By Frank Pallotta, CNN Business
Changes are coming for Wordle…again.
For starters, The New York Times this week named Tracy Bennett the new editor of Wordle, the wildly popular online puzzle game that gives players six chances to guess a five-letter word a day.
With an editor in place, The Times said the game is moving away from the pre-selected words of Josh Wardle, the creator of the puzzle. Instead, it will include words that The New York Times has chosen.
Also modification: the answer will never be a plural that ends in “s” or “es”. However, you can guess plural words to help you eliminate possible words.
Wordle is a daily five-letter puzzle that has taken over social media, but does being good at the game make you smarter than others?
“Wordle’s gameplay will remain the same, and answers will be drawn from the same basic dictionary of answer words, with some editorial tweaks to ensure the game remains focused on fun, accessible, lively, and varied vocabulary,” said said Everdeen Mason of The Times. ‘ editorial director of games, said Monday.
Mason added that “when the answer list is organized, the much larger dictionary of English words that are valid guesses will not be organized. What solvers choose to use as guess words is their personal choice.”
The Times bought Wordle for “low seven figures” earlier this year. It is part of the Times online games portfolio which includes crosswords and spelling.
Wordle, which was turned into a board game in July, has been a huge success for the news company, helping boost digital subscriptions for the paper.
“Wordle brought in tens of millions of unprecedented new users to The Times, many of whom stayed to play other games, leading to our best quarter for net subscriber additions at Games,” said the CEO Meredith Kopit Levien in the May earnings release.
How educational games have evolved over time
How educational games have evolved over time
Having fun increases the levels of dopamine, endorphins and oxygen in a person’s body: all essential ingredients for learning.
For educational games to succeed, their creators must be meticulous about striking a delicate balance between education and entertainment. The top universities have compiled a list of the evolution over time of different types of digital games for teaching students, ranging from DOS games like Oregon Trail to the latest version of the Scratch programming app for kids. .
Twenty years ago, children took computer classes in school with specific units for programming, typing, and other concepts. Today, students learn these same concepts by playing Minecraft, creating their own servers for games, creating and installing “mods” that change the gaming experience, and learning old-school HTML to create 90s flashback looks on their itch.io pages.
But with any discussion of video games comes the debate over screen time, which has long been a point of contention between parents and children. While educational games served as a compromise, the pandemic has caused most parents to concede screen time for online learning. And without a physical classroom, many educators seized the opportunity to use video games in unconventional ways to teach history, science, and coding during the height of pandemic-induced remote learning.
The world of educational video games is a rich industry with decades of history. These games tie directly into analog educational technologies such as creative worksheets, classroom role-playing projects, and even educational vinyl albums from decades past. Developers are constantly iterating to make the latest technologies more educational.
Oliver Davis // Getty Images
Oregon Trail and DOS games
Before the first Windows operating system brought graphical user interfaces to most computer users, there was the disk-based operating system, or DOS. This text-based software worked via users inserting floppy disks into computers and running them directly using typed command prompts. Text was easy to parse for early personal computers, which sparked the creation of text-based games.
The Oregon Trail was first developed in the 1970s as an all-text game: a way for students to interact with and learn about the journey white settlers made on along the historic wagon route west. In the 1980s, the game received a major facelift when it was adapted into a full game with graphics that left it with the iconic look we still remember today.
The Washington Post // Getty Images
CD-ROM for summer learning on PC
The late 1980s ushered in the era of CD-ROMs, which spread to home computer users over the next decade. These read-only disks had much more storage than floppy disks, supporting 500 megabytes or more instead of just 1.44 megabytes on a 3.5-inch floppy disk.
Users used to use up to 10 or more floppy disks to install DOS software like WordPerfect, but now a single CD-ROM was enough to run new games full of cutting-edge graphics and animations. This ushered in a golden age of educational CD-ROM games in the 1990s, with iconic brands like Math Blaster and Reader Rabbit helping students prepare for class.
San Francisco Chronicle / Hearst Journals // Getty Images
Interactive digital worlds
The first proto-social networks emerged in the 1990s with the proliferation of CD-ROM games, such as the girls’ game website Purple Moon. Purple Moon paired social educational games with early sponsored content from relevant brands.
These games, beginning with sites like gURL and expanding to massive multiplayer online games like Neopets and Club Penguin in the 2000s, provided at least partially safe spaces for children to play games and improve skills. skills like hand-eye coordination and typing. These sites sometimes did not have enough moderators and were victims of trolling, robbery and hacking: a classic problem encountered as the Internet grew.
Mark Boster // Getty Images
Portable gaming devices
Popular home game consoles gained popularity with the Nintendo and Super Nintendo family in the 1980s. When it was released in 1989, the Game Boy immediately changed the way games could be transported. A wave of ersatz children’s handheld video game devices followed.
These included single-game Tiger handhelds and educational “computers for kids” like LeapFrog, the first-ever proto tablet designed for kids to be portable and durable. Sesame Street, Jump Start and other licensed children’s properties paved the way for educational games for little kids, while games like Minecraft made their way to the hugely popular Nintendo Switch system.
Today, kids can even use smartphone apps to learn to code.
The Washington Post // Getty Images
Mavis Beacon is the most iconic typing software in history, continuously released since 1987, even as technology continues to evolve. But typing in schools dates back to the typewriter days of the 1950s and 1960s, especially for young women.
In the 1990s, companies made software specifically for schools and at special group rates. There are more “fun” typing games designed for very young children, while older children may have more professional software. There are also many regular games that use typing as a mechanic.
Andy Cross //Getty Images
Early coding languages were very specific and contained only text, with obtuse jargon that was often a necessity for the code to fit into the available space. But as computers got more powerful, so did coding. This reflects a move among computer scientists toward programming languages that use whole words, for example, or visual “blocks” of code that snap together.
The Scratch programming language, created by MIT, allows people of all ages to create “interactive stories” on almost any device using the official app. In Minecraft, people “program” using specialized blocks in sequence. And in schools, teachers can use modified environments for languages like Python and Java to teach old-school coding.
MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle // Getty Images
Virtual and augmented reality
Educators can use virtual and augmented reality technologies to help engage people of all ages in innovative ways. Established entities like museums can turn their collections into virtual galleries, allowing remote “visitors” to experience works of art, science exhibits, and more. On site, these museums can use augmented reality to transform the traditional “guided tour” into a more immersive experience.
Adding game-like elements to virtual reality or augmented reality experiences, such as object collection and achievements, can help students retain information better. These same ideas transformed everyday life into richer educational opportunities, like prison abolitionist Mariame Kaba’s walking story of black women in Chicago titled Lifting As They Climbed.
This story originally appeared on Best Universities and was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.
TOBIAS SCHWARZ // Getty Images
– Jordan Valinsky of CNN Business contributed to this report.
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