Here at Course Games, we're in production on STEM learning game for 8th Physical Science instruction. Our design intention for this digital game-based learning product is that it will be used in class and at home, with mobile devices (Android and iOS) and the web browser.
We have the learning activities closely tied to the curriculum standards, textbook content organization, and lesson planning found in typical 8th grade Physical Science courses across the nation. Our next design challenge is to envision a 'front-end' for the product that will promote and facilitate emerging game-based learning in the classroom.
Our initial thinking (a needs analysis is in process) is that the most effective design for the 'front end' of the product would have a contemporary functional core that is, or embeds into, a social learning enterprise.
Our primary question is “How does the use of the learning product promote and sustain social learning?”
To get a sense of what how this system will function, we're starting by drawing a functional diagram with Social Learning Enterprise at the center. From that central focus, we are depicting any/all features, tools, resources, content, media, activities, etc. in respect to how they contribute to the Social Learning Enterprise.
We're envisioning that this product might seem something like Facebook or Google+ mashed up with an Online Game Lobby - with some common Learning Management System (LMS) features. The ‘main page’ in this system would be the learner’s ‘social wall’.
Using this product, learners would work in class in self-identified small group learning communities, sharing their work with each other and collaborating in the same social manner that they commonly do outside of school. They would complete learning challenges assigned by the teacher and thereby earn achievements, access information resources – bookmarking what is most relevant, and contribute their own user-generated-content (images, movies, links) related to learning activities – working in and outside of the classroom together.
It appears that McGraw-Hill is already doing something like this: