ABSTRACT: Attention is directed towards the emergence of the computer in the field of human services. Specifically, the use of the computer as a medium for human service games is explored. Therapeutic uses and goals of various types of computerized games are discussed. Distinctions between educational and therapeutic games are drawn and characteristics of both are presented. Dimensions of the helping computer game are categorized as follows: the therapeutic objective, the features of the game experience, participant characteristics, the role of the facilitator, the setting in which the game is played, and the hardware required. Each of these dimensions and implications for game choice and play are thoroughly defined and discussed. Major learnings in relation to work with the elderly are listed.
ABSTRACT: Specific therapeutic currently used in human services are described and analyzed in this article. Games that have been created specifically for use in the human services are presented in two categories. A number of games purpose-defined for use by youth are described first. Therapeutic goals, game purpose, role of facilitator, format and settings for play are named for each of these games. Examples of purposes for such games are imparting information to young offenders, increasing impulse control in targeted adolescents, and aiding players in becoming more cooperative and enthusiastic about treatment. Secondly, three select games purpose-designed for use by adults and elderly are outlined. In conclusion, the adaptation of commercial software to fit the needs of distinct client populations is discussed and examples of this occurrence are given. Implications of future computer game development for use in the human service field are discussed.
ABSTRACT: Advantages to the use of the personal computer for simulation gaming are presented in this article. One therapeutic simulation game in particular, BUSTED, is discussed in detail. BUSTED was designed to reduce antisocial behavior in youthful offenders. Making choices and receiving the consequences of these decisions form the primary educational method for achieving this goal. This article details how BUSTED is played. Conclusions about the impact of BUSTED have not been reached. However, an extensive evaluation program has been planned to provide information regarding its effectiveness. A preliminary evaluation done in two high school classrooms yielded positive results.
ABSTRACT: The purpose of this paper is to present a proposal for development and initial assessment of a computerized version of the Talking, Feeling, and Doing Game (Creative Therapeutics, 1973). The Talking, Feeling, and Doing Game was developed by Richard A. Gardner M.D., in order to facilitate the therapeutic process for those children who are "inhibited, constrained, or resistive" (Gardner, 1986, p. 609) or as an alternative therapeutic tool for children who are not characterized as resistant and thus freely reveal information. This game provides children an opportunity to talk about themselves in a way that is less anxiety provoking than traditional methods of eliciting information about their underlying psychodynamics.
ABSTRACT: This study deals with the development and application of a computerized therapeutic simulation game for the purpose of raising the moral level of youth in distress. The effects of the game on moral development were determined by a moral development measure (MOTEC) set out by Ziv, (1976). The level of moral development of a research group (n = 13) and a control group (n = 14) were measured before and after exposure to the therapeutic game. A total of five indices of moral development were used. Two of these, Moral stage and Punishment reveal a positive effect on the participants. The study concludes with a discussion of the effects of therapeutic games on moral development and their potential use in the field.
ABSTRACT: This article discusses the development and utilization of SMACK, a computer driven game for teenagers. Working under the assumption that teenagers prefer to make their own decisions rather than be given information, the game was developed as an attempt to illustrate to teens the negative consequences associated with drug use. The game is comprised of simulations requiring teens to make decisions regarding drug use and respond to the consequences of such decisions. The impact of the program user's choices is clearly presented. The program can provide teens with a forum for experimentation in which they experience likely outcomes of their decisions. It was found that the program reinforces the attitude of teens who are not inclined towards drug use.
ABSTRACT: OPTEXI is a computer game aimed at helping clients and social workers explore life choices in a less threatening way than in real life. The program arose out of the needs of a child undergoing preparation for alternative family placement following an adoption breakdown. The aim was to explore some of the possible dilemmas and conflicts which could arise in a family situation through the medium of a computer game. The program provides a comprehensive authoring shell using which non technical staff can produce complete adventures tailored to their clients' needs. Each stage of an adventure provides a short introduction explaining either the starting problem or the results of the last choice made and offering up to three choices of action. Once an option is selected OPTEXI will move on to show the results of that choice and offer a new set of options appropriate to the situation. In a therapeutic context the worker and client together can explore the likely consequences of different solutions to a problem and work through to the best solution. Practical use of the program has suggested that this approach is less threatening. An IBM compatible version of OPTECI is currently in progress.
