Scribblenauts as classroom literacy aid

There’s an interview on Kotaku today with Scribblenauts creator Jeremiah Slaczka. The Nintendo DS title was released in September 2009 and, although controls and interface were often criticized, critics applauded the open-ended gameplay. Puzzles within the game can be solved by typing nouns on the onscreen keyboard – if the object is stored in the game’s 22,800-word database it will appear and may be used to solve the puzzle. As an example, pre-release hype centred around one player’s ability to solve a puzzle involving robot zombies by conjuring up a time machine, traveling back in time to collect a dinosaur and then riding atop the dinosaur to attack the zombies.

The Kotaku article relates Slaczka’s views about the application of the game as an educational tool:

One mother emailed the developer to tell how she bought the game for her son who was having difficulty in school learning to read and write. The woman gave the child a game along with a cheat sheet of ten words for him to try out in the game.

“He learned how to spell those words,” he said, “and now she said he’s up to two full pages of words that he can spell and understand which I thought was a really awesome story. “

While Slaczka acknowledges that the game can be used to enhance spelling and vocabulary, he’s hesitant to stress this potential:

“It has inherent educational potential, but it was never designed with an educational slant in mind,” he said. “It was a positive byproduct more than anything else. “

In appears that Slaczka is partly wary of labeling the game as an educational title because it may hurt sales, such is the stigma surrounding ‘edutainment’. However, Scribblenauts can certainly be added to the list of games (particularly Nintendo DS games) that can be used within the classroom to engage pupils in education.

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One Response

  1. […] Ds Educational GamesSeriousGamePlanSeriousGamePlanvar base_url_sociable = […]

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