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Serious games as instructional technology

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Presentation for University of Latvia, Faculty of Education, Psychology and Art, March 2012

Presentation for University of Latvia, Faculty of Education, Psychology and Art, March 2012

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  • 1. Serious computer gamesas instructional technologyprof.dr. Jože RugeljUniversity of LjubljanaFaculty of EducationChair of Didactics of Computer Science
  • 2. Introduction§  Information society and a need for knowledge§  Explosion of info sources and accessibility§  Data ≠ info ≠ knowledge§  Need for more efficient approaches to education Ø  student centered Ø  problem based Ø  motivational Ø  active Ø  directed to higher ordered educational goals Ø  supported by ICT
  • 3. Games§  Game is a structured or semi-structured context where players have goals that they try to achieve by overcoming challenges.§  Players must respect a set of rules that exist in reference to that restricted context.§  Failure to follow those rules constitutes mistake and implies a penalty.§  Games can involve one player acting alone, two or more players acting cooperatively, and, more frequently, players or teams of players competing between themselves.
  • 4. Games and learning§  Importance of child’s play on development of emotional, social, physical and cognitive skills has been emphasized by the leading psychologist of the last century.§  Children’s play is one of the most important activities where they develop important skills for life regardless of age or level of development: Ø  quick adoption to new circumstances Ø  handling change with ease.§  When child plays, she discovers basic concepts from real world and first fundamental relationships between them are made.
  • 5. §  Jerome Bruner, educational and cognitive psychologist: “Play provides a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere in which children can learn to solve variety of problems, making him able to efficiently cope with complex problems of real world”.§  Jean Piaget, the author of the most influential theory of children’s intellectual development: “The primary functions of all organisms is adapting to an environment.” “Play is incorporation of new intellectual material into the already existing cognitive structures, without a corresponding alteration of the structures themselves”. “Play is consolidation of newly learned behaviour. Repetition of learned concepts makes them an established part mental repertoire.”
  • 6. §  Vygotsky stated: Play contain in a concentrated form all developmental tendencies - the most significant psychological achivements of the early childhood occur while children engage in play.§  "Zone of proximal development» is term for the difference between the range of tasks that a child can complete independently and those completed with the guidance and assistance.§  Play creates a broad zone of proximal development in cognitive and also socio-emotional development. Children perform above their cognitive abilities when they are engaged in play.
  • 7. Elements of games
  • 8. §  Games can provide motivation for learning, thus increasing the chance that the desired learning outcomes will be achieved.§  Motivation is needed by students to focus attention, but this is not enough. What makes computer game educational?§  They must have well defined learning goals and have to promote development of important strategies and skills to increase cognitive and intellectual abilities of learners.§  Important elements contributing to educational values of games are sensual stimuli, fantasy, challenge and curiosity (desire to know or learn).
  • 9. § A lot of educational computer games designed according to behavioristic theory of learning: tutorials, which are basically forms of programmed instruction. Ø  one correct answer, immediate response Ø  positive response (happy sound, positive character reaction that stimulate positive emotions), instance of action-reaction pair enforced. Ø  with wrong answer the connection has to be weaken and reaction is provided in a form of negative stimuli.§ Trivia games, quizzes, point and click games…all of them have drill and practice concept build in a very core of the game design and are broadly used in game based learning.
  • 10. Cognitivism§  Cognitive learning theory emphasizes learner cognitive activity and formation of appropriate mental models.§  The truth is “out there” and we are learning fundamental concepts and then using logical deduction to gain new knowledge.§  The most advanced forms of cognitive theory based games are intelligent tutoring systems: Ø  use machine learning algorithms to model student’s current knowledge, his learning style and emotional responses. Ø  ITS compare that to the model of expert knowledge in order to provide personalized materials enhancing the learning process.
  • 11. Constructivism§  Constructivism is an alternative view suggesting that learners construct their own knowledge è a number of individually constructed knowledge representation, all equally valid.§  Learning is active process of constructing rather the acquiring knowledge, built recursively on knowledge that user already has.§  In a process of construction, sensory data is combined with existing knowledge to create new viable mental models, which are in turn the basis for further construction.§  Constructivist learning emphasizes discovery and inquiry learning arguing that students should be placed in an environment (which can be modeled with computer game) where they construct their own knowledge.
  • 12. §  3 fundamental principles defining the constructivist view of learning: 1.  Each person forms their own representation of knowledge 2.  Learning occurs when the learners exploration uncovers an inconsistency between their current knowledge representation and their experience 3.  Learning occurs within a social context and interaction between learners and their peers is a necessary part of the learning process.§  Learning materials provide instruction that consists of supporting the knowledge construction rather than declaring the knowledge in behavioristic fashion.§  The role of teacher is to provide guidance and feedback when student is learning – constructing viable mental models.§  Computer game simulations replicate various real-life scenarios in computer game format. They present model of abstracted reality in which learner inhabit a certain role.
  • 13. Serious computer games§  We also need good learning materials so learners will actually gain new knowledge from materials presented in a computer game form.§  The main characteristic of educational game is that instructional content is blurred within game characteristics.§  Students play the game and have fun, forgetting about the “learning” part of the experience. (Eventhough they are constantly presented with new concepts which they have to adapt in order to be successful in game.)
