Serious games and learning in SA

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A guest presentation given to students at the University of Cape Town introducing games and learning, serious games, and how these relate to the South African context.

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  • Serious games and learning in SA

    1. 1. 08.08.08 Serious games and learning in SA <ul><ul><li>Steve Vosloo </li></ul></ul>
    2. 2. <ul><li>Why games and learning? </li></ul><ul><li>Serious games </li></ul><ul><li>South Africa </li></ul><ul><li>Design thoughts </li></ul>
    3. 3. <ul><li>“ ... even the harshest critics agree that we learn something from playing video games. The question is: how can we use the power of video games as a constructive force in schools, homes, and at work?” </li></ul><ul><li>Shaffer, Squire, Halverson, Gee (2005) </li></ul>
    4. 4. Play <ul><li>Earliest forms of learning (Vygotsky) </li></ul><ul><li>Try, fail, experiment / “die and do over” </li></ul><ul><li>Experiential & immersive </li></ul><ul><li>Motivating </li></ul><ul><li>Theory of situated learning – “learning to be” </li></ul>
    5. 5. Learning through games? <ul><li>Highly engaging </li></ul><ul><li>Communities of practice: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>News, FAQs, discussion forums </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ecology of games: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Strategy, dialogue, mentoring </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Develop community social practices </li></ul>
    6. 6. <ul><li>“ We don’t learn from games, we learn through them.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ In SA, gaming can be used as a learning tool when it is conceived and designed as the vehicle that provides the opportunity for social dialogue in a learning activity.” </li></ul><ul><li>Alan Amory (2008) </li></ul>
    7. 7. <ul><li>“ Beyond their value as entertainment media, games ... are currently key entry points for many young people into productive literacies, social communities, and digitally rich identities.” </li></ul><ul><li>Katie Salen (2008) </li></ul>
    8. 8. Learning through games? <ul><li>Experiment with identities </li></ul><ul><li>The harder the better </li></ul><ul><li>Form of problem solving </li></ul><ul><li>Gee's 36 learning principles of good games (2004) </li></ul>
    9. 9. <ul><li>“ In some sense, a game is nothing but a set of problems. We're actually selling people problems for 40 bucks a pop ... And the more interesting games in my opinion are the ones that have a larger solution space. In other words, there’s not one specific way to solve a puzzle, but, in fact, there’s an infinite range of solutions ...” </li></ul><ul><li>Will Wright (Jenkins 2005) </li></ul>
    10. 10. Serious games <ul><li>“ Developed for a primary purpose other than pure entertainment” (Wikipedia 2007) </li></ul><ul><li>Education, training (military / commercial), health, public policy ... </li></ul><ul><li>Social change, content or language learning, raising awareness, cross-cultural sensitivity ... </li></ul>
    11. 12. Peace Maker
    12. 15. Re-Mission <ul><li>Participants who played Re-Mission: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>maintained higher levels of chemotherapy in their blood </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>took their antibiotics more consistently </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>showed faster acquisition of cancer-related knowledge </li></ul></ul>
    13. 16. <ul><li>“ We now know that games can induce positive changes in the way individuals manage their health. The game not only motivates positive health behavior; it also gives players a greater sense of power and control over their disease – in fact, that seems to be its key ingredient.” </li></ul><ul><li>Cole (2008) </li></ul>
    14. 21. Mobile games <ul><li>Mostly Augmented Reality games, e.g. Sick at South Shore Beach: A Place-Based Augmented Reality Game as a Framework for Building Academic Language in Science </li></ul><ul><li>Virtual game overlaid onto physical space -- location-aware </li></ul><ul><li>Players as field researchers </li></ul><ul><li>Advanced (GPS) </li></ul><ul><li>Simple (SMS) </li></ul>
    15. 22. MUVEs <ul><li>Eg: Quest Atlantis: 3D multi-user virtual environment to immerse children, ages 9-15, in educational tasks </li></ul><ul><li>Improved disposition to information and learning, specifically science topics </li></ul>
    16. 23. ARGs <ul><li>An alternate reality game (ARG) is an interactive narrative that uses the real world as a platform, often involving multiple media and game elements, to tell a story that may be affected by participants' ideas or actions. (Wikipedia) </li></ul><ul><li>Puppetmaster, rabbit hole </li></ul><ul><li>i love bees, the lost ring </li></ul>
    17. 24. South Africa <ul><li>Cellphones: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>72% own a cell phone </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>60% talk on a cell phone almost daily </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nearly half text message almost daily </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>MXit: 6 million subscribers </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Computers and Internet: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Only 17% have ever used the Internet </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>6% use it almost daily </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>15% have a computer in their home </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>9% have Internet access at home </li></ul></ul>
    18. 25. M4Girls Project <ul><li>Improve maths in grade 10 rural girls by Mindset </li></ul><ul><li>Mathstermind and Fashion Empire </li></ul><ul><li>Nokia 6300 </li></ul>
    19. 26. Energy saving game <ul><li>Standalone / networked (ProBoPortable)? </li></ul><ul><li>Platform? </li></ul><ul><li>Narrative? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>E.g. “Enemy is darkness, wastage is the evil force ...” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Define learning outcomes </li></ul><ul><li>Learning environment: Formal/informal? </li></ul><ul><li>Define supplementary learning materials / complimentary learning environment </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Augmented reality, ARG, people network </li></ul></ul>
    20. 27. Mobile games <ul><li>Portability - can take the computer to different sites and move around within a location </li></ul><ul><li>Social interactivity - can exchange data and collaborate with other people face to face </li></ul><ul><li>Context sensitivity - can gather data unique to the current location, environment, and time, including both real and simulated data </li></ul><ul><li>Connectivity - can connect handhelds to data collection devices, other handhelds, and to a common network that creates a true shared environment </li></ul><ul><li>Individuality - can provide unique scaffolding that is customized to the individual's path of investigation. </li></ul><ul><li>Klopfer (Jenkins 2008) </li></ul>
    21. 28. Design challenges <ul><li>Beyond “chocolate covered broccoli” (Bruckman 1999) </li></ul><ul><li>Problem 1: Contradiction between playing the game and learning </li></ul><ul><li>Problem 2: There can be too much interactivity with a game and not enough reflection </li></ul><ul><li>Learning happens through social interaction – how to achieve this? </li></ul>
    22. 29. Disclaimer <ul><li>No panacea </li></ul><ul><li>Violent / stereotypical / misogynistic </li></ul><ul><li>Teachers: Play is not work </li></ul><ul><li>Gaming is not for everyone (is anything?) </li></ul><ul><li>“ Competing” against commercial games </li></ul><ul><li>Still an emergent field </li></ul><ul><li>New theories of learning </li></ul><ul><li>Difficult to assess </li></ul>
    23. 30. Opportunities <ul><li>Open and new area in SA (in Africa) </li></ul><ul><li>Mobile games </li></ul><ul><li>Interactive fiction game on MXit </li></ul>
    24. 31. Thank you <ul><li>Steve Vosloo </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>innovatingeducation.wordpress.com </li></ul><ul><li>www.techleader.co.za/stevevosloo </li></ul><ul><li>References </li></ul><ul><li>del.icio.us/stevevosloo/research+gaming </li></ul>

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