ABSTRACT: Computer games and simulations were used extensively in a comprehensive health promotion for adolescents. These strategies were used to attract adolescents to BARN (Body Awareness Resource Network), as well as helping to hold interest. In each of the six topic areas (AIDS, Alcohol and Other Drugs, Body Management, Human Sexuality, Smoking and Stress Management) quiz games challenged users to lest their knowledge on a topic. Simulations challenges users to apply health information in hypothetical situations. Games were a more important factor in selection of BARN for younger users than for older users. BARN game users were more likely than non-game users to be users of other computer or video games, did game users engage in more risk taking behaviors (e.g., alcohol and other drugs) than non-game users.
ABSTRACT: The article describes how an ordinary office PC loaded with a role playing game, a paint program, a program than combines a simple word processor with a collection of pictures to produce cartoon type stories, and a game of exploration suitable for pre-schoolers were used for conducting play therapy with children. All the programs described are low cost, commercially available software. Problems encountered by the author in developing this use of his computer are discussed, and directions for expansion of the PC as a play therapy tool are suggested.
ABSTRACT: Therapeutic applications of computer software in work with individuals and with groups is discussed in this article. The applications described here were used with adolescents at a psychiatric treatment center and involved using commercially available software. An adventure-fantasy game and a fantasy role-playing game are described as helpful in work with individuals. The importance and utilization of fantasy in play is expressed. A mystery computer game is presented as useful when working with groups. The author concludes that computer games have useful therapeutic value if applied by skilled professionals. It is suggested that further research can and should inform improvements to computer-assisted therapy.
ABSTRACT: Health Works is a prototype AIDS education program developed by the New York State Department of Health for school-children in grades five through eight. Health Works features state-of-the-art interactive computer videoprograms and animated graphics on five stand-alone computer stations, housed in a customized mobile unit between January 1989 and June 1992, Health Workers was visited by more than 17,000 students at 172 schools in New York State, including New York City. The Health Works program is described, and data analysis for 3,829 New York City students is presented.
ABSTRACT: An overview is given Of the "How to Get Out and Stay Out: The Story of Cathy" videodisc. This disc is an educational interactive simulation illustrating stress management and medication compliance in the community for direct use by the chronically mentally ill. Evaluation research is summarized, and details about hardware, software and availability are given. The theoretical basis for education simulations for this population and production issues are addressed.
ABSTRACT: LIFE CHOICES is a pioneering sociological software program which realistically simulates the life cycle in contemporary America. The player goes through life, making choices about school, work, family, finance, health and daily living. The result is a life scenario, consisting of a sequence of choices, realistic outcomes, choices, etc. LIFE CHOICES provides a realistic context for thinking through decisions which occur at every stage of life. This article describes LIFE CHOICES, its application within school, home and counseling settings, and the issues which were involved in its development and marketing.
ABSTRACT: Advantages of computer-based alcohol education over traditional written materials in improving alcohol related behavior are presented in this article. The program, "Ben's Grille" was created to promote public awareness of issues relating to the use and abuse of alcohol. The program is described in detail along with directions for use. One component of the program, an interactive drama, is the focus of this article. Characters from which a play can select to play are described. Methods used in obtaining feedback about the game are specified. The author concludes that both students and teachers have had positive reactions to the program.
ABSTRACT: This author distinguishes between short-term memory and working memory. The game, Memory For Goblins has been developed primarily for use in the assessment of working memory. In addition, this game can be used for the training of working memory. The game is described in this article with particular attention to its use with older populations.
