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Serious Game For Middle School Student Start Imagining Their Possible Future

Image credit: K20 Center at the University of Oklahoma

Get a Life is one of the two games developed by the K20 Center at the University of Oklahoma, that were selected as finalists in the 2019 Serious Games Showcase and Challenge in the Business/Nonprofit Category. (The other game, Functions of the Machine, was object of my prior post Serious Game Builds Covariational Reasoning Through Dynamic Visualizations and Adaptive Feedback).

Designed for 7-12 graders, the game is a playful way for students to learn about the cost of college, the education requirements of careers, how education can affect income, and how to deal with debt and other setbacks. Students are in charge as they help their character “get a life” in this 10-15 minute, narrative-driven college and career readiness game.

According to the developers, “the game is meant to plant a seed, not to answer all questions about college and career awareness.” Their ultimate goal is that middle school student start imagining their possible future.”

Students start by picking their character’s career focus from 16 clusters and decide if their character will apply to school or skip it altogether. In college, student’s must maintain their character’s grades and wellbeing through the choices they make.

Image credit: K20 Center at the University of Oklahoma

Each level of education graduates into a different career, each with its own difficulties, challenges, and opportunities that students will have to navigate to help their character live a comfortable life.

Players get to try their hand at multiple educational options and careers, even some that they have not contemplated. Once they successfully lead their character to retirement, they’ll get a look back at the life they created: the total income they made over their career, their ending level of comfort and their impact on society, and the amount of retirement funds they’ll have to live off of in the future. And when they’re done, they can start again with a new character, pick another interest (or the same one), try a different level of education, and check out another career option.

Image credit: K20 Center at the University of Oklahoma

The game encourages experimentation through multiple plays. Students receive immediate feedback on the outcome of their decisions and an overall assessment at the end of every play.

With over 96 different careers to experience, Get a Life gives students the chance to learn about the jobs they’re interested in and discover jobs they’ve never heard of before.