Educational Games are Now a “Hot Topic”


I recently joined game developer Say Design as a full-time consultant, and one of my responsibilities is to help them expand their reach into the educational market. I actually began my career developing educational software, first as head of development for educational software publisher Edu-Ware Services and later starting my own company, Electric Transit, which developed serious games (long before they were called “serious games”). But that was many years ago, and I am very interested in learning about developments in the educational space since I last worked there.

Last week Say Design sent me to San Francisco to attend the “SIIA Ed Tech Industry Summit, which describes itself as ” the nation’s leading education technology conference.” This year the conference’s focus on “Navigating Next”: review what’s coming next in the teaching and learning process in a post-PC world. The conference schedule identified the following as “hot topics” for this year: Game-Based Learning; Distribution and Implementation of Game-Based Learning; and Going Global, Going Mobile.

Towards the end of the conference, I attended the Education Technology Awards Luncheon, where awards were given out to educational technology innovations that were “most innovative” and “most likely to succeed.” To my surprise (although I voted for it), both awards were given out to a game — SimCEO, a multiplayer serious game that teaches kids how to run their own business.

Actually, the entire conference was a bit of a shock for me. Back in my Edu-Ware days, it was a tough sell getting our educational tutorials — let along educational games — into the school market; most of our sales were to home consumers. The problem back then was there were very few computers in schools. Few schools even had a computer lab, where teachers could take their class for an hour each week.

I credit the iPad for now getting schools to embrace educational software in general and game-based learning in particular. Schools across the nation are starting to bring the iPad and other tablets into the classroom, and they need content — both ebooks and elearning software — to integrate them into their curriculum.

I suspect I’m going to become very busy.



About David Mullich

I am a video game producer who has worked at Activision, Disney, Cyberdreams, EduWare, 3DO and the Spin Master toy company. I am currently a game design and production consultant, Lead Faculty, Game Production Program at The Los Angeles Film School, co-creator of the Boy Scouts of America Game Design Merit Badge, and answer kid’s questions about game design on the Boy’s Life website. At the 2014 Gamification World Congress in Barcelona, I was rated the 14th ranking "Gamification Guru" in social media.

Posted on May 13, 2013, in Game-Based Learning, My Career and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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