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Diabetes education through gaming
August 7, 2014
Educators are constantly looking for new avenues to reach students at all levels. A powerful way to bring new concepts to students is through games and rewards. Given that games bring learning experiences through active engagement, they often provide rewards for these behaviors as if they were sporting events. The reward may come as recognizing “the best player” among piers, beating the computer, earning the highest number of points, or even winning prizes for achieving certain goals. In any case, games satisfy our needs for instant gratification and recognition.
We have already mentioned the Gluco-Share app that rewards users through regular participation and challenges among friends and family. This app promotes blood glucose monitoring which is essential for diabetics.
Other games focus more on education about their condition. One such game that helps users to understand the relationship between food types, exercise, blood glucose levels, and insulin is an online game developed by the Nobel Foundation called Walk the Diabetic Dog.
Games such as these are particularly instructive in that users quickly get a feel for how different activities or variables contribute to blood glucose levels and what it takes to achieve a relatively normal lifestyle. By transferring the diabetic condition to a dog, there is also an interesting sense of responsibility and maintenance that brings diabetes management to the user in a new and entertaining format.