Is the Educational Games Industry Falling Into the Same Trap It Did 20 Years Ago?

Blake Montgomery, EdSurge, Feb 10, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Interesting look at the history of edutainment, a phenomenon that peaked in the 1980s and was dead by the turn of the century. There are lessons to be drawn for today's learning app market. For both, the problem begins in the marketplace - quality game-makers such as The Learning Company found  themselves competing for shelf space at places like Toys R Us and unable to make an impact against knock-offs and flip cards. "'Edutainment' became a toxic word' ... A euphemism emerged referring to the era's games that promised learning badly disguised by a thin layer of fun: chocolate-covered broccoli." After a series of badly executed mergers, the market collapsed. Today's app store is crowded with 80,000 apps labled 'educational'. " The fact remains, though, that you can crank out a hundred flashcard apps for the same price and in the same timeframe as it takes to make one media-rich game."

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