The problem with many educational games is that they are designed in someone’s office without regular interaction with actual teachers and students.
I was teaching third grade at Four Winds in 1988 when they built their first computer lab. The students’ first visit to the lab was to take a math placement test. Subsequent visits placed the students at the level they tested out at on the first day.
The lessons were across the board…and the students quickly became bored. Observing their boredom I asked the lab person if it was possible to place my students on just the concepts I wanted them to work on. He said it was, so each session I had him place them on the concept I wanted them to work on, long division, multiplication, percentages, etc…the students were not as bored and made measurable progress in whatever concept I had them focus on. After a few sessions the lab person told me that was how the program ought to be used.
We have applied this experience to 7 Generation Games. Our first game, Spirit Lake, is a sampler to introduce the students and teachers to playing our games, the 3-D world, quizzes, side-quests, cultural videos and more. In the first game, we cover multiplication, division, perimeter, numberline and probability, for students in 4th grade and above. After that, our games are focused on distinct areas. We started with fractions for Fish Lake because that is what the teachers in the classrooms where we tested our first game found to be the most difficult concept for their students, so that is where we decided to go next.
Each of our next six games will be focused on a specific topic so that, just like I did, teachers can pick what their class or an individual student needs to learn and provide that individualized attention.