We came up with six key aspects to evaluate online games:
- program specifics
- type of program
- field of application
- design of program
- quality of content
- didactic aspects
We had a look at several pages with online games that our course instructor had prepared for us. Finally we decided to evaluate the game collection provided by the CBBC, a platform especially for children by the British Broadcasting Corporation, which is a highly reliable source and offers authentic language material.
In order to access the game collection a (fast) internet connection as well as a flash plug-in is required. Additionally you may need sound output. Most of the games offered can be categorized under the category educational gameplay involving explorative and multi-channel learning. The games are subsumed under various categories like action and sport, activities & puzzle, animals & nature, music & arts and switch games. Throughout the platform and the games the navigation is very intuitive and straightforward, which makes it easy to handle for children. However it should be mentioned that the game collection is primarily designed for native speakers and not for learners of English as a second language.
We chose two games from this page for evaluation concerning our key aspects:
The first games is called:
It is one of the best rated games from the collection on this page. The game is about a rat that has lost lost his map in the Horrible Histories Time Sewers. The player has to help him find it in different historical environments. In the beginning you can choose between different scenarios where you want to beginn your search. If you have finished one scenario you will receive a password for the next steps. The game consists of high quality videos with static backgroud pictures and real recorded characters speaking an authentic British English. During the game the player can choose his own path through game because there are multipe choises possible to choose between. The player can explore the different items and figures by clicking on them. If the player is at a loss during the game he can get some support through a help section. You can find this section as a HHTV Pod button on the top on the right hand side. Contols: The subtitels can be either switched on or off. The same works with the sound.
We think the game has a suitable design for children. It contains a huge explorative environment because there are various ways you can choose between to fullfill the tasks that are required. It provides historical information and vocabulary, so the player learns something about historical facts and traditions and new vocabulary. The player can also improve his listening comprehention because the characters are speaking in an authentc way
There are just a few little negative aspects we identify while testing the game. There is no navigation during the video play. The player has no option to repeat it or ask a certain question again. A second point is that we had the impression that the subtiles changed quite fast.
All in all, we think this game is really fun for children and additionally has a good learning effect. Learning with fun!