Educational opportunities offered by social mobile gaming

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Presentation at the MobileLearn2011 Symposium hosted at the College of North West London

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Educational opportunities offered by social mobile gaming

  1. 1. “ONE THING THIS TAUGHT ME IS THAT IF YOU WANT ANYTHINGGOOD IT TAKES TIME AND A LOT OF HARD WORK. I NEVER LEARNTTHAT IN SCHOOL!”The educational possibilities offered bymobile social gaming networks.Nic Crowe – Brunel University
  2. 2. Hunting Monsters…
  3. 3. Starting Position:Youth Practitioners and ‘Alternative’ provisions have longrecognised that interventions are more effective when theystart from the ‘every day’ experiences of Young Peoplerather than attempting to ‘impose’ from outside (Alanen 1988, Davies 2010, Whelan 2010)
  4. 4. Some assumptions:Contrary to contemporary anxieties:• Virtual and Material spaces are not distinct – rather they are porous and young people make and re-make the material through the virtual, and vice versa.• For most young people Digital Game Spaces are ‘ordinary’ spaces (Digital Natives as opposed to Digital Immigrants – Prensky: 2001)• Digital spaces must be understood as social contexts (in principle, like any other) where young people spend parts of their leisure lives.
  5. 5. • The ‘realism’ of computer games lies not in the accurate re-creation of the material world as an aesthetic but in it’s re-working of material and social processes – Parker 2004• As material space is increasingly denied to them, Digital Games offer young people a new arena in which to hang out – to do many of the things that were once done in material public spaces• Compared with many aspects of the School environment, Games represent a ‘safe’ arena that contrasts with the ‘dangers’ of the material in terms of an arena in which to engage in or ‘test out’ certain practices and behaviours.
  6. 6. Why Games?Whilst many forms of E-learning have a reputation for beingdull and ineffective, games have developed a reputation forbeing fun, engaging, and immersive, requiring deepthinking and complex problem solving. (Gee 2003)
  7. 7. Mobile Games…• Most young people (9-19) spend as much time playing digital games as they do doing their homework. (Livingston and Bober 2005)• 75% 9-19 regularly engage in social and/or online play (ChildWise 2009)• Games industry estimated to be worth $49 billion by end of 2011 – 9.1% annual growth. (Pricewaterhouse)• Mobile market predicted to be worth $10 billion (FutureSource)
  8. 8. Monster HunterFreedom• Role-Playing Game• Multi-player’ 400 missions,1500 weapons, 2000 armour sets• Trade and commerce options• Complex and immersive narrative which requires engagement with the diagesis and encourages the development of in- game characters.• Players rewarded for complex expressions of ‘social’ and ‘co- operative’ modes of play
  9. 9. Participants..• 12 x Year 10 boys who had been identified as disenfranchised/not attending/excluded.• Group identified by YOT as ‘likely to offend’ on account of non-attendance• „Qualitative study – considered the educational opportunities offered by the group’s ‘in-game’ and ‘out- game’ interactions.• Considered ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ skills
  10. 10. Focus:• Zhang, Perris and Yeung (2005): it is how students feel about their learning experience that effects their engagement with their studies, and that this need not be based on how they are actually performing.• Attitudes and Experience• Literacy• Self-Esteem• Confidence
  11. 11. Sophisticated Social Arenas"Its what I try to tell everyone! These games give not only agood social education, but encourage teamwork, teambuilding (to form a successful party you will not only neednice people, but people of different classes, such ashealers and damage dealers), time management skills(within the game of course), map reading skills, financialplanning (Will I be able afford that spell at lv 20 if I buy thisshiny new sword now), as well as giving a completelyfascinating look at how economies develop. Each title hasits own in game economy. These are affected by inflationand demand just as much as any other, so if, say, there is ahigh demand for copper bars, and yet they are not in verygood supply, the price, will shoot up.…
  12. 12. …clever people can achieve the same effect by artificially creating demand- buying up all the copper bars in the Auction house and then selling them for higher. This is on top of the fact that faction games teach you to deal with people who are out to get you. Look at „WOW‟. If you are an Alliance player and you meet a higher level Horde player (Who would normally shoot on sight, and cant understand your language), you can use emotes/gestures (such as dance/smile/plead) in order to convince them to stop. (This doesnt always work of course). - Tom (15)
  13. 13. PSP – means play almost anywhere“Yeah the PSP was boss! No kid can afford a Smartphonecus they don‟t do them on pay-as-you-go so usually wehave to wait until we have a computer or something but thisway we could meet whenever we wanted to. I could playanywhere. School, bedroom – I even played in Starbucksonce (laughs). But its important Nic. If you have arrangeda hunt the others in your party are relying on you to bethere, and you lose kudos if you let them down.” - Lance (14)
  14. 14. Dealing with the isolation of non-attendingA new space to hang out?“Its funny, if you don‟t go school you don‟t see no-one – thismade me feel like I still belonged to something. Stoppedme hanging about” Sam (13)“It gave me something to do in the day – something tofocus on. As I got better I felt better” - Marc (14)
  15. 15. New (adult) skills:“I am like the trader on here. I get the stuff and then sell itto the others (Laughs) its like a business. But it taught meto know the value of things. So like, if you price somethingtoo high then no one buys it and you are left with loads ofshit that no one wants. But if you let it go too low, like it is arare item or something and you sell it for a few coins, thenyou is a mug „aint you. I know it don‟t seem much, but uskids don‟t get the chance to do this sorta thing… made mefeel grown or something” – Jordan (14)
  16. 16. New literacy?“As you get further on it gets harder. More and biggermonsters you know. Then you need the best equippedhunters and the most experienced ones. We designedsome recruitment posters and leaflets to put online to getpeople to join our clan. I used some of them for my Englishcoursework. My teacher was well surprised” - Lance (14)“I kept a diary of all my adventures. I used to do it everynight. Only time I ever did that, could never do myhomework, but this was different cos I was interested” - Si (14)
  17. 17. Re-focus• “One thing this taught me is that if you want anything good it takes time and a lot of hard work. I never learnt that in school!” – MikeB (13)• “Mandy, my worker, helped me see how some of the stuff I did on here could help me in school. It seems obvious now, but no one gave us the chance before” - Jon (13)“All kids want is to be interested. Once I got interested,and my teachers were interested in me, and in what I wasgood at, I didn‟t see no point in messing around” - Manni(13)

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