  • 14. §  We should foster motivation with game design that promotes repeating the cycles within game context.§  Player is expected to elicit desirable behaviours based on emotional and cognitive reactions that result from interaction with and feedback from gameplay.
  • 15. Use of games in education§  Limited time for use of alternative teaching/learning resources in formal education§  Hints how to overcome this problem§  Each of the presented methods has some positive effects on teaching/learning
  • 16. Suggested methodologies§  Game as a motivation before the lecture§  Teacher playing game during the lecture§  Game as a group activity in the classroom§  Game as a home activity / independent learning
  • 17. Motivation before the lecture§  The importance of motivation§  The game environment can be used to focus the student’s attention on what needs to be learned§  Motivational elements Ø  Illustration of the era (time and space) Ø  Identification with the main character§  Activities: Ø  Teacher showing scenes as an illustration before the lesson Ø  Teacher showing parts of the game before the lesson§  Recommendation: the activity should be followed by gameplay
  • 18. Teacher playing game during the lecture§  Still traditional approach, but with the attractive/multimedia elements§  Illustration of the teacher’s explanation of the theme§  Motivational elements: Ø  Illustration of the era (time and space) Ø  Identification with the main character§  Activities: Ø  Teacher playing parts of a game during the lesson Ø  Teacher playing minigames during the lesson§  Recommendation: the activity should be followed by gameplay
  • 19. Game as a group activity in the classroom§  In collaboration with pupils from other locations§  Constructivistic approach – not classical lectures§  Motivational elements: Ø  Flow experience Ø  Challenge of the game that should fit the ability of the player Ø  Feeling of control of the situation Ø  Clear, appropriate and immediate feedback Ø  Peer interaction Ø  Collaboration: responsibility for the learning outcomes of the group and others§  Activities: Playing the game in groups during the lesson§  Recommendation: time consuming – plan enough time (min. 2 hours)
  • 20. Game as a home activity§  As a continuation of the first two methods§  As a independent activity, but followed by analysis and reflection in classroom§  Motivational elements: Ø  Flow experience Ø  Challenge of the game that should fit the ability of the player Ø  Feeling of control of the situation Ø  Clear, appropriate and immediate feedback§  Activities: Ø  Home activity followed by discussion/group work in classroom based on the game, making joint conclusion, detecting and correcting misunderstandings§  Recomendation: some initial background is needed
  • 21. SELEAG§  EU LLP Comenius 2 years project Ø 7 partners from 6 EU countries (PT, ES, BE, UK, EE, SI)§  Serious learning game for learning history Ø topics of common interest, important for European history§  Game development and evaluation of its use for learning
  • 22. TIME MESH – serious learning game
  • 23. TIME MESH
  • 24. Local episode from WW II in Ljubljana
  • 25. Testing with history teachers•  Motivational•  Helps imagine life in certain history period•  Can be used in a classroom or as a homework•  For introductory activity or for revision•  Various activities•  Interesting storyline
  • 26. Project SEGAN (LLP)
  • 27. SEGAN - Community of Practice about Serious Games§  It produces reports on the design, development, and evaluation of Serious Games and their use in specific contexts.§  Network supported by virtual tools and face to face events.§  SEGAN results also include: Ø  development of a repository with products and projects relatedto SeriousGames Ø  setting up of small-scale, local events on the design and development of SeriousGames Ø  setting up of a series of annual European conferences and SummerSchoolshttp://www.facebook.com/groups/segan
  • 28. Serious games projects§  Design of serious games is suitable for teacher education.§  Students at the Faculty of Education, UL, design and implement serious games as a part of their study activities.§  The profile of graduates from “CS in education”§  Different learning goals for students: Ø  analysis of all crucial elements, Ø  identification of learning goals by teachers / curriculum, Ø  definition of a didactical approach, Ø  specification technical requirements, Ø  implementation, Ø  testing and evaluation, SEGAN project 28
  • 29. §  Serious games were designed and implemented by: Ø  graduates as diploma work Ø  by groups of four undergraduate students in the 4th year of CS teachers study program§  Games selected for presentation: Ø  World of Variables Ø  Logical Operators Ø  Bitty and Routers Ø  Fiona and Computer Network Ø  Johnny’s World of Hardware SEGAN project 29
  • 30. Web portal for serious games at FE UL SEGAN project 30
  • 31. Design process§  Specification of “didactical problem”§  Analysis phase curricullum, time, resources, technology, …§  Design content, “story”, graphical, feedback,§  Implementation§  Testing and evaluation SEGAN project 31
  • 32. World of Variables§  Diploma thesis§  The goal of the game is to organize the logistics for delivery of goods to some planets in the universe.§  Learning goals: Ø  variables (types, declarations,…) Ø  assignments§  Target audience: primary school§  Semantic model, independent of syntax§  Understanding of concepts SEGAN project 32
  • 33. Logical operators•  Diploma thesis•  The goal of the game to save the trapped princess•  Learning goals: Ø  logical operators Ø  first-order predicate calculus•  Target audience: primary school•  Initial testing, determines starting point in the game•  Explanation of basic concepts, exercising and “collecting points” SEGAN project 33
  • 34. Bitty and Routers§  Student project in the Use of ICT in Education course§  The goal of the game is to send a mail massage via computer network.§  Learning goals: Ø  getting familiar with routing Ø  understanding IP addressing§  Target audience: primary school§  Player travels in IP packet and decides in each router where to go SEGAN project 34
  • 35. Fiona and Computer Network§  Student project in the Use of ICT in Education course§  The goal of the game is to help Fiona to connect to the Internet and to set up local area network§  Learning goals: Ø  to set up networking components§  Target audience: secondary school§  Understanding of concepts SEGAN project 35
  • 36. Johnny’s World of Hardware§  Diploma thesis§  The goal of the game is to help Johnny to repair computer.§  Learning goals: Ø  getting familiar with PC components§  Target audience: primary school§  Mini games for collecting points§  Points needed to buy damaged components SEGAN project 36
  • 37. Conclusions§  Game is very powerful instructional technology.§  Its use can be justified by all relevant learning theories.§  But it can only be efficient when it is properly integrated into learning / teaching§  Very challenging topic in computer science teacher education!