Modifying Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) Games for Use in Education

Modifying Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) Games for Use in Education

Ryan Flynn (University of Greenwich, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-495-0.ch040

Abstract

The use of computer and video games in education is not a new phenomenon. However, the use of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) games, specifically the modification (“modding”) of them to allow for use in an educational setting, is a relatively new area that is gaining more traction in educational circles. Furthermore, when considering the delivery of learning material in a Higher Education (HE) setting, most (if not all) current educational games are aimed at students below the HE level. Most current educational games use a behaviourist “drill and practice” approach to their delivery of learning and there is still a need to have educational games that mirror more complex teaching and learning theories. This chapter discusses approaches to using COTS games in education, the challenges of designing educational games that work at higher education levels, and the principles attached to using them effectively for student learning and assessment purposes.
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Background

There are a number of examples of computer and video games being used in education. However, a lot of these are concentrated on the use of educational games (so-called edutainment) - for instance, see products by VTech and the MathBlaster series of games. Whilst these games are useful and for the most part well made they do have limitations when compared to COTS solutions. There are also issues to consider when creating games for use in education that link to the theories of teaching and learning.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Modding, Mod, Modded: Analogous to “modifying”, the act of changing a game by the use of a supplied editor.

RPG: Role Playing Game.

Avatar: A representation of a player in a virtual world.

COTS: Commercial Off-The-Shelf.

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