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Engage Project: Sharing Experience from Game Based Learning Dissemination Workshops


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Author(s): Jose Luis Soler, Gisela Vidal.
Engage Project: Sharing Experience from Game Based Learning Dissemination Workshops

With this contribution, rather than providing definitive solutions, we intend to share knowledge obtained from the cross sectoral implementation of more than 15 workshops carried out as part of ENGAGE portal activities.

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Engage Project: Sharing Experience from Game Based Learning Dissemination Workshops

  1. 1. From the field Engage Project: Sharing Experience from Game Based Learning Dissemination WorkshopsAuthors With this contribution, rather than providing definitive solutions, we intend to share knowledge obtained from the cross sectoral implementation of more than 15 work-Gisela Vidal shops carried out as part of ENGAGE portal activities. We hope our reflections on whatFlorida Universitària,Valencia, Spain contributes to the success of a workshop and our discussion of some of the that might emerge, may be helpful for those willing to use workshops as a methodology to promote Game Based Learning with teachers/trainers in a particular context.José Luis SolerFlorida Universitària,Valencia, 1. Introduction ENGAGE ( stands for European Network for Growing Activity in Game-based learning in Education. ENGAGE aims to develop awareness among a range ofTags European educational stakeholders (teachers, parents, school authorities, young designers, industry, etc.) of the importance of games as pedagogical tool. ENGAGE activities are sup-Game Based Learning,ICT, training workshops, ported by frameworks based on Web 2.0 technologies and methodologies, allowing collabo-pedagogical innovation, rative dialogue, networking, and interaction of participants and interested parties from allactive learning targeted sectors across Europe. The experiences in previous and on-going game related projects show that there is; a high potential in the application of games for learning; a strong interest amongst an increasing group of practitioners in the introduction of new game-based approaches; a lack of aware- ness amongst other stakeholders of the potentials of games for learning and for curricular contents; a lack of information about where to obtain resources and good practice relevant for curricular contents; and a lack of awareness regarding quality issues in the context of games used for learning. The ENGAGE project workshops aimed to inform teachers and trainers throughout all edu- cational sectors of the benefits of Game-based Learning and developed tools, a portal and resouces to help them in the adoption of this innovative way of teaching. Also, following this goal, 12 workshops were planed and at the end 15 different workshops were carried out by the 6 European project partners in 12 European countries and in many different contexts which aimed to introduce and discuss GBL applications in the classroom and presenting the products developed for the project that could help them with this task. Students often lack motivation in the classroom to participate and be active. On the other hand young students in particular, love videogames. The obvious solution – the use of games for teaching - has already been researched, implemented and it has proved to be effective within the appropriate conditions. But not everybody sees the benefits of introducing a vid- eogame in the classroom, and not all teachers feel comfortable with a tool that students usu- ally manage far better than they do themselves. What type of game should they use? Why? Which game? What are the options? How can they get the most out of a game for learning purposes? ing earn eLearning Papers • ISSN: 1887-1542 • www.elearningpapers.eueL ers 25 u ers.e gpap .elea rnin n.º 25 • July 2011Pap www 1
  2. 2. From the fieldFollowing the valorization and dissemination aims of the project Examples of successful case studies: real cases should ideallya workshop methodology for practitioners/teachers/tutors was come from a context similar the participant’s. If you presentcreated with the following goals: successful case studies of the use of GBL in their particular sub- jects you will have them in your pocket straight away! • Making participants aware of the potential of game-based learning in their educational contexts. Methodologies: • Exploring the obstacles involved in the implementation of • Show different approaches of how to use GBL: group/indi- GBL in their contexts. vidual work, to work with a specific subject/ a transversal • Presenting the tools and resources that can help the partici- competence pants to implement GBL. • Provide insight on how to structure the class, how to in- • Encouraging participants to think of an implementation of a troduce learning objectives and interdisciplinary learning specific game in their educational contexts. when using role play. Games:2. What contributes to the success of a • Games supported with empirical research seem to be bet- workshop? ter received than those supported by just the opinion ofBased on our experience collected in the several workshops ran experts. The game reviews available at the Engage Learn-during the project activities, we can share following advice in ing portal have been created by educational practitionersorder to organize successful GBL workshops that offer a variety and some of the games have actually been used by them inof activities and discussions. their classrooms. • It is good to show the diversity of games available, simple/Before the workshop: sophisticated, online/for console, genres, free/cheap/ex- pensive…with so many options, there is surely somethingCompile as much information as you can about the participants for them!before the workshop (level of familiarity with videogames/com- • Get information on the technical resources of your par-puters, level of English, awareness of GBL…) and their context ticipants at their context before the workshop and try to(IT resources at their educational centers, freedom for using dif- present games they could actually use.ferent methodologies at their classes…) before the workshop.Use this information to prepare customised, relevant examples, • It is good to have some online game options. They are easyadapt the space or the material, prepare exercises inspired by to acquire.their contexts, etc. Work in groups: This gives room to participants for creativity and personal initiatives, and makes them take the first step to-At the workshop: wards drafting an implementation plan.Some theoretical background on the educational potential ofvideogames at the beginning of the session is appreciated. 3. What are the challenges you might face? • If you are not from an English speaking country don’t ex-Discussion: when participants have some previous experience pect all the attendees of your workshop to be able to man-with GBL, they enjoy sharing their experience. This is very en- age with English, so check this before using videos, gamescouraging for other participants. If participants do not have pre- or any other material in this language.vious experience with GBL, the discussion, or one strand of the • Theory is well received to a certain extent. Select the maindiscussion, should be focused on fears and obstacles. information relevant for the participants in order to under-Provide the attendees with a variety of resources: games, espe- stand the benefits of GBL but remember this is a workshop,cially those examples that are backed by empirical research; re- it is supposed to be focused on a hands on experience andlated websites as the; free game sites… exchange of ideas. ing earn eLearning Papers • ISSN: 1887-1542 • eL ers 25 u ers.e gpap .elea rnin n.º 25 • July 2011 Pap www 2
