Hello, my name is Katherine Cox and this is my presentation on “The use of Games for Education and its future possibilities”. I have developed my ideas from journal two on “Analysis and Possible Effects of a Chosen Game” and from journal four on an “Investigation of Educational Affordances in Virtual Worlds”. This presentation aims to discuss the current trends on games and education in terms of culture, technology and theories from academic sources; possible futures that can develop from current trends will then be discussed and a final conclusion will be given on a future I believe could be viably possible. To start the discussion I am going to look at current trends in games and their effects…
The top selling game in 2012 was Call of Duty: Black Ops 2, selling 10.5 million copies worldwide according to Wikipedia. It is a first person shooter game in which the protagonist relives memories from the first and second cold wars, and his son must prevent the start of the third Cold War in the year 2025. The game references real world events and possible futures. Culturally, there is a lot of stigmatization in videogames and their effects, even president Obama has spoken about people playing games “that’s teaching you something other than just blowing something up” Toppo, 2012). According to a review by Byron in 2010, people don’t take videogame classification as seriously as film classification as they are ‘just games’. Byron (2010) talks about Dr Linda Popadopulous who recommended that videogame consoles should be sold with parental controls switched on, however the average age of gamers is 28 (McDougall, 2007). With the culture of games being a negative effect, the positive effects game can have is rarely shown. The storyline in the games alters depending on the player’s choice, with the storyline ending of the third cold war happening or not happening being determined by the player: this develops strategy tactics and logistics. Although the game features violence (as it is a game about war) the immersion of a virtual world of real life histories could get players interested in the history of the cold war and thus be inspiring and educational. McDougall describes this learning as connectivism, games allow us to “Experience the construction of knowledge through being in the subject matter” McDougall, 2007). What effect would games that are actually being used to educate rather than entertain possibly have?
The white house office has started studying the benefits of videogame, and has started researching games developed by academics such as Foldit, a game that allows players to create and change proteins in order to find its natural state in a puzzle style manner. Foldit is part of an emerging genre of ‘serious games’, Toppo, 2012, describes it as “using videogame mechanics to immerse players in history, science and health”The puzzles involve wiggling the protein in order to change its shape and bands can be removed and added in order to change the structure, the purpose is to find the most natural, stable state that the protein exists in. Although the terminology is simplified in order for players to play the games, for example “wiggling”, players can be educated on the structure of proteins and it allows players to be immersed in solving the problem and creating solutions. Jenkins (no date) would say this is developing problem solving skills, a positive effect of playing the game. This game has also shown examples of players becoming highly educated in protein structures:One puzzle in Foldit was on the protein structure of a monkey HIV protein, a structure which originally eluded scientists for 15 years. The unstable structure was created as a puzzle on Foldit and teams of the most highly ranked players were asked to solve it. One team solved the puzzle within 10 days, Toppo (2013) quotes Zonan Popovich, who has suggested “it has basically shown that it is possible to create experts in a particular domain purely through gameplay” What does this say in terms of traditional education, that highly valued skills and knowledge that individuals study years at university to obtain can be learned from a game? Some institutions are already using virtual worlds to teach and educate students
Second life is an online virtual world, a computer based simulated environment, created by Linden Lab. Second life is a free program (unless you purchase land, wearable items, ect) that enables people to interact with one another through the use of avatars and to build and create content within the virtual world. Derby University have created a problem based learning psychology area in second life, in which students can explore a community and interact with its residents. Buckingham (2007) says this is typical of digitally based information, it is “nonlinear and learned centred, based on discovery rather than the delivery of information.” Buckingham (2007) further adds that this kind of education is good for digital natives, someone who “craves interactivity…values graphics before words”, so virtual worlds can have a positive effect on those who learn in this way. Digital immigrants are those who do not know how to interact with emerging technology and they are used to traditional methods of learning, so if education makes the shift in virtual worlds this could negatively impact their ability to learn and be educated.Upon communicating with residents, students are given note cards with text displaying a conversation between the player and resident(s) and students have to determine if there is a problem and what it could be, for example anorexia or alcoholism. This is useful as being in such situations in the real world are both rare and potentially dangerous, for example people may become violent and abusive if you question their personal life. De Freitas (2009) would agree with my observation, stating that training worlds aim to give training that may not be possible in real life situations. This is another useful aspects of education in virtual worlds.Liarokapis and De Freita (2009) said “the main disadvantage of these platforms is that they do not support high level graphics or advanced interaction techniques”;however there is new, emerging technology available to access virtual worlds and games, which could make them more immersive and educational because it addressed the issues of graphics and interaction:
An example of innovative emerging technology is the Oculus rift: an upcoming virtual reality head mounted device. The device displays images on the screen to make the user feel the world is directly in front of them, combined with the full 360 view and real world being blocked out of sight; it creates a fully immersive experience. When the user moves their head, the device maps the movement and the game reacts by tilting the camera in the direction they are looking, this is an introduction of interactivity. Team Fortress 2 was the first game to be compatible with the Oculus rift, closely followed by games such as mine craft which are easy to develop and mod.
