Welcome. My name is Maja Pivec and I am here to talk About game based learning or learning from digital games.
Digital natives want to learn with computer games! - Really? Gee suggests that learning is problem solving and gaining understanding Games do this, but he also states that games are only social.
We found that contrary to the “Myth” that so-called digital natives want to be Taught using computer games, most young people don’t play education games, 57% Have never even attempted to play an educational game. They view their learning As serous and games are not. Perhaps this is a perception of our own making - Telling them to stop wasting time playing games, go and learn something!
But this has not deterred the advocates of using game for learning. Digital game have been around for over 25 years and so has the Theory of game based learning.
In the US, they want to dominate their education system with video games, Or at least some of the outspoken people that we have all heard of do. In Europe, we want to make digital games available as a resource for Teachers because games are a valuable teaching tool.
But do the general population want this? In a survey of over 1000 participants, 63% believed that nothing, apart from hand/eye co-ordination, is learnt from Playing video games. And this survey included many teachers and those Working in the educational sector.
The European committee on culture and education believe that video Games can assist in many areas of education. They publicly made this statement.
Video games do provide an environment where experiential Learning can take place. It is safe, or low risk. Commercial game, specifically those designed for recreation Create the motivation to play, almost to forming addictions. I would love my students to be addicted to coming to class and learning.
The European Parliament agrees and has rubber stamped the use of Video games for education. But is this still at a high level? Surely with this statement we should see video games available In every school across Europe. But we don’t.
In summarizing the literature, video games can promote learning In ways that do not come in any other single package like a Video game. I single game can challenge the student, provide the Feedback, set their goals, and allow them to collaborate with others On their quest. Al this can be achieved using games for learning.
But….only if they are utilised correctly. They must fit the learning outcomes, be designed to provide feedback and Allow collaboration, and encourage the learning to persistently Re-engage with the game. Not all game do this.
Many academics and publications state that there is no proof at all that GBL works. And many studies that say it does, are sadly flawed in there methods, with no control group, no alternative teaching method compared, and no established methodology utilised.
You will always find the negative reports, (sex, violence, obesity,etc), but these are more often than not based on emotion and offered no proof whatsoever. Yes, games can be violent, but all the players we surveyed are very Precise about what is in a fantasy world and what is in the real world. They are well aware that “it is only a game”
In 1999, 57% of parents were aware of the games their children were playing But only 43% of parents had rules about the play. We repeated this study in 2006, and only 35% of parents were aware With 30% having rules that the kids sometimes followed. In 2008 a similar study was done in Austria, and the same downward trend was seen. Less the 30% knew anything about the computer games And less than 20% had rules of any kind.
But none of this is new. As I said at the beginning, games have been around for 25 years and way back in 1986 Dorval and Pepin were promoting game based learning. And since then, Tetris has been used for many studies to show that learning Can be achieved.
But kids today don’t play Tetris. We surveyed over 500 students and they play role plays and FPS games/ You should also note that contrary to what they say in the US, not All young people are gamers. 23% of those surveyed don’t play games at all. In fact at a University level, we will sometimes get an intake of 75 students, with over half not being and never have been gamers.
Kids today play first person shooters, not Tetris. But the learning is still there. The First-Person Shooter “Counter Strike”, has been shown to improve cognitive functions Such as divided attention and decision processing. However, I am not advocating that we install Counter Strike in the classroom.
But First Person Shooters can be and currently are successfully utilised to teach Mathematics. The FPS game Dimexian from Tabular Digital teaches Algebra in An interesting and immersive game that has won awards at many educational conferences. The game is well designed, non-voilent (apart from blowing up the occasional alien robot) And has teacher handbooks showing where it fits within the lesson plan.Unfortunately This product is US based and tailored towards the US school system.
Neverwinter Nights is a Fantasy Role Play Game or RPG, another Popular game genre that is played a great deal. Situated in a medieval village The player in NWN uses spells to battle with the evil forces. But this commercial game uses a Scripting engine to create conversational dialogs with the player.
The University of Minnesota utilised this to create their own dialogs and modified the game To teach first year journalism students. They tool the context of a textbook and built the lessons into the game and created “ Disaster at Harpville”. This has been used at University level for five years and is very successful.
For the younger age group we have the Penguin Club. Owned by Disney, the Penguin Club has over 100 million subscribers. The product is basically a chat room in the form of a virtual world on cartoon penguins. The players can communicate with each other, complete small tasks for points, and play mini games with other penguins.
Mingoville is based on a very similar concept. However, the primary goal is to teach english language skills to children. Developed in Denmark in 2007, Mingoville now has over 1 million users, and has grown into one of the largest English learning communities online.
Buzz is a party game, played on a game console attached to the TV. Played by people of all ages Buzz is a quiz game controller by the game character, with questions of general knowledge in a fun environment
Take the same idea, put it on an iPhone and a web site, link it to the school curriculum, have a reward system of minigames, And you have a motivational study aid for students of all ages. 3MRT of Scotland built inQuizitor and aligned it with the UK schooling curriculum To be a valuable learning resource.
Developing digital Games is very expensive. The game development and publishing Industry is not interested in educational games because they are simply just not economical.
Yet they are alternatives to developing an entire game. Even the process of designing an educational game has its educational merits. We hosted a summer school for university students and young designers on the process of designing an educational computer game. All of the students enjoyed the week long very intensive course, and stated that they learnt more in the one week than they often do in a whole semester.
We able to recruit the assistance of all these companies They were happy to help and offer their services, facilities, and their time for free.
These were the people involved. We had four on site And four skyped in for Q & A. This actually worked very well With suggested question for them being discussed on a forum Prior to the class beginning.
A short post-promotion video.
This course is covered over 15 units and usually over a semester. In general, the lecture will be 45 minutes followed by a 90 minute practical lab session. The course is group work with group assessment. Grades are given for innovation, quality, and completeness of the output. A professional standard is required.
During this course, students learn many new terms used in academia. Terms such as scaffolding will be introduced as will the dynamics of game-based learning. Student become aware of how the computer game industry, a billion plus market, is structured and how it functions. Along the way they reflect on their their learning process by reading entries in the group blog. As this course is given in English, it is a great chance for you to practice yours.
Along with the powerpoint slides being made available, printed handouts were given for each practical session. Sample documents were available for download throughout the course as each topic is covered. References to web sites of interest and supplemental readings also was provided, Industry experts Dialed in via Skype from all parts of the planet to spend time speaking to the students.
The course is design to culminate in the golden pineapple awards. Sort of an “Oscars” for educational game design, the students Work towards creating an entry for this competition.
During a one week course that we usually run over a semester, it was difficult For the students to get everything completed. But they did well. These are some Of their game concepts. They complete everything from a business and marketing Plan to Target audience analysis. During the Semester class that this is based on, they do the same. Just to more of a complete and polished result.
This is an example.
One of the areas that all students have problems with, and this affects teachers even when hen choosing a game to use within the class, is gender. Is the game gender neutral or for girls or guys. I could spend an hour just talking about this, and I do for the students, But just briefly….
Males and Females are different, we all know this. But their needs and expectations from a game are also different. Guys like the know that they can win, and compete to do this. And when they are shot, they should die, and lose. Girls do want his at all, this is probably why there are not many Girls FPS gamers, there are some and they are very good, but not many.
Girls like games with adventure, sims games, activity games like Sing Star. You will rarely see a guy play Sing Star. And animal games like My little Pony And Nintendogs, are Girls Games. Nintendo and Sony recognized this and created A complete line of Pink PSPs and Dual Screen devices specifically for Girls. But Notice that both genders like Role Play Games.
Role Play Games a traditional Gender neutral. Many contain Fantasy and some even have Humor. Humor is very much gender neutral. A good rewards system and complex storyline, and you have a game that reaches twice your Target market. Another feature is to have a likeable character central to the story line. This can be a Gender neutral character or gender specific.
Faith Conners from Mirrors Edge is obviously very female and who I based my Powerpoint theme on today. This game is very popular with both guys and girls.
We all know the infamous Lara fro Tomb Raider. Again, this game appeals to Both genders. To girls, because Lara is a hero and shows that girls can Kick butt too, and to guys, probably because they think Lara is hot.
Metroid Prime is very popular amongst the males because it is a FPS type adventure Game. And perhaps many don’t realise that it is a woman inside the space suit. The handheld version of the game, more of and adventure game, is played by both genders.
But the guys have their heros as well. Master Chief Petty Officer John 117, although he is fondly referred to as just Master Chief. He is the hero of the long running series Halo. Very much a Guys game.
