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Using video games for educational purposes

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ModSim World Canada 2009 Conference presentation

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Using video games for educational purposes

  1. 1. Using video games for educational purposes Sonya Milly Educational Studies, Concordia University Photo credit: from The Movies , Lionhead Studios
  2. 2. Intended Audience <ul><li>This presentation is intended to serve as a brief overview and stepping stone for </li></ul><ul><li>educators who have limited or no expertise in using videogames as teaching tools, but who would like to explore their pedagogical value. </li></ul><ul><li>individuals interested in the use of video games in formal educational settings from an educational theory perspective. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Overview <ul><li>The case for and against using videogames in classrooms </li></ul><ul><li>Learning through videogames </li></ul><ul><li>Teaching with videogames </li></ul>
  4. 4. Research rationale (i) <ul><li>There is a need to equip teachers with new pedagogical approaches and curriculum frameworks so that students and teachers can benefit from technological advances afforded by new media. </li></ul><ul><li>(de Castells, Bryson and Jenson, 2001; Barrell, 2001; Hawisher and Selfe, 1997, 1999; Klopfer, Osterweil and Salen, 2009; Kress 2000; Leu and Kinzer, 2000; Snyder, 2002; Tyner, 1998; Yee, 2001). </li></ul>
  5. 5. Research rationale (ii) <ul><li>Current and emerging research is showing that video games can be powerful learning and teaching tools. </li></ul><ul><li>(Becker, 2007a, 2007b; Gee, 2003; Gibson, Aldrich, & Prensky, 2007; Johnson, 2005, Sanford and Madill, 2007) </li></ul>
  6. 6. Research rationale (iii) <ul><li>Yet, little guidance on how to adapt teaching practices to benefit from technological innovation such as commercial video games is available. </li></ul><ul><li>(de Castells, Bryson, and Jenson, 2001; Gee, Hull and Lankshear, 1996; OECD 2001; Ng, 2006; Nixon, Atkinson and Beavis, 2006; Shaffer, Squire, Halverson, and Gee, 2005; Van Heertum and Share, 2006) </li></ul>
  7. 7. Research questions (i) <ul><ul><li>What are the potential benefits and concerns related to using video games in classrooms? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2. What theoretical frameworks, games-based teaching methods, and resources are available to inform and guide teachers’ practices in using video games in classrooms? </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Approach <ul><li>A literature review of theoretical frameworks and games-based teaching methods suitable for K-12 levels. </li></ul><ul><li>An online search of resource support sites for teachers using video games. </li></ul>
  9. 9. The case for using video games as pedagogical tools (i) <ul><li>Research is showing that games-based teaching and learning </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Expands children’s engagement with written and visual texts, images and sounds (e.g., multisensory learning). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leads to new forms of literacy (e.g., multimodal literacy, games literacy). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Serves as a precursor to facilitate learning of other computer and technology domains as well as the learning of higher-order cognitive skills. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(Gee, 2003) </li></ul></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  10. 10. The case for (ii) <ul><li>Using video games in the classroom can </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Make learning more engaging, meaningful and relevant to those who have grown up with and value technology. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>2. Allow young people to build upon technological skills developed through leisure activities. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>3. Meet curricula requirements to actively incorporate technology in school activities. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(Gee, 2003) </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. The case for (iii) <ul><li>Using video games in the classroom can bridge the gap between </li></ul><ul><li>Technology-savvy young people and their teachers. </li></ul><ul><li>Formal traditional schooling and out-of-school learning. </li></ul><ul><li>3. Those who can afford technology at home and those who cannot. (Gee, 2003) </li></ul>
  12. 12. The case for (iv) <ul><li>Educational and cultural theorists stress the importance of play in childhood learning. (Piaget,1951; Bruner,1966; Huizinga, 1950) </li></ul><ul><li>Media-inspired play, such as videogames, occurs alongside or within other forms of imaginative play (e.g., Animé). </li></ul><ul><li>(Weber and Dixon, 2007; Ito, 2008) </li></ul>
  13. 13. The case for (v) <ul><li>Children’s principal access to computers is through the world of video games. </li></ul><ul><li>(Papert, 1993; Buckingham, 2006) </li></ul><ul><li>Children begin to learn through games and their play activities. Why disrupt or remove this effective learning process from formal education? (Rieber, 1996). </li></ul>
  14. 14. The case against using video games for educational purposes (i) <ul><li>Using video games in classrooms is controversial due to their alleged potential to </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Increase violent and addictive behaviors </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Promote social isolation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>(Anderson, 2005; Jenkins, 2005, 2006; Walsh, 2001) </li></ul>