  3. 3. From the field • Showing only sophisticated games can make non-players gram of the workshop and relevance of their inputs. (15 uncomfortable. Young players love them but there are oth- min) er options that can work for both teachers and students. 3. Video - Learners and/or teachers talk about using games • Don’t expect participants working in groups to lead them- in educational contexts, followed by discussion. The selves. For group work provide quidelines with some ques- aim here is to provide further arguments for the use of tions to follow. games. (15 min) • The longest is not necessarily the best. It is very hard to 4. Case study - The whole process of implementation of keep people’s attention for very long. If you are organizing a game in an educational context is presented and ex- a one day workshop make sure you keep your participants plored. The objective here is to start introducing the dif- entertained with a variety of activities from the activities ferent stages of the process, and some of the issues that list. the participants will face when they start implementing a • You won’t find an example of good practice that fits every- particular game in their context. (30 min) body, instead give them a few different, so you have more 5. First personal thoughts on game selection – The objec- chances to match their needs. If you don’t cover their sub- tive of this activity is to promote participants’ initial re- ject areas they might lose interest. flection on how they would choose a game for their class • Don’t expect the attendants to start applying GBL right and what type of game they would like to use before in- after the workshop. Even if you motivated them and gave troducing the tools. (45 min) them tools to try it, and even if you found they were enthu- SECTION 2 (1h) siastic about it, they might have some barriers to overcome The second section of the workshop aims to address the legiti- before actually make a try. Try to find out during the work- mate and logical reservations that participants may have with shop what their real obstacles are, and if possible provide regard to the implementation of game-based learning in their customized advice/support after the workshop. own contexts. These are likely to have arisen (albeit not openly perhaps) during the first section and obviously need to be ad- dressed.Appendix: The ENGAGE Workshop 1. Brainstorming of obstacles and issues that need atten-Model tion when implementing games in the classroom. GatherContent and structure of workshops in small groups and then feedback given to the main group.The workshop methodology created by ENGAGE is a complete 2. Discussion of possible solutions, with the groups againprocess from an introduction to GBL to where teachers discover giving feedback to the main group.and explore its benefits and possible obstacles, divided in 5 sec-tions as follows: 3. Presentation of solutions already applied in a variety of contexts. This section still needs to be prepared. It will beSECTION 1 (2h) necessary to anticipate the issues that are likely to arise.Coherent reasons for using game-based learning, and examples This work relates to the content of the tool.of successful cases. SECTION 3 (1’5 h) 1. Selection of short videos that are screen captures from The third section presents the main tools that the project has actual game play. 5 games from the catalogue will be se- developed to help teachers implement game-based learning in lected for this. This is by way of a brief vivid introduction their contexts. The section will involve brief presentations of the to the subject area.(15 min) tools and then the participants will be given the opportunity to 2. Presentation: Including GBL in educational contexts (al- explore them. ready researched and tested), 5 minutes video of “his- tory of videogames” such as: 1. The Tools watch?v=45I7VEjanLA, situation of workshop in the En- 2. The Game Catalogue gage Project framework, goals (what they get) and pro- ing earn eLearning Papers • ISSN: 1887-1542 • eL ers 25 u ers.e gpap .elea rnin n.º 25 • July 2011 Pap www 3
  4. 4. From the field 3. The ENGAGE portal and community (including presenta- tion of the forum they will use post-workshop) References ENGAGE portal page. Retrieved from,SECTION 4 (3 h) on 25th of May, 2011The fourth section, the last part of the workshop, provides par-ticipants with the chance to begin the process of implemen- ENGAGE Toolbox and tutorials. Retrieved from http://www.tation of an appropriate game for their learning context. This, on 25th of May, 2011process begins at the workshop and will continue in the monthsafter the workshop. The participants can work in pairs or in ENGAGE Catalogue of games for learning 2009-2010.small groups, the idea being that they work on the same game Retrieved from therefore support each other in the process. id=26, on 25th of May, 2011 1. Use of the game catalogue and tools to select a game. Brief feedback to main group at the end of this part, shar- ing difficulties encountered and progress made. (30 min) 2. Initial exploration of the game using tools for support. It will be necessary to have a series of games available for this purpose, this issue requires discussion. (1 h) 3. Preparation and planning of a timetable for each partici- pant for the process of implementation. It is very impor- tant to ensure that the objectives planned for this initial implementation are feasible, and that they integrate with the curriculum of each participant in their educational context. (30 min) 4. Presentation to main group of basic plans, brief discus- sion of possible difficulties etc. (1 h)SECTION 5 (15 min)Evaluation of the workshop – collect feedback from participantseither by a form or an activity Edition and production Name of the publication: eLearning Papers Copyrights ISSN: 1887-1542 The texts published in this journal, unless otherwise indicated, are subject Publisher: to a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-NoDerivativeWorks Edited by: P.A.U. Education, S.L. 3.0 Unported licence. They may be copied, distributed and broadcast pro- Postal address: c/Muntaner 262, 3r, 08021 Barcelona (Spain) vided that the author and the e-journal that publishes them, eLearning Phone: +34 933 670 400 Papers, are cited. Commercial use and derivative works are not permitted. Email: The full licence can be consulted on Internet: es/by-nc-nd/3.0/ ing earn eLearning Papers • ISSN: 1887-1542 • eL ers 25 u ers.e gpap .elea rnin n.º 25 • July 2011 Pap www 4