Educational software company Toolwire has recently piloted a series of 17 college-level writing games in which players take on the persona of an intern at a news station.
The games cover grammar basics, the writing process, paragraph construction, revising and editing, and research and APA citation.
Toolwire Writing Games was provided to 14 American colleges and universities and 26 of their faculty. Out of 17 available games, the faculty selected those which would be best for their large introductory courses. Scores achieved by students could be converted to grade points. After the trial, Toolwire surveyed both faculty and students who participated.
The researchers found that the writing games were likely to improve student confidence, possibly leading to a future focus on writing development. Importantly, the games focus on encouragement and constructive feedback, preventing students from getting discouraged and giving up on their writing abilities.
Many instructors found that using the games allowed them the time to provide more individual instruction to their students. In the future, Toolwire plans to save educators even more time by integrating the games with Learning Management Systems, meaning that grading based on the games could happen automatically.
Interestingly, students who performed well were more critical of the games, while those who performed more poorly are more likely to rate the games highly. This implies that the games are more helpful to those who begin these courses with a shaky understanding of writing techniques.
86% of the faculty agreed that the writing games made a valuable educational contribution to their students, and none disagreed. 79% agreed that that the games helped students feel more confident in their writing skills, with no disagreements. 64% agreed and 7% disagreed that the games increased student engagement.
Likewise, 64% agreed and 7% disagreed that the games allowed instructors to use their class time more effectively. 50% agreed and 7% disagreed that students showed improvements in other assignments because of the writing games. 50% agreed and 7% disagreed that the writing games contributed to students’ ability to meet the learning objectives of the courses. The remaining participants were unsure.
The results showed that students generally thought the game had an impact, with 70% of the students agreed that the writing games were a useful contribution to their course, while just 12% disagreed. 70% agreed and 15% disagreed that the games helped them feel more engaged in the course. Questions about whether the games increased confidence with writing showed similar numbers.
In response to feedback from the pilot study, the games have been converted from Flash to HTML5, and can be played on any device at any time. They also added the ability to fast-forward video content and streamlined the login process.
Toolwire recommends that teachers allow students to use these games at their own pace and outside of class.
The Toolwire catalog also includes interactive games on Business Communication, Student Success Skills, Critical Thinking, Psychology, Environmental Science, and a virtual medical internship. They have also developed virtual desktops to teach subjects like Cyber Security, Health IT, Coding, Database Development, Project Management, and Accounting.
For the entire report, visit the Toolwire website.