become a Math Game Critic
  • Level 4: Play GOOD Games
  • Level 5: Good Algebra Video Games?

You can click through the Prezi below.

 

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Coming out of the Closet: I’m a Game Designer!

I don’t even really know how to begin here. For the last three years I’ve been working on a secret little project that I wasn’t allowed to talk about in public (NDA). I’ve been designing digital games for learning algebra in my (ha ha) free time. The last couple months have been an absolutely insane flurry of activity as we approached the launch date and as a result, I haven’t posted much. Finally I can tell you that I’m no longer a wannabe game designer. I’ve designed four game apps that are now out in the iPad App store! I’m out of the closet and able to talk about it!

There are three years of stories to tell here about the development process, but I’m still recovering from launch week. So if you’re dying to see, here are the apps:

  • Algeboats Lite is a taste of our resource management game for learning how to evaluate expressions. [Note: Full version is not yet available.]
  • Algeburst: Topics in Algebra is a classic match-3 game for simplifying expressions, solving simple equations and inequalities, and using exponent rules.
  • Algeburst: Topics in Arithmetic is a classic match-3 game for pre-algebra arithmetic, including signed numbers, fractions, decimals, and order of operations.
  • Algeburst Lite will give you 12 free levels to try out the game (6 levels of arithmetic, 6 levels of algebra).

To see videos and screenshots from the games, please head on over to the Facebook pages: Algeburst or Algeboats and give us a LIKE!

 

 

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