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Gaming for Change:
Learning about Global Issues through Serious
Games

Ching-Fu Lan
Teachers College, Columbia University
My Cotton Picking Life
Cotton-Picking in Uzbekistan
• “The government of Uzbekistan closes down schools across
the country and children, teachers...
Experiences and Learning
• Theories of Learning
• Learning through abstract symbols (Minds as calculating
machines)
• Lear...
Situated Learning Matrix
• Identity – Way of Being in the World
• Shaped by goals, norms and/or values of one’s surroundin...
Gaming and the Future of Learning
• Games integrate knowing and doing
• Games bring together ways of:
•
•
•
•
•

Knowing (...
New Media Literacy: Play
• Play
• From having fun to seriousness and engagement
• The player is motivated and willing to g...
Games and Procedural Rhetoric
• Verbal Rhetoric = Using oratory persuasively
• Visual Rhetoric = Using images persuasively...
Gaming for Educating
• Separatist Approach
• Integrative Approach
• The Transfer of Learning Approach
• Narrative Structur...
Civilization III
• “Players must interpret and explain sequences of events in a
way that makes sense of NPC movements and ...
Civic Potential of Video Games
• Questions about video games and civic engagement:
• Do teens that frequently play video g...
Effective Civic Activities
•
•
•
•

Simulate civic and political activities
Voluntarily help others
Help guide or direct a...
Civic Gaming Activities
• Helping or guiding other players
• Playing games where one learns about a problem in society
• P...
Serious Games
• Serious video games, according to game producer and founder
of Games for Change (G4C) Barry Joseph (2010),...
Half the Sky Movement
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2013 NCSS Gaming Presentation

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  • Use school field trips as examples to explain these concepts
  • 70% go online to get information about politics or current events compared to 55% of those who have infrequent civic gaming experiences • 70% have raised money for charity in the last 12 months, compared to 51% of those who have infrequent civic gaming experiences, • 69% are committed to civic participation compared to 57% of those who have in- frequent civic gaming experiences • 61% say they are interested in politics compared to 41% of those who have in- frequent civic gaming experiences • 60% stay informed about current events compared to 49% of those who have in- frequent
  • Transcript of "2013 NCSS Gaming Presentation"

    1. 1. Gaming for Change: Learning about Global Issues through Serious Games Ching-Fu Lan Teachers College, Columbia University
    2. 2. My Cotton Picking Life
    3. 3. Cotton-Picking in Uzbekistan • “The government of Uzbekistan closes down schools across the country and children, teachers and other workers are forced to work on the cotton fields with little or no pay. Each child is given a daily quota and can collect up to 50kg of cotton a day. Children who fail to pick enough cotton or those who pick low-quality cotton are punished with beatings, detention or told that their grades will suffer. Children who run away from the cotton fields, or who refuse to work, are threatened with being expelled from school.” • (from Anti-Slavery Website)
    4. 4. Experiences and Learning • Theories of Learning • Learning through abstract symbols (Minds as calculating machines) • Learning through experiences • Experiences for Effective Learning (Gee, 2007) • • • • • Experience is structured by specific goals Experience is interpreted Getting immediate feedback during those experiences Ample opportunities to apply previous experiences Learn from the interpreted experiences and explanations of other people
    5. 5. Situated Learning Matrix • Identity – Way of Being in the World • Shaped by goals, norms and/or values of one’s surrounding communities • Content Knowledge • Certain set of skills, facts, principles and procedures • Tools and Technologies • Context • Game as a goal-driven problem space that is one of a set of similar but varied problems (Gee 2007)
    6. 6. Gaming and the Future of Learning • Games integrate knowing and doing • Games bring together ways of: • • • • • Knowing (situated understanding) Doing (effective social practice) Being (powerful identities) Caring (shared values that make someone an expert) Thinking (of important communities of practice; or epistemic frame) (Shaffer et. al 2005)
    7. 7. New Media Literacy: Play • Play • From having fun to seriousness and engagement • The player is motivated and willing to go through the grind because there is a goal or purpose that matters to the person • Games as a tool to motivate youth to learn other kinds of content • Games as a means of exploring and processing knowledge and of problem-solving (Jenkins et al. 2006)
    8. 8. Games and Procedural Rhetoric • Verbal Rhetoric = Using oratory persuasively • Visual Rhetoric = Using images persuasively • Procedural Rhetoric: Practice of using processes persuasively, the practice of authoring arguments through processes • Its arguments are made not through the construction of words or images, but through the authorship of rules of behavior, the construction of dynamic models. In computation, those rules are authored in code, through the practice of programming (Bogost 2007)
    9. 9. Gaming for Educating • Separatist Approach • Integrative Approach • The Transfer of Learning Approach • Narrative Structure • Binary Conflicts and Structure • Role Playing (Alexander, 2010)
    10. 10. Civilization III • “Players must interpret and explain sequences of events in a way that makes sense of NPC movements and actions, similar, in a sense, to how a student must explain the causes of historical conflict.” • “A general Civilization III game can be instrumental when confronting "big ideas" in a world history class. Why do empires rise and fall? What drives conflicts between competing empires? Spending a week or two playing Civilization III and documenting one's strategy will inevitably point to resource-acquisition and commercial dominance as overarching causes of historical conflicts.” • (2013 GLSS class notes)
    11. 11. Civic Potential of Video Games • Questions about video games and civic engagement: • Do teens that frequently play video games have higher or lower levels of civic engagement than those who play less frequently? • Are teens that have civic gaming experiences more committed to and engaged in civic and political activity? • How does the social context of game play relate to teen civic engagement? • How equitable is access to civic gaming experiences? (Kahne et al. 2009)
    12. 12. Effective Civic Activities • • • • Simulate civic and political activities Voluntarily help others Help guide or direct a given organization or group Learn how governmental, political, economic, and legal systems work • Take part in open discussions of ethical, social, and political issues • Participate in clubs or organizations where young people have the opportunity to practice productive group norms and to form social networks
    13. 13. Civic Gaming Activities • Helping or guiding other players • Playing games where one learns about a problem in society • Playing games that explore a social issue the player cares about • Playing a game where the player has to think about moral or ethical issues • Playing a game where the player helps make decisions about how a community, city or nation should be run. • Organizing game groups or guilds
    14. 14. Serious Games • Serious video games, according to game producer and founder of Games for Change (G4C) Barry Joseph (2010), simulate the real world, motivate players, require decision-making, and ultimately, educated them about an issue • Serious video games manifest in a variety of forms, from simulation training for combat to global warming policymaking to role-player games that involve being a journalist in a war situation (Gaudelli 2010)
    15. 15. Half the Sky Movement
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