As the Oculus rift is more immersive and interactive, could there be future possibilities of using it for education when combining it with virtual worlds. Imagine being able to actually look around the virtual world and speaking to people that seem directly in front of you, this would have obvious advantages to the psychology students from Derby University as it is more immersive. However the disadvantages would be the level of graphics and how well second life can work in the oculus rift as it wasn’t designed with this in mind. Perhaps a new virtual worlds, designed with the oculus rift and improved graphics could make this a viable possibility, but this would take time and a lot of money
Zhai (no date) takes the idea of immersive virtually reality further, believing we could develop full VR suits which could imitate our movements so that we actually feel part of the virtual world. This has already been tried by some people by combining the Oculus rift and the omnidirectional treadmill to play Team Fortress 2. Zhai (no date) believes “If we cannot do anything productive… as understood in the real world, VR would remain a game. Using this logic; if we use it to train, educate and produce highly skilled individuals it would develop VR into more than a game. Zhai develops his ideas further believing humans will eventually be fully immersed in VR and robots can be utilised to carry out real world tasks, however I feel this view is technologically deterministic and it does not consider social aspects. Many people will object to using virtual worlds, if people are in virtual worlds constantly how will they eat or exercise, and the kind of technology need to this is not and will not be widely available.
In the future, it may be possible that a combination of serious games like Foldit and augmented reality will be used to improve its educational benefits. A study by Liarokapis and De Freitas, 2009) was carried out to find whether a combination of educational and entertainment experiences while playing serious games in AR environments can be beneficial. The study concluded that games in AR are educationally beneficial with puzzle games being the most efficient. Liarokapis and De Freitas (2009) believe traditional models of learning need re-evaluation and have provided a future model for learning based on process, principles and tools & techniques. This future has taken into account learning styles of actual students and they have experimented with different game styles, so I feel the prediction of a new learning model is probably accurate. I can see how this model could be applied to virtual worlds to improve the benefits of using them.
I believe using technology like the oculus rift in virtual worlds will be highly beneficial; it will improve immersion and interactivity within virtual worlds and make them more of a fulfilling experience. At first I can see this only being available to the select few, but in the future this technology will be used by many consumers and virtual reality will become a more popular platform.I think a virtual world such as Zhai’s were we actually use it as our reality is highly unlikely, even though a virtual world can give people endless possibilities with the right imagination surely it cannot compete with the real world and the enjoyment of existing in it. I believe ideas like these are best left to fantasy and films like the Matrix, Avatar and Inception.I feel Liarokapis and De Freitas learning model based on augmented reality learning is a realistic possibility. A combination of interactive and stimulating AR puzzles within virtual world educational areas would be highly beneficial, and I can see this being a future reality in virtual worlds.
This is the list of references used throughout my presentation.
That’s the end of my presentation, I hope you enjoyed it and thanks for listening.
Current trends: Call of Duty• „Call of Duty: Black ops 2‟ was the top sellingvideogame of 2012, selling 10.5 million copiesaccording to Wikipedia• Culturally, there is a lot of stigmatization in videogamesand their effects; people don‟t take videogameclassification as seriously as film classification asthey are „just games‟. Byron (2010)• Dr Linda Popadopulous recommended thatvideogame consoles should be sold with parentalcontrols switched on, however theaverage age of gamers is 28(McDougall, 2007).• The immersion of a virtual world ofreal life histories could get playersinterested in the history of the cold war. McDougall(2007) describes this learning as connectivism“I want you guysto be stuck on avideo gamethat‟s teachingyou somethingother than justblowingsomething up”PresidentObama
Current trends: Foldit• Monkey protein eluded scientists for 15 years, teamof highly skilled Foldit players figured out thestructure in 10 days, “basically shown it is possibleto create experts…purely through gameplay”Toppo quoting Popovich (2012).• Whitehouse office has started studying thebenefits of video games• Foldit is a “serious game – using videogamemechanics to immerse players in history,science and health” (Toppo, 2012)• Wiggling the protein and adding/removingbands allows the player to find the proteinsstable structure, “Developing problem solvingskills”(Jenkins, no date)Streptococcal Protein
