Serious games and learning in SA

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A guest presentation given to students at the University of Cape Town introducing games and learning, serious games, and how these relate to the South African context.

A guest presentation given to students at the University of Cape Town introducing games and learning, serious games, and how these relate to the South African context.

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  • Fascinating, Steve. Thanks for this. I teach, think there's a lot to be said for gaming - working on creating a few of my own.
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  • 1. 08.08.08 Serious games and learning in SA
      • Steve Vosloo
  • 2.
    • Why games and learning?
    • Serious games
    • South Africa
    • Design thoughts
  • 3.
    • “ ... even the harshest critics agree that we learn something from playing video games. The question is: how can we use the power of video games as a constructive force in schools, homes, and at work?”
    • Shaffer, Squire, Halverson, Gee (2005)
  • 4. Play
    • Earliest forms of learning (Vygotsky)
    • Try, fail, experiment / “die and do over”
    • Experiential & immersive
    • Motivating
    • Theory of situated learning – “learning to be”
  • 5. Learning through games?
    • Highly engaging
    • Communities of practice:
      • News, FAQs, discussion forums
    • Ecology of games:
      • Strategy, dialogue, mentoring
    • Develop community social practices
  • 6.
    • “ We don’t learn from games, we learn through them.”
    • “ In SA, gaming can be used as a learning tool when it is conceived and designed as the vehicle that provides the opportunity for social dialogue in a learning activity.”
    • Alan Amory (2008)
  • 7.
    • “ Beyond their value as entertainment media, games ... are currently key entry points for many young people into productive literacies, social communities, and digitally rich identities.”
    • Katie Salen (2008)
  • 8. Learning through games?
    • Experiment with identities
    • The harder the better
    • Form of problem solving
    • Gee's 36 learning principles of good games (2004)
  • 9.
    • “ In some sense, a game is nothing but a set of problems. We're actually selling people problems for 40 bucks a pop ... And the more interesting games in my opinion are the ones that have a larger solution space. In other words, there’s not one specific way to solve a puzzle, but, in fact, there’s an infinite range of solutions ...”
    • Will Wright (Jenkins 2005)
  • 10. Serious games
    • “ Developed for a primary purpose other than pure entertainment” (Wikipedia 2007)
    • Education, training (military / commercial), health, public policy ...
    • Social change, content or language learning, raising awareness, cross-cultural sensitivity ...
  • 11.  
  • 12. Peace Maker
  • 13.  
  • 14.  
  • 15. Re-Mission
    • Participants who played Re-Mission:
      • maintained higher levels of chemotherapy in their blood
      • took their antibiotics more consistently
      • showed faster acquisition of cancer-related knowledge
  • 16.
    • “ We now know that games can induce positive changes in the way individuals manage their health. The game not only motivates positive health behavior; it also gives players a greater sense of power and control over their disease – in fact, that seems to be its key ingredient.”
    • Cole (2008)
  • 17.  
  • 18.  
  • 19.  
  • 20.  
  • 21. Mobile games
    • Mostly Augmented Reality games, e.g. Sick at South Shore Beach: A Place-Based Augmented Reality Game as a Framework for Building Academic Language in Science
    • Virtual game overlaid onto physical space -- location-aware
    • Players as field researchers
    • Advanced (GPS)
    • Simple (SMS)
  • 22. MUVEs
    • Eg: Quest Atlantis: 3D multi-user virtual environment to immerse children, ages 9-15, in educational tasks
    • Improved disposition to information and learning, specifically science topics
  • 23. ARGs
    • An alternate reality game (ARG) is an interactive narrative that uses the real world as a platform, often involving multiple media and game elements, to tell a story that may be affected by participants' ideas or actions. (Wikipedia)
    • Puppetmaster, rabbit hole
    • i love bees, the lost ring
  • 24. South Africa
    • Cellphones:
      • 72% own a cell phone
      • 60% talk on a cell phone almost daily
      • Nearly half text message almost daily
      • MXit: 6 million subscribers
    • Computers and Internet:
      • Only 17% have ever used the Internet
      • 6% use it almost daily
      • 15% have a computer in their home
      • 9% have Internet access at home
  • 25. M4Girls Project
    • Improve maths in grade 10 rural girls by Mindset
    • Mathstermind and Fashion Empire
    • Nokia 6300
  • 26. Energy saving game
    • Standalone / networked (ProBoPortable)?
    • Platform?
    • Narrative?
      • E.g. “Enemy is darkness, wastage is the evil force ...”
    • Define learning outcomes
    • Learning environment: Formal/informal?
    • Define supplementary learning materials / complimentary learning environment
      • Augmented reality, ARG, people network
  • 27. Mobile games
    • Portability - can take the computer to different sites and move around within a location
    • Social interactivity - can exchange data and collaborate with other people face to face
    • Context sensitivity - can gather data unique to the current location, environment, and time, including both real and simulated data
    • Connectivity - can connect handhelds to data collection devices, other handhelds, and to a common network that creates a true shared environment
    • Individuality - can provide unique scaffolding that is customized to the individual's path of investigation.
    • Klopfer (Jenkins 2008)
  • 28. Design challenges
    • Beyond “chocolate covered broccoli” (Bruckman 1999)
    • Problem 1: Contradiction between playing the game and learning
    • Problem 2: There can be too much interactivity with a game and not enough reflection
    • Learning happens through social interaction – how to achieve this?
  • 29. Disclaimer
    • No panacea
    • Violent / stereotypical / misogynistic
    • Teachers: Play is not work
    • Gaming is not for everyone (is anything?)
    • “ Competing” against commercial games
    • Still an emergent field
    • New theories of learning
    • Difficult to assess
  • 30. Opportunities
    • Open and new area in SA (in Africa)
    • Mobile games
    • Interactive fiction game on MXit
  • 31. Thank you
    • Steve Vosloo
    • [email_address]
    • innovatingeducation.wordpress.com
    • www.techleader.co.za/stevevosloo
    • References
    • del.icio.us/stevevosloo/research+gaming