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Computer Game Facilitates Cooperation and Creativity

The MyDream computer game allows students to manipulate a 3D environment while completing quests and solving puzzles within diverse and dazzling landscapes. A game where dreams can become realities, it’s packed with learning potential.

Allison Huynh, founder and CEO of MyDream, grew up playing the best-selling PC game Myst, which was a major influence on her career as a game developer. Taking the game adventure into the creative space was her goal, and she made it happen. MyDream has even launched a Kickstarter campaign to help fund ths vision.

As part of their role-playing experience, MyDream users help generate the world and their adventures through the building function, whether it means re-routing a river or constructing a Tolkienian tower.

 

 

“The best learning benefits from MyDream are teaching cooperation and creativity,” she said.

Huynh explained that when kids are in preschool, they have open access to a variety of materials with which to express their creativity.

“As my kids got older, however, the classroom was less project-based and they had less access…to materials to be able to envision what they wanted to build. So I created a modern, virtual sandbox that would let them express themselves creatively and also work on projects with their friends in or outside a classroom environment [to] promote cooperation.”

These days, her 5-year-old son regularly plays MyDream and Minecraft. Yet Huynh said she has to “be careful” when she monitors his time with Minecraft because of its violent aspects. She described scenarios in Minecraft where killing zombies is part of everyday life.

Huynh acknowledged that we need a sense of danger and risk, even in civilized society. Still, she believes it’s possible for games to offer that risk without involving acts of violence.

“You can have that adventure and experience risk without the draw, pull and addiction of violence,” she said.

While there’s no direct creature-on-creature violence in MyDream, she feels that the game is as stimulating as, say, a kill-or-be-killed scenario.

“That’s just our hypothesis, and we hope to prove that true. We do feel that it has been proven to a certain extent with games like Myst and The Sims. Those were the top-selling games—number one and number two—and they were nonviolent in nature.” 

Although MyDream aims for the 13-and-older market, she sees that many younger players also find the game accessible. Huynh hopes it is the type of game that even adults in their 30s will want to play.

MyDream worked with 31 schools in the San Francisco Bay area during the game’s beta testing phase. At first, she was nervous that these students, who grew up in the heart of Silicon Valley, would be extremely hard to please. But the team was pleasantly surprised.

“The kids found the graphics better than Minecraft’s. They also really loved all of the freedom and the toolset that we gave them in this open sandbox environment.”

The team had been concerned that students might be overwhelmed by such a large world and toolset. Yet Huynh and her team discovered that creation and cooperation happened naturally with these young gamers.

“They were very capable of doing these amazing things in a world where they were empowered to have a lot of freedom,” she added.

K-12 teachers will have that same freedom when building lessons and activities with MyDream.

“We’re really excited about the whole K-12 education market. We see there’s so [much] potential, especially with things related to time and space,” said Huynh.

She also mentioned other subjects, including social sciences, English and math, citing examples of MyDream’s applications to innovate lessons and help bring any topic to life.

Teachers can even build in-game quizzes. Huynh described a scenario, not unlike a scene from an Indiana Jones movie, where players must answer questions before the floor gives way beneath them. She also explained how moments from The Iliad and The Odyssey could be created, with a quiz directly following student’s game adventures. 

In addition, players can learn programming through MyDream. Huynh and her team are working on a feature where players can create modules via a custom scripting language. This will help guide novice programmers through some of the fundamentals.

 

Article by Jason Cunningham, EducationWorld Social Media Editor
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