ABSTRACT: The authors of this article discuss the value of computer use among older adults. It is suggested that older adults can benefit significantly from ongoing education and that computers can be a valuable tool in this process. The cognitive capacities of older adults are discussed, with particular attention paid to long- and short-term memory functioning. The use of computers for memory skills training is highlighted. A study was undertaken using the computer game "Memory of Goblins" at the Seattle Day Center for Adults. This article describes both the game and how the project was conducted. Limitations of the study are presented. Although the authors acknowledge that conclusions are difficult to draw from this particular study, there is evidence to suggest that the impact of computer use among the elderly population can be profound. Implications for future research are presented.
ABSTRACT: The benefits of computer use by the elderly are named in this article. Described here is a project instigated to determine feasibility of computer use with frail institutionalized elderly. The four games used in this project are presented, as are participant reactions to these games. Computer use was found to be not only valuable as a learning tool, but a diagnostic one as well. The author looks to practitioners in the future to investigate the possibilities of using computer games in their work with the elderly.
ABSTRACT: A poverty policy decision-making simulation and a hypertext document on violent crime are described and contrasted as training tools. Studies of the effectiveness of both are described. The Poverty Game and the Violent Crime Database both provide different types of learner sequence control. The implications of this and the usefulness of each for general exploration and education, a opposed to directed searches, is addressed.
ABSTRACT: Convict, a computer simulation of the criminal justice system, assumes an economic explanation for criminal behavior. Players choose one role to play for ten years. Decisions about working, stealing money, or both must be made. All aspects of the criminal justice system are included, from bargaining with the police to considering plea bargaining to serving time are included. Results are kept in a separate file. All program probabilities are based on recent government data.
ABSTRACT: Problem Solving in Case Management (PIC) is a software package which teaches case management skills through a simulated case presentation of an individual with severe and persistent mental illness. The program instructs students to identify and prioritize client needs, select alternatives and respond to randomly presented outcomes). An individual's own solutions can be typed in and a dictionary describing services and terms is available for reference. The user can review the client's current status and may access help with the functioning of the program at any time. A record of the student's exercise may be printed out and used in class discussion or in conference with the instructor. The program was designed and scripted using the Apple Macintosh computer with HyperCard software.
ABSTRACT: This product uses interactive videodisc technology to provide realistic situations to which students can react as they deal with the microcounseling skills in the hierarchy of skills for helping professionals. Four simulated counseling experiences were developed and recorded on videotape and videodiscs. Learning activities, implemented using HyperCard, provide opportunities for students to observe, identify, practice, and evaluate a variety of microcounseling skills. The final product consists of four simulated counseling sessions, four instructional software activities which interact with two simulated counseling sessions, and documentation consisting of an instructor manual, student worksheets, and scripts of the counseling
ABSTRACT: This article describes two interactive video programs that have been developed as educational experiences for social work students and are designed to simulate social work practice. One program simulates an interview with a client in active crisis, and the other simulates a social work agency in which the student is expected to uncover patterns of institutional racism and sexism. The design and development process and the dissemination strategies for these two programs is described.
ABSTRACT: Training Child Protective Services (CPS) workers for competency-based practice has received increasing attention in recent years. This article examines and critiques current approaches in CPS training. A new approach using computer-based training (CBT) programs to enhance competency of CPS workers is presented. Implementation issues of CBT, including costs, adequacy of computer technology, resistance to the technology and ethical considerations, are also discussed. A multi-modal approach to integrate CBT with self-instruction manuals, classroom training, video-based materials, and supervisor-assisted instruction is recommended.
ABSTRACT: This article describes the development of four interactive videodiscs on individual, group and family treatment. The results of two years of student and practitioner evaluations are provided, as well as the basic assumption of The Goal Focused Therapy Approach.
ABSTRACT: Computer games are being put to work in the human services to realize a wide variety of purposes. This article presents guidelines for selecting computer games from the public domain software that has become widely available. Suggestions are offered for building a computer game library that can be beneficial for the professionals who use this software, and their clients.
ABSTRACT: After reviewing some applications and reports of evaluation of computer-based education (CBE) in higher education, this paper provides a discussion of environmental, instructional, and managerial issues in development, implementation and maintenance of computer-based education processes and materials. A short list of guidelines for development is also provided.