We are testing now our game in schools and we face a dilemna. We have to adapt our game to the school market, and this, without losing the intrinsic value that lies within the game: that means it is fun.
We had a big challenge until now: make a real game, make a game where players learn specific mathematics, and now we need to take into account the classroom setting and how the teachers can make best use of the game.
A typical classroom setting is 45 minutes or 2 x 45 minutes course. There are precise learning goals to reach and teachers need to measure what is learned.
These are very strong constraints.
We have now to strip the game from too difficult levels in order to be able to have shorter sessions of 45 minutes where the player can show after 30 minutes what she has learnt on paper.
It is really painful for me to modify the game in that direction. I feel it will be frustrating for players to stop playing and go back to traditional schooling. Worse, I fear that we will lose fun, and motivation from pupils, making the game neither fun nor effective.
Even if we love to say that our game is really effective, efficiency is not the end there. To try to solve problems never encountered before has a huge value in mathematics and in life.
But that type of challenges are too time demanding for many in a school context. It requires high level thinking and creativity.
Time shouldn’t be a constraint, especially in a formative process.
But here we are again. To sell our product to schools, we need to document that our product is effective, and then we have to teach for the test, even if our very first objective is to share knowledge and pleasure about maths.
Solving new challenges requires high level thinking and creativity, and the school setting is such as it heavily promotes reproduction talent. Teachers haven’t time to let students think, and students haven’t time to think of new problems.
To be able to solve new challenges requires to be used to face new situations, have good self esteem and confidence. Teaching about math should be about challenges and new situations and building self confidence in maths.
I don’t have the impression I teach that way, and if I do, many students complain.
Do I sell my soul to the devil if I remove all high level thinking and creative challenges from the game?