Today, I watched about 5 hours of The Electric Company.
“What is that?”, you inquire. “Why would you do that?” you ask. “What’s wrong with this guy?” you wonder.
Well it’s this spectacularly 70’s and rather well done show put on by PBS in the 1970’s to help children learn to read. In our group-to-group meeting we were asked if we’d heard about it. We had not, seeing as the three of us were born in the late 80’s. We only knew of Sesame Street. The Electric Company was apparently the show for those that were a step past Sesame Street. It stars Morgan Freeman and Bill Cosby, among others.
So, why did I watch it? First, because it was a great way for me to see some ways that children are taught to read. Secondly, and more tangibly, to come up with ideas for this project. I have three game ideas that I think will be great additions to the mini-games we’ve already come up with.
1. Meaning Match
Present phrases or words to the player and have them match the meaning of those to another given phrase. For example, if the player is asked to identify who is asking them, “How are you?” Then they would not choose an Non-Playable Character (NPC) that is saying, “Bad,” because that’s an answer to the question. They would want to select the NPC saying something like, “What’s up?” or “How’re you doing today?”
2. Fill in the Missing Letters
A player comes upon a sign, note, or some other grouping of words. The player then has to decide which letter is missing. For example, given the phrase, “_us, _o _et _as, please. -_ary.” The player would need to recognize that filling in the blanks with ‘G’ would correctly fill in the spaces to make, “Gus, go get gas, please. -Gary.” Difficulty can be increased by making more than one letter missing or leaving out whole words.
3. Rearrange the Letters/Words
This game would involve being presented a whole word or phrase. If it’s a whole word, the letters would be scrambled and if it’s a phrase, the words would be scrambled. To solve the letters version, a picture might also be provided to direct the user or the word said aloud. In the phrase version, just one word might be in the wrong spot or the whole phrase might be messed up. For example, “You are cute very.” The player would need to move the word “very” in front of “cute.”