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Picture revealing slowly as a prize in game - need suggestions

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#1 Dworkin   Members   


Posted 04 November 2012 - 12:08 PM

I am working on an educative game for kids.
I was thinking about what kind of prize to give them to encourage spending more time/learning.
The idea I am going to try is : have a picture blurred or obstructed somehow. The more exercises the kid does - more parts of the picture are getting revealed. Also, the revealed area size might be bigger if the kid finishes the exercise faster..

So I have two questions for the creative folks here :

1. Do you think this is a good and encouraging prize ? ( kind of trying to play on their curiosity ... )
2. Can you think of a nice way/effect to reveal the parts of picture ? Things I've been thinking of are rather trivial : puzzle like parts getting revealed, the alpha/blur of the whole picture getting changed from total blurred/transparent to full-color picture, the stripes revealing ( like on those huge high-way changing signs ) ...

Thanks in advance for all help


#2 Tobl   Members   


Posted 04 November 2012 - 02:39 PM


First of all: What age is your target group? That is very important, since kids could mean 2yo as well as 12 and they're easily as different as a 10 and a 40.

Do you think this is a good and encouraging prize?
Simply put: no.
Considering my premise about age: maybe for very young children, but I wouldn't use it for primary school or older.
Why is that? I see two main problems with this approach:
1) From the child's perspective: They simply aren't interested in seeing a picture. They can get much greater stimulus from watching tv or playing other games without having to work for it.
Also, there is no connection between the task they have to complete and the prize they get. Adults have been trained to accept "I have to push buttons on this keyboard in order to eat" (and even in this case there is a connection even though it's artificial), however, kids haven't and don't feel much motivation if the connection isn't clear. Try "you can watch tv after helping with the dishes", no matter how you phrase it, a kid will always see two separate items: the nasty "doing the dishes" and the nice "watch tv".
2) From an educaters perspective: Even if the kid is motivated by just a picture: In your scenario, the child learns that they should learn because they will get a "happy-maker" in return. Actually, a person doesn't aquire such a thing simply by learning stuff. The reason we want kids to learn is that they will be able to do stuff they wouldn't be able to do without that knowledge. In order to to have a solid motivation for learning that cannot easily be broken by outside factors (such as the aforementioned greater sources of fun), a child should understand the connection of learning and being able to do stuff and have that as it's motivation.

What could be done instead? I know this may sound like a step back and maybe it is, but bear with me for a moment:
First, instead of awarding them with a inherently worthless picture, try awarding them with a point-system. Children either have already learned or are in the process of learning a common system in which a simple number can carry a value (-> money). Of course those points shouldn't come out of nowhere, so instead of giving them a fictional currency (gold-bits, fantasia-dollars) or abbreviated exp. (which is just a random assortment of letters), give them "learning points" or experience (written in full length), which are a representation of the knowledge that they are accumulating in their heads. Now they have a way of measuring how much they have learned (of course their knowledge and points differ greatly, but it's close enough if they can see that both are growing).
Now for the second step: Have them understand that their points and therefore their knowledge actually is worth something. The best solution here is, of course, to implement the application of points directly into the game. However, I don't know your game and therefore cannot tell if or how that is possible. But even if that is not possible in your game, you can still utilize the fantasy, more specifically the empathy of the children. You already have a representation of the childs knowledge, why not also have a representation of the child itself? Let them make a character in the beginning. Then, as they gather more and more points, they can buy abilities for their character. Have the child choose between different abilities and also show them such that are slightly out of reach. They don't have to be able to use them ingame, it's simply enough for them to be able to say "Hey, my character is able to identify eadible mushrooms and in two or three days he'll finally be able to speak orcish" (yes, terribly cliched fantasy-setting, but feel free to do something better ^^). Because it identifies himself with the character and choose the abilities himself, it will understand that by learning it will actually be able to become who it want's to be.
At least in my opinion, that should be a better motivation than looking at a picture.

Can you think of a nice way/effect to reveal the parts of picture ?
I'm not going to answer this right now, because it is totally out of place to begin with. If you're asking whether your general concept is good, don't ask about most specific implementations in the next sentence. If you have thought about my, and hopefully also other's, replies to the first question and still want to use images, ask again and I'll try to come up with something.

Also, make sure to watch EC's episode on gamifying education. The methods may not be directly applicable to an educative game, but try to understand the underlying reasons why stuff is being done that way and why it's assumed to work. Those reasons most certainly are applicable.


Edited by Tobl, 04 November 2012 - 02:40 PM.

Think my post was helpful? Want to thank me? Nothing easier than that: I sure am are a sucker for reputation, so just give it a little keycode 38 if you like. ^^

#3 Dworkin   Members   


Posted 04 November 2012 - 03:29 PM

Tobl, thank you very much for the very elaborate post !
It is going to take me a while to digest and think about it. And I most certainly going to watch the video.

My second question was probably indeed premature :)

As to the points system. The kids are pre-school. The app is about teaching them the ABC. The reason for coming up with the idea of revealing a picture is since I was not sure how much kids of this age can really grasp the idea of points ( in numbers ). I was watching some kids play games on smartphones. They do not really understand or care about points. They just want to advance and get something going on .... This is why I was thinking about revealing a picture.

Your idea of accumulating something into a shape ( like slowly charting a character, then slowly coloring it , then giving it more visible attributes ) is a good idea.

Anyway, I will think all your suggestions over and get back here for more advise :) Thank you very much !!!!

#4 Suspense   Members   


Posted 05 November 2012 - 11:52 AM

I was recently watching a young child play with a connect-the-dots app. When the dot connecting is done, it turns into a picture of an animal or something. The picture has interactive elements with a voice saying the nae of the object and maybe some other audio or animation associated with the thing. Maybe something like that would be a little be motivator? The boy I saw playing with it was probably 2-3 years old.

#5 kseh   Members   


Posted 05 November 2012 - 01:24 PM

I haven't designed any educational games and don't know much about kid psychology but I don't think points are exactly the way to go. From what I remember of being a kid, things like ribbons and awards were a big deal. So I would think that something like achievement badges being awarded throughout a game for completing various stages would be the way to go.

I also know that my niece and nephew (7 & 5) were enjoying a number of games on the Moshi Monsters website. Aside from the games that they played, a big thing for them was acquiring stuff for their monster character and to decorate the home space they were given. Not sure if this was a point based thing or how it worked.

#6 dtg108   Members   


Posted 09 November 2012 - 02:58 PM

Make it interactive. Kids love interactive.

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