Play and Learn


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  • 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).
  • Thank you.
  • Play and Learn

    1. 1. Play to Learn Game-Based LearningSeville, 2010Professor Dr Maja Pivec
    2. 2. Related Studies & Literature “Digital natives”, “Millennial Children”, “Screen-agers”? Gee (2004) suggests learning is Empowering Learners Problem Solving Gaining Understanding But “gamers play to fulfill a social need and not for the challenge of the game.” Gee, J. (2004). Learning by design: Games as learning machines. Paper presented at the Game Developers Conference, San Jose, CAProfessor Dr Maja Pivec
    3. 3. Related Studies & Literature Have Never Played Games for Learning Never Played 43% Have Played 57% “Young people often perceive the use of games for education as an un-serious activity.” (Pivec, 2010)Professor Dr Maja Pivec
    4. 4. Related Studies & Literature “The desire to make learning fun and the opinion that video games are a powerful learning tool.” (Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association, 2006, p14)Professor Dr Maja Pivec
    5. 5. Related Studies & Literature “We need to revamp old pedagogy to take advantage of these new educational tools” (Federation of American Scientists, 2006, p.10).Professor Dr Maja Pivec
    6. 6. Related Studies & Literature Perceive skills from Playing Games 10% Hand/Eye Co-ordination 7% 45% None 20% Knowledge 18% Social Skills Other “Both the students and the teachers, and those employed in education, that do not look upon digital games as an effective learning resource.” (Pivec, 2010)Professor Dr Maja Pivec
    7. 7. Related Studies & Literature “Video games are beneficial in developing linguistic, creative and strategic skills and intellectual capacities” (European Committee on Culture & Education, 2009, p.11).Professor Dr Maja Pivec
    8. 8. Related Studies & Literature Clark (2004) suggests that games provide Low risk learning environment Cognitive upskilling Motivation to re-engage Clark C. (2004). The principles of game based learning. Paper presented at the NETC/LSC Conference, Crystal City, VAProfessor Dr Maja Pivec
    9. 9. Related Studies & Literature “Video games can stimulate learning of facts and skills such as strategic thinking, creativity, cooperation and innovative thinking, which are important skills in the information society” (European Parliament, 2009, p.4).Professor Dr Maja Pivec
    10. 10. Related Studies & Literature Kasvi (2000) states that games promote learning with Motivation and Challenge Feedback and Interactivity Goals and Objectives Communication and Collaboration Kasvi, J. (2000). Not just fun and games - Internet games as a training medium. Cosiga - Learning With Computerised Simulation Games.(pp. 23-34): HUT EspooProfessor Dr Maja Pivec
    11. 11. Related Studies & Literature But only if the games are designed appropriately utilized correctly within the curriculum promote re-cursive learning (Pivec, 2010)Professor Dr Maja Pivec
    12. 12. Related Studies & Literature “Some debate that there is no substancial proof that players learn from digital games.” (Subrahmanyam et al., 2000)Professor Dr Maja Pivec
    13. 13. Related Studies & Literature “Sex and violence in videogames is a social issue that confronts us all, yet as society we are inconsistent.” (Kearney & Pivec, 2007)Professor Dr Maja Pivec
    14. 14. Related Studies & Literature 100 Parent’s awareness of what games their children are playing 80 60 40 Awarness of the Games 20 Have rules about Play 0 1999 2006 2008Professor Dr Maja Pivec
    15. 15. Related Studies & Literature Dorval & Pepin (1986) suggested that games such as “Tetris” promote spatial abilities needed for Maths and Science. Dorval, M., & Pepin, M. (1986). Effect of playing a video game on a measure of spatial visualization. Perceptual Motor Skills, 62, 159-162.Professor Dr Maja Pivec
