Writer’s Group: How to Write for Educational Games

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July 10th was a fun night at our monthly CMA Writer’s Group event. Hosted at North Star Fund and led by Ashley Mannetta, the workshop covered writing for educational games. As a UX Design and Researcher for HOMER, a learn-to-read app, Mannetta has made a name for herself as a lead writer and researcher in the children’s media app space. During the discussion, she shared her thoughts on how her work at Tinybop (where she was lead Researcher) has differed from her experience at HOMER. During the discussion, Mannetta noted that Tinybop’s learn-by-doing app for the 6-8 year old demographic relies on little explanation within the tool, whereas HOMER’s 2-8 year old focus leans heavily on audio and visuals to demonstrate actions. Mannetta shared that motor and cognitive development are significant factors in how she approaches research with kids and parents.

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Mannetta’s role at HOMER has pushed her audio and visual planning, as she has started working with younger age groups. 

Surprisingly, Mannetta has found that despite living in a world heavily reliant on technology, everyday skills and habits don’t always trickle down to smaller hands. Mannetta said that she’s constantly reminded that there are many kids out there who are not digital natives.

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Mannetta discussed Tinyboy’s Me app, a project she worked on that acted as a digital diary but also promoted self-reflection and empathy.

Over the course of the evening, Mannetta discussed how her experience as a writer and researcher has  opened her eyes to one key insight when it comes to educational games:adults tend to over-explain ideas, but for kids, less is more. She stressed that game developers should focus on making it less about yourself and more about the kid.

If you’re interested on Mannetta’s thoughts on AR (augmented reality), character usage, and first steps in building your own app, log in to our CMA member portal to watch a full video of the event: https://childrensmediaassociation.org/event-video-and-livestreams