  15. 15. However, evidence supporting this view is increasingly questioned. <ul><li>1. Most research concerning videogames stems from media effects studies. </li></ul><ul><li>Content analysis - the methodology commonly used in media effects studies - is increasingly considered of limited value because it isolates media content from its historical, cultural, and social contexts, rendering it inadequate to explore new media. </li></ul><ul><li>(Buckingham, 2006; Goldstein, 2005; Tyner, 1998) </li></ul>
  16. 16. Evidence increasingly questioned <ul><li>The highly collaborative nature of many video games played in online environments ‘strongly refutes’ the thesis that playing computer or video games is a solitary or anti-social activity. </li></ul><ul><li>(Buckingham, 2006; Livingstone and Bovill, 1999) </li></ul>
  17. 17. Evidence increasingly questioned <ul><li>The culture surrounding video games (e.g., gaming communities) plays a significant role in helping young people develop interpersonal relationships and serves as a platform for knowledge exchange. </li></ul><ul><li>(Gee, 2003; Dixon and Weber, 2007; Ito, 2008; Jenkins, 2006) </li></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>Learning through video games </li></ul>
  19. 19. My findings (i) <ul><li>The learning that takes place in video games results from staying ‘in the flow’ and active engagement. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>The highly interactive nature of video games make them fascinating and fun. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>(Prensky, 2006) </li></ul>
  20. 20. Csikszentmihalyi’s Flow Theory of Optimal Experience <ul><ul><li>A state of flow comes from immersion, intense concentration and enjoyment. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>As flow increases, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> attitudes improve </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> anxiety diminishes </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> creativity heightens </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li> problem-solving skills strengthen </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>(McMillan, 2006) </li></ul>
  21. 21. Malone’s four criteria of engagement <ul><li>For a game to be motivating, it requires the right blend of: </li></ul><ul><li> challenge </li></ul><ul><li> curiosity </li></ul><ul><li> fantasy </li></ul><ul><li> control </li></ul><ul><li>The right balance of these ingredients builds players’ intrinsic motivation that, in turn, entices learning. </li></ul><ul><li>(Akilli, 2007) </li></ul>
  22. 22. Findings (ii) <ul><li>Active learning from video game play comes from: </li></ul><ul><li>experiencing the world in new ways, </li></ul><ul><li>forming new associations, and </li></ul><ul><li>results in the acquisition of resources and knowledge that prepares for future learning in other domains. </li></ul><ul><li>(Gee, 2003) </li></ul>
  23. 23. Findings (iii) <ul><li>People learn a variety of valuable skills playing video games. </li></ul><ul><li>Socializing skills </li></ul><ul><li>Life skills </li></ul><ul><li>Strategizing skills </li></ul><ul><li>Collaborative skills </li></ul><ul><li>Problem-solving skills </li></ul><ul><li>Decision making skills </li></ul><ul><li>Social values </li></ul>
  24. 24. Findings (iv) <ul><li>Video game play develops several types of intelligence </li></ul><ul><li>For instance, </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the visually rich 3-D environments build spatial intelligence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>musical scores and sound-effect elements that enhance play and enjoyment help develop musical intelligence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>requirements for players to become part of the virtual world (physically, emotionally, and visually) contribute to kinesthetic intelligence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>(Becker, 2007a) </li></ul></ul>
  25. 25. Findings (v) <ul><li>Commercial video games meet the needs of various learning styles. </li></ul><ul><li>For instance, </li></ul><ul><li>Players with concrete learning needs find the support they seek through game feedback mechanisms. </li></ul><ul><li>Abstract learners are able to actualize and test their theories in virtual environments. </li></ul><ul><li>(Becker, 2007a; Gregorc, 1985) </li></ul>
  26. 26. Finding (iv) <ul><li>Playing video games fosters numerous types of learning </li></ul><ul><li>For instance, </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Role-playing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Learning from mistakes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Experimental learning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Self-directed learning (e.g., task-based, goal-based) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Problem-based learning </li></ul></ul><ul><li>(Akilli, 2007; Gee, 2003; Prensky, 2006; Royle, 2008) </li></ul>
  27. 27. Example - experimental learning <ul><li>Experimental learning calls for learners to have concrete experiences, reflect on their experiences and observations, and then actively experiment with new ideas and situations. </li></ul><ul><li>(Kolb and Fry, 1975) </li></ul><ul><li> Video game environments support risk-taking, exploration and experimentation with minimum consequences. </li></ul><ul><li>(Becker, 2007a) </li></ul>
  28. 28. <ul><li>Teaching with video games </li></ul>
  29. 29. My findings (i) <ul><li>Very few instructional design models or guidelines for creating game-like learning environments exist. </li></ul><ul><li>(Akilli and Cagiltay, 2006; Bates, 2000; Morrison and Aldrich, 2003 ) </li></ul>
  30. 30. Findings (ii) <ul><li>However, many well-known pedagogical theories, models, and approaches are as relevant and as well supported when applied to commercial videogames as when there are applied to classroom settings. </li></ul><ul><li>(Becker, 2007a, 2007b, 2008; Gibson, Aldrich, & Prensky, 2007; Rieber, 1996) </li></ul>
  31. 31. Learning theories and teaching models that apply to games <ul><li>Gardner’s theory of ‘multiple intelligences’ </li></ul><ul><li>Reigeluth’s elaboration theory </li></ul><ul><li>Gagné’s ‘nine events of instruction’ </li></ul><ul><li>Bruner’s psycho-cultural approach to education </li></ul><ul><li>Merrill’s ‘first principles of instruction’ </li></ul><ul><li>Story telling </li></ul><ul><li>(Becker, 2007a) </li></ul>
  32. 32. Example 1 - Reigeluth’s Major Strategy Components … applied to games (Teacher Talk) (Translation) An elaboration sequence <ul><li>Well-paced, simple-to-complex sequence progression </li></ul>Learning prerequisite sequences <ul><li>Tutorial/practice mode </li></ul><ul><li>Players only advance from one level to the next when specific challenges have been met and specific status acquired. </li></ul>Summary <ul><li>Game’s “tab sheet” that tracks players’ accomplishments and discoveries </li></ul>Analogies <ul><li>Players create their own analogies by identifying common approaches , tactics and characteristics amongst similar game genres or earlier sequels </li></ul>Cognitive strategies <ul><li>Players’ desire to discover the game’s requisite strategies needed to beat the game move players through planed experiences </li></ul>Learner control <ul><li>Seemingly infinite choices for players </li></ul><ul><li>Individual decision-making within the game’s designed perimeter. </li></ul>
  33. 33. Example 2 - Video games allow players to learn about, and participate in, great stories and myths. (Kelman, 2005). Photo credit: Hulu
  34. 34. Findings (iii) <ul><li>Theories that influence videogame designers may help educators adjust their teaching methods in ways that enhance learning outcomes in the classroom. </li></ul><ul><li>(e.g., Flow theory of optimal experience) </li></ul><ul><li>(Gee, 2003; Prensky, 2006, Van Eck, 2007) </li></ul>
  35. 35. Findings (iv) <ul><li>Students and teachers can benefit from video games, even without their direct </li></ul><ul><li>use in the classroom by: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>incorporating them in class discussions, and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>by drawing upon the many learning principles captured in the design of video games. </li></ul></ul>
  36. 36. Conclusion No.1 <ul><li>The success of video games as teaching tools remains largely un-established. </li></ul><ul><li>(Akilli, 2007; Buckingham, 2006) </li></ul><ul><li>The extent to which games influence students’ learning in a positive way remains unknown. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Games are amongst the least used technology application in education. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>There is a “lack of available well-designed research studies” about teaching and learning with video games (Akilli, 2007, p.6). </li></ul></ul><ul><li>The field of education has a longstanding wariness of the value of games for instructional purposes (Rieber, 1996). </li></ul>
  37. 37. Conclusion No. 2 <ul><li>Teachers (pre-service and practicing) need opportunities to experiment with video games, as well as fora to discuss their experiences and concerns with peers. </li></ul><ul><li>(Schrader, Zheng, and Young, 2006; Squire, 2005) </li></ul>
  38. 38. Conclusion No. 3 <ul><li>To integrate videogames into teaching practices, educators will need to: </li></ul><ul><li>See concrete examples of the educational benefit of videogames. </li></ul><ul><li>Have assurance that methods supporting the use of video games are pedagogically sound. </li></ul><ul><li>Have adequate support available (e.g., institutional, industry, technical). </li></ul><ul><li>(Gibson, Aldrich, and Prensky, 2007; Wright and Vongalis Macrow, 2006; Wright, 2009) </li></ul>
  39. 39. Conclusion No. 4 <ul><li>Video game design and play exemplify sound learning theories </li></ul><ul><li>Look at what is educational about successful video games. </li></ul><ul><li>Try to make teaching practices as game-like as possible. </li></ul><ul><li>(Gee, 2003; Becker, 2007a, 2007b; Prensky, 2006) </li></ul>
  40. 40. Recommend strategies (i) <ul><li>Make maximum use of resource support websites dedicated to digital game-based learning and teaching. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Where possible, contribute to the development of these sites by sharing your findings, experiences, and examples. </li></ul></ul>
  41. 41. Recommended strategies (ii) <ul><li>Model pedagogy on gaming, </li></ul><ul><li>not gaming on pedagogy. </li></ul><ul><li>(Becker, 2007a, 2007b, 2008; Gee, 2003, 2005; Prensky, 2006; </li></ul><ul><li>Royle, 2008) </li></ul>
  42. 42. <ul><li>It is better to examine design elements of successful games and find theories to explain them than design a game based on a learning theory. </li></ul><ul><li>(Becker, 2007a) </li></ul>
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  44. 44. The Arcade's Revolution “ Games-to Teach” project – MIT and the University of Wisconsin.
  45. 45. Revolution’s characters
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  53. 53. Main presentation websites <ul><li>http://www.educationarcade.org/ </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.timrylands.com/ </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.gamesparentsteachers.com/ </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.brainmeld.org/ </li></ul>
  54. 54. Thank you for your attention <ul><li>Questions, comments? </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>
  55. 55. Read on <ul><li>Games and simulations in online learning: Research and development frameworks. </li></ul><ul><li>David Gibson, Clark Aldrich, and </li></ul><ul><li>Marc Prensky, (Eds.) </li></ul><ul><li>Hershey, PA: Information Science Pub., (2007). </li></ul>

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