    16. 16. Game Genres for Learning Digital game genres played by Students 23% Role Play Games 22% First Person Shooters Adventure Games 20% 20% Puzzle Games 5% 10% Other Genres Do not play games Other Genres include Driving, Fighting, Strategy, Sports, SimulationsProfessor Dr Maja Pivec
    17. 17. Game Genres for Learning Counter Strike (FPS) • Visual Searching • Divided Attention • Decision Processing • Fine Motor SkillsProfessor Dr Maja Pivec
    18. 18. Game Genres for Learning Dimexian (FPS) • Scatter Plots • Linear Analysis • Co-ordinate Systems • Linear Equations • Basic AlgebraProfessor Dr Maja Pivec
    19. 19. Game Genres for Learning Neverwinter Nights (RPG) • Literacy • Communication • CollaborationProfessor Dr Maja Pivec
    20. 20. Game Genres for Learning Disaster at Harperville (RPG) • First Year Journalism • Searching for Facts • Monitoring Situations • Interviewing TechniquesProfessor Dr Maja Pivec
    21. 21. Game Genres for Learning Penguin Club (Chat Room) • Socialization • Game skills • Basic skillsProfessor Dr Maja Pivec
    22. 22. Game Genres for Learning Mingoville (Online) • English Language • Literacy • Explorative Learning • Social CollaborationProfessor Dr Maja Pivec
    23. 23. Game Genres for Learning Buzz (Party Game) • Factual Knowledge • Memory Retention • RepetitionProfessor Dr Maja Pivec
    24. 24. Game Genres for Learning InQuizitor (iPhone) • Quiz Game • Mini Games • Curriculum Linked • Study AidProfessor Dr Maja Pivec
    25. 25. Game Genres for Learning “Most high-end computer and console games will cost anywhere between US$10 to $25 million and most never recover their development costs.” (Federation of American Scientists, 2006)Professor Dr Maja Pivec
    26. 26. Game Design for Learning “The Game Design Summer School for students brings insights into Educational Game Design and the Game Development Industry” (, 2010)Professor Dr Maja Pivec
    27. 27. Game Design for LearningProfessor Dr Maja Pivec
    28. 28. Game Design for LearningProfessor Dr Maja Pivec
    29. 29. Game Design for Learning Dr Maja Pivec
    30. 30. Game Design for Learning 5 Day course - 3 ECTS 3 x 30 minute lectures per day 3 x 90 minute practical per day Group work 3 students in each group. Educational video game design Concept design, design documents, development plan. Group assessment:  Innovation, quality, completeness.Professor Dr Maja Pivec
    31. 31. Game Design for Learning Learning outcomes of the course…. Educational game design Pedagogical terminology Professional proposal requirements Digital Game Industry awareness Self-reflection of learning process Improvement of written and conversational EnglishProfessor Dr Maja Pivec
    32. 32. Game Design for Learning Lectures covering all required aspects Handouts for exercises Sample documents provided Website references and supplemental readings Question & Answer sessions with Industry ExpertsProfessor Dr Maja Pivec
    33. 33. Game Design for Learning The Golden Pineapple Game Design AwardsProfessor Dr Maja Pivec
    34. 34. Game Design for Learning Submission Requirements • Concept Design Document • Sample Graphics • Business Plan • Target Audience AnalysisProfessor Dr Maja Pivec
    35. 35. Game Design for Learning Dr Maja Pivec
    36. 36. Gender in Computer Games Target Audience Analysis Guy Gamers versus Girl Gamers Gender Neutral Game DesignProfessor Dr Maja Pivec
    37. 37. Gender in Computer Games Guys like to…. Girls like to…. “Win” within the game Adventure within the game be punished for failure be forgiven for failure have competition have low frustrationProfessor Dr Maja Pivec
    38. 38. Gender in Computer Games Guys like …. Girls like …. First Person Shooters Sims Games Real Time Strategy Adventure Games Racing Games Activity Games Strategy Games Animal Games Role Play Games Role Play GamesProfessor Dr Maja Pivec
