Ok, I'm to use apps in such a way that they are fun but also have some value. Oregon Trail is looking like a good simulation right now. And Math Mage is a brilliant RPG intrinsically rewarding game.
But my Don Quixotesque Quest for the AGES is this: There are no Reading Comprehension apps/games out there. My goal is to try to come up with an interactive book or game that students can play where they become part of the story and their ability to move forward in the game is based on their comprehension of the text. This is hard due to the fact that much of comprehension can be subjective. Anyway it's daunting, it's a dream, but I think it's doable. So I am here not only to glean information to use at THE PRESENTATION, but also to see if I can find ways to implement my idea.
I have started a type of game that I plan to use with a couple of 5th grade classes this year. It's just in the beginning stages and it's very basic. But I'm hoping that the theme of the game will captivate and hold their attention through the different levels. Here's a link to it: http://patriciacloud.wix.com/egypt-game
Any and all suggestions are welcomed. Just remember this is for 5th graders.
Loving your game design concept, and seriously, it doesn't just look like a game for 5th graders. One can easily scale your game idea to college level students.
I hope that you can work with a game designer (or make a game yourself) to make this idea work. Reading comprehension is definitely something difficult to measure (unless you embed characters in the game that asks this kind of question:
"What is the average velocity of a swallow???"
Ooo.... RPG style game. Imagine the possibilities.