February HACK: Game-Based Learning

The focus of today’s activities was to look at game-based learning from a completely different focus.  While games are typically fun and kids love them, do they mix the strategy of the game with the content? Does it help students achieve their learning goals?

  1. Generational Learning Styles – Millennial and Neo-Millennial Learner
    1. 21st Century Super Skills
    2. SAMR Model – Technology Integration
      1. Enhancement
      2. Transformation
        1. 3 primary forms of teacher knowledge
        2. Builds upon Shulman’s idea of Pedagogical Content KnowledgeTPACK – Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge [Dr. Matthew Koehler]
        3. New knowledge that lies in the overlaps of the diagram

Game-Based Learning

  1. Concept Phase I
    1. Visualization – good graphics to help the audience understand; Use visuals to communicate content
    2. Gender inclusive  design
    3. Build on what players already know [pre-visualization]
    4. User testing with target audience
    5. Working directly with content experts
  2. Design Phase – nailing story of the game; learning goals
    1. Marry game mechanics and story to learning goals
    2. Content learning embedded in gameplay
    3. Gameplay is problem solving to overcome obstacles  – decisions are where the fun and the challenge takes place
  3. Prototyping Phase
    1. Evaluating the prototype/age or grade level appropriateness
    2. Is the content right?
    3. Is the game an engaging gameplay experience?

Examples – Citizen Science – ecology, limnology, and civic  engagement ; BBC – Learning English Game

Theory – preparation for future learning