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Trip report: Games and Learning Conferences 2008
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Trip report: Games and Learning Conferences 2008


I presented at the 2008 Games, Learning and Society and ED-MEDIA conferences. In this presentation are broad themes related to digital game-based learning ...

I presented at the 2008 Games, Learning and Society and ED-MEDIA conferences. In this presentation are broad themes related to digital game-based learning ...

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  • 1. 14.08.08 Games and Learning Conferences 2008
      • Steve Vosloo
    Trip report
  • 2.
    • I presented at the 2008 Games, Learning and Society and ED-MEDIA conferences
    • Projects, insights, sessions notes etc. at or
    • In this presentation are broad themes related to digital game-based learning ...
  • 3.  
  • 4. Themes
    • “Ecology” of games
    • Expanding definitions of literacy to include skills developed through gaming:
      • New media literacies, visual literacy, gaming literacy
    • Kids as game creators
    • Games: mobile games, language learning games, MUVEs, ARGs
    • Challenges: assessment, design, etc etc
  • 5.
    • “ 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)
  • 6. Ecology of games
    • It's not just through the “black box” (PC, console or mobile phone) that the learning happens, it's also through everything around the actual game play:
      • Strategy, dialogue with peers, mentoring
    • Players belong to communities of practice:
      • News, FAQs, discussion forums
    • Develop community-related social practices
  • 7. Kids as game creators
    • “ Creative production as a pathway to critical reflection” (Peppler & Kafai, 2007a/b)
    • Scratch (software) and ScratchR (community)
    • Gamestar Mechanic
        • An online multiplayer role-playing game designed to teach middle school children key principles of good game design
        • A design tool to create games
        • A community of learners
    • Interactive fiction for History lessons (stand-alone) (PTO)
  • 8. Recreating Past Worlds
    • An approach to student-designed, text-based history simulations ( Link )
    • High school learners design their own historical simulation games using Inform 7.
      • “ Designing a simulation that faithfully reflects a system or process in the past requires the historian’s critical skills: the ability to analyze and contextualize evidence, distinguish between the trivial and the essential, advance a defensible account of causation, and, in doing so, construct a plausible interpretation of the past.”
    • LA: History but ... the Skills: writing, imagining, interpretation, argumentation, etc.
  • 9. Mobile games
    • Mostly augmented reality games, where a virtual game is overlaid onto physical space
    • Players as field researchers
    • Advanced (GPS): location-aware
    • Simple (SMS): location disclosure
  • 10. Language learning games
    • Open Language Learning Initiative (OLLI), funded primarily by the Hewlett Foundation
    • EFL: English to Mandarin-speakers
    • ESL: English to Spanish-speakers
    • 2 games:
      • Episodic (comic and games)
      • Community (social network and games)
  • 11.
    • “ Games can immerse kids in learning experiences that are rich, engaging and improve their disposition to constructivist learning.”
    • Melissa Gresalfi (2008)
  • 12. MUVEs
    • 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
    • Want to pilot in SA
  • 13. 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”
    • Examples: i love bees, The Lost Ring
  • 14. The challenge of assessment
    • Difficult to assess game-based learning
    • David Shaffer : current educational assessment models only focus on knowledge and skills, but that is only half of an epistemic frame where there are four interconnected aspects: knowledge, identity, skills and value
  • 15. Design challenges
    • Beyond “chocolate covered broccoli” (Bruckman 1999)
    • There can be a contradiction between playing the game and learning
    • There can be too much interactivity with a game and not enough reflection
    • Learning happens through social interaction – how to achieve this?
  • 16. Other challenges
    • No panacea
    • Violent / stereotypical / misogynistic
    • Teachers: “Play” is not work
    • Gaming is not for everyone (is anything?)
    • “ Competing” against commercial games
    • An emergent field: Theories of learning are new
  • 17. Some opportunities
    • US researchers interested in working with us (Gee, Steinkueler, Parsons, etc)
    • Mobile games / MIM, e.g. Interactive fiction games
    • Open area in SA (in Africa)