For Educators - More From Scot Osterweil, MIT

More From Scot Osterweil, MIT's Education Arcade

Scot Osterweil and his team at MIT's Education Arcade are the folks who designed Lure of the Labyrinth. Indeed Scot's been designing learning games for quite awhile and has some very compelling ideas about building them and using them. Many of those ideas are, of course, embedded in the game play of Lure of the Labyrinth, while others have informed elements of these support materials. Here we highlight a few of Scot's "big ideas" about games and Lure of the Labyrinth in particular. After you've read them, follow the links on the Educator homepage to learn more about how you might put them into action.

"Most of your kids are used to launching themselves into a game without knowing what they're supposed to do. And most of them have resources for figuring out how to solve all kinds of game problems. If you let your kids play Lure of the Labyrinth on their own, only a small percentage of them will ever seek you out for help. And you needn't worry that you have to be ready to give them all the answers. It's possible that your kids could play through the whole game without any intervention at all on your part."

"Teachers will be most successful if they use the game as we suggest, which is to let kids have their own experience with it first. Even after kids have played the game, though, we don't expect that they'll have learned the math in it. What we do expect is that they'll have had experiences that will be meaningful when teachers later teach them the math. Playing Lure of the Labyrinth will help make kids more ready to learn in the classroom."

"When kids think of themselves as playing a game, they're much more inventive and experimental than when they think they're doing homework. One of the big goals of Lure of the Labyrinth is to encourage kids to tap into this inventiveness and experimentation."

"Teachers are vitally important in this process. If teachers draw analogies between the problems in the game and similar problems in their math studies ... kids should be able to look at a new problem and if challenged to do so, make a connection with what they've learned in the game. Without the teachers' good work, the skills and learning that kids will begin to develop in Lure of the Labyrinth may never manifest themselves outside the world of the game. Teachers will help kids make the connections between what's in Lure of the Labyrinth and what's in the classroom."