    39. 39. Gender in Computer Games Gender Neutral Design Role Play Games Fantasy & Humor Rewards not Punishment Complex Activities and Storyline Likeable central CharacterProfessor Dr Maja Pivec
    40. 40. Gender in Computer Games Faith Conners “Mirrors Edge” (EA Digital)Professor Dr Maja Pivec
    41. 41. Gender in Computer Games Lara Croft “Tomb Raider” (Crystal Dynamics)Professor Dr Maja Pivec
    42. 42. Gender in Computer Games Samus Aran “Metroid Prime” (Retro Studios)Professor Dr Maja Pivec
    43. 43. Gender in Computer Games Master Chief “Halo” (Bungie)Professor Dr Maja Pivec
    44. 44. Gender in Computer Games Duke “Duke Nukem” (3D Realms).Professor Dr Maja Pivec
    45. 45. Gender in Computer Games Mario “Mario Series” (Nintendo)Professor Dr Maja Pivec
    46. 46. Gender in Computer Games Star Wars Galaxies (Sony Online) World of Warcraft (Blizzard Entertainment)Professor Dr Maja Pivec
    47. 47. Gender in Computer Games Spore (Maxis) Aion (Aion Development)Professor Dr Maja Pivec
    48. 48. Gender in Computer Games Coca-Cola (Superbowl Advertisement)Professor Dr Maja Pivec
    49. 49. Gender in Computer Games “Nearly 80% of the students emotionally connected with the virtual characters.” (Dias, et al., 2006)Professor Dr Maja Pivec
    50. 50. How the Learning Occurs “As skills and abilities are attained, the player advances through the game and increments their knowledge.” (Kearney & Pivec, 2007)Professor Dr Maja Pivec
    51. 51. How the Learning Occurs Macro Game Cycle Reflection-in-Action (Declarative, Procedural, Strategic Knowledge) System feedback Judgements Behaviour Player Abilities Level 99 Debriefing Reflection-on-Action Instructional 4 Learning Design 3 Outcomes 2 Level Completed Game Level 1 Social Environment (Abilities incremented) Characteristics (Affective Learning) Judgements System Micro Game Cycle feedback (Skill based Learning, Cognitive Abilities) Behaviour Kearney, P. & Pivec, M. (2007). Recursive loops of game based learningProfessor Dr Maja Pivec
    52. 52. How the Learning Occurs “Affective learning includes feelings of confidence, self-efficacy, attitudes, preferences, and dispositions” (Garris et al., 2002, p.457).Professor Dr Maja Pivec
    53. 53. Level Up for Teachers “Teachers cannot be expected to know how to integrate the games into their lessons to achieve the desired learning outcomes.” (Pivec, Koubek, & Dondi, 2004) & (Pivec, 2008)Professor Dr Maja Pivec
    54. 54. Level Up for Teachers “65% of teachers were interested in the use of games in the classroom.” (Project Tomorrow, 2008) But need support with: Choosing appropriate resource/games How to implement games within the lesson How to assess the learning outcomesProfessor Dr Maja Pivec
    55. 55. Level Up for Teachers Perceived Learning Outcomes from Playing Games Teachers Players 100% 75% 50% 25% 0% ICT Skills Motoric Social Skills Knowledge (Pivec, 2010) H/O ThinkingProfessor Dr Maja Pivec
    56. 56. Level Up for Teachers “The objective is not to turn the teachers into computer game players, but to encourage them to critique them for use within their lessons.” (Becker, 2007)Professor Dr Maja Pivec
    57. 57. Level Up for Teachers Resources, Methodologies, Tools, Samples, Ratings, Ideas, Experts.Professor Dr Maja Pivec
    58. 58. Level Up for Teachers Linking Young Designers, Industry, and Teachers.Professor Dr Maja Pivec
    59. 59. Level Up for Teachers Downloadable Videos, Games, and Resources.Professor Dr Maja Pivec
    60. 60. Level Up for Teachers Game Reviews and Best Practice Examples.Professor Dr Maja Pivec
    61. 61. 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 Dr Maja Pivec
    62. 62. Play to Learn Professor DI Dr. Maja Pivec All characters portrayed remain the property of their respective owners