Duke Nukem is also very male orientated, and very macho. I don’t think you will get many girls playing this game.
Mario is Male and although he doesn’t compare to Duke, he kicks butt as well. Mario appeals to both genders and has become an icon over the years of gaming. In summary, a central female character or non macho character appeals to both Genders. Whereas a very male character is only played by guys.
But more often today, in may games the play chooses or creates their own ]character. You can be male or female, interestingly many guys play as female Characters. You can have blond hair, you can be big or small, be green. Character customization has become what players expect and it helps The players invest into the game. For a learning game, this is good.
You can also be non-human and have no gender at all. Or you can be “you”. Many players will create their avatat to Look exactly like they do. This outs them into the game world Instead of merely controlling a character in the world.
But we are all different.
We are all different and make different choices. But our Students do connect with the digital environment - not digital natives just students. We can use commercial of the shelf games and these are often very successful if we employ them in the right way, or we can use Education games. It is the digital environment that appeals to learners.
And Game Based learning is part of that digital environment. Not only do students learn within a game, the players skills and abilities are incremented as they advance through the game But also their confidence, the social skills if it is multiplayer, and self image. We call this recursive learning.
This is too in-depth to describe in one slide. But I am sure if you Are interested, you can track down our paper on recursive loops Of game based learning. But one of the important areas here is the Scaffolding that must occur within the design of the game. The game must also allow the player to enter at the correct level.
You may also have noticed the debriefing area of GBL This is very important in an educational environment. This is where much of the affective learning occurs. Game Based learning is not just motor skills or imparting knowledge. It is also the meta-game. The social structure that surrounds the game.
But Teachers cannot be expected to know how to do this successfully, as they have never been taught. GBL is not included in teaching methods. There are a few young teachers out there that are doing this successfully, But not all teachers are gamers and not all of them want to be.
65% of teachers surveyed in the UK want to use GBL but have no idea how to go about it. They do not know how to implement a game or use it within the lesson plan. And they have different ideas about how GBL works.
Interestingly, what the teachers believe can be learnt using digital games is diametrically opposing that of the players themselves most of whom were surveyed were students . Apart from computing skills, where both believe it is a given, most players believe that only social skills are obtained through playing. And that is only multiplayer or online games. They do not agree the High order thinking or knowledge based abilities are gained via GBL.
But we are not interested in turning the teachers into hard core gamers. We would like to encourage them to use this resource And to help them do so. The European Parliament believe Video Games are a valuable resources, we think Teachers should as well.
I am the Project coordinator for the Engage Learning Project. We have created a portal where you will find many interesting And worthwhile resources.
The pineapple award and the summer school that I have already spoke of Link industry with Academia. Not an easy task, but worthwhile.
There is a document repository with reports, handbooks, guidelines. There are also videos on using and how to use games for learning.
One area we are particularly please with is the game reviews. Both educational games and recreational titles have been analysed For their use within the classroom. Suggested ways of including them in your Lesson plans and suggested learning outcomes are also documented. The portal also includes the Best practice awards and scheduled Workshops on GBL, we have an online workshop coming up within the Next few weeks. Join us.
I would like to leave you with one last thought (Read Slide).
Play to Learn Game-Based Learning Seville, 2010 Professor Dr Maja Pivec
“ As skills and abilities are attained, the player advances through the game and increments their knowledge. ”
(Kearney & Pivec, 2007)
How the Learning Occurs Micro Game Cycle (Skill based Learning, Cognitive Abilities) Kearney, P. & Pivec, M. (2007). Recursive loops of game based learning Persistant Re-Engagement Zones of Proximal Development System feedback Behaviour Judgements Level 99 Level 1 Instructional Design Game Characteristics Player Abilities Debriefing Reflection-on-Action Learning Outcomes Social Environment (Affective Learning) Macro Game Cycle Reflection-in-Action (Declarative, Procedural, Strategic Knowledge) 2 3 4 System feedback Behaviour Judgements Level Completed (Abilities incremented)
Games for Learning “ If learning is defined as the acquisition of knowledge or skills through experience, practice, or study, then Digital Games can be successfully used as supplement to traditional teaching and support quality learning.” (Pivec, 2010)
Professor DI Dr. Maja Pivec www.majapivec.com [email_address] Play to Learn All characters portrayed remain the property of their respective owners