Current trends: Virtual Worlds• Derby University have creates a problem based learning (PBL)Psychology area in Second Life• this kind of education is good for digital natives,someone who “craves interactivity…values graphicsbefore words”(Buckingham, 2007), so virtual worldscan have a positive effect on those who learn in thisway.• if education makes the shift in virtual worlds this couldnegatively impact traditional learners.• Second Life can simulate situations which arerare/dangerous in real life, another useful aspect ofeducation in virtual worlds.• A disadvantage is that they don‟t support high levelgraphics or advanced interaction (Liarokapis and DeFreitas, 2009)Second Life :Image oneSecond Life :Image two
Current trends: Oculus Rift• The Oculus rift is an upcoming virtual reality headmounted display device, developed by Oculus VR andavailable for purchase for $300,• The device make games more immersive as imagesare displayed to look like they are directly in front ofyou, and the real world view is blockedout• The device makes game more interactiveas the players head movements movesthe camera angle as if they were turningtheir head in the virtualworld• The first games to use theOculus Rift were TeamFortress 2 andMinecraft.TF2: OR90 year oldgrandmother triesthe Oculus Rift:Paul RivotYoutube Channel
Future possibilities: Oculus riftand education• This would have obvious advantages to the psychology students fromDerby University as it is more immersive.• However the disadvantages would be the level of graphics and howwell second life can work in the oculus rift as it wasn‟t designed withthis in mind.• Perhaps a new virtual worlds, designed with the oculus rift andimproved graphics could make this a viable possibility, but this wouldtake time and a lot of money
Future possibilities: fully immersedvirtual world and education• Zhai (no date)Believes we could develop full VR suits which could imitate ourmovements so that we actually feel part of the virtual world.• This has already been tried by some people by combining the Oculus riftand the omnidirectional treadmill to play Team Fortress 2.• If we use it to train, educate and produce highly skilled individuals it woulddevelop VR into more than a game.• Zhai develops his ideas further believinghumans will eventually be fully immersedin VR and robots can be utilised to carryout real world tasks, however I feel thisview is technologically deterministic.Oculus rift, a light gun and an Omnidirectionaltreadmill to play TF2
Future possibilities: augmentedreality and education• In the future, it may be possible that a combination of serious games likeFoldit and augmented reality will be used to improve its educationalbenefits.• A study (liarokapis and De Fritas, 2009) concluded that games in AR areeducationally beneficial with puzzlegames being the most efficient.• Liarokapis and De Freitas (2009)provided a future model for learningbased on process, principles andtools & techniques.• I can see how this model could beapplied to virtual worlds to improvethe benefits of using them.Liarokapis and De Freitas (2009) exploratory game-basedlearning model
Conclusion on future possibilities:• I believe using technology like the oculus rift invirtual worlds will be highly beneficial; it willimprove immersion and interactivity within virtualworlds and make them more of a fulfillingexperience.I think a virtual world such as Zhai‟s were weactually use it as our reality is highly unlikely. I believeideas like these are best left to fantasy and films like the Matrix,Avatar and Inception.A combination of interactive and stimulating AR puzzles (usingLiarokapis and De Freitas 2009 learning model) within virtual worldeducational areas would be highly beneficial, and I can see this being afuture reality in virtual worlds.
Buckingham (2007) „Beyond Technology: Childrens Learning in the Age of Digital Culture.‟ Cambridge: Polity Press.Byron, T. (2010) „Do we have safer children in the digital world: a Review of progress since the 2008 Byron review’.UKCCIS. Availableat:http://media.education.gov.uk/assets/files/pdf/d/do%20we%20have%20safer%20children%20in%20a%20digital%20world%202010%20byron%20review.pdf (Accessed 11 May 2013)De Freitas (2009) „Serious Virtual Worlds: A scoping study.‟ Bristol: Joint Information Systems Committee [online].Available at: http://www.jisc.ac.uk/media/documents/publications/seriousvirtualworldsv1.pdf (Accessed: 04 May 2013)Jenkins, H. (no date)‟ Reality Bytes: Eight Myths About Video Games Debunked.‟ Available at:http://www.pbs.org/kcts/videogamerevolution/impact/myths.html(Accessed: 11 May 2013).Liarokapis, F and De Freitas, S. (2009) A case study of augmented reality serious games.‟ In ‘Looking toward the future oftechnology enhanced education: ubiquitous learning and the digital native. ed. by Ebner, M. and Schiefner, M., Hershey,PA, Information Science Reference, 178-191McDougall, J and O‟Brien, W (2007) „Studying Videogames.’ Abingdon: AuteurShanklish (2013) „Omnidirectional Treadmill and the Oculus Rift: One step closer to full immersion. Welcome to the future‟.At7addak.com, available at: http://www.at7addak.com/en/Articles/226996/News/General/Omnidirectional-Treadmill-and-the-Oculus-Rift (Accessed 11 May 2013)Toppo, G. (2012) „White House office studies educational benefits of video games.‟ USAToday. Available online at:http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/washington/story/2012-01-26/edcuational-video-games-white-house/52908052/1(Accessed 11 May 2013)Zhai, P. (no date) „Can we live in a virtual world‟. Get real: A Philosophical adventure in virtual reality‟. Rowman andLitterfield. CE502 and MC502 META [online] available at: http://moodle2.newman.ac.uk/12-13/course/view.php?id=2027(Accessed 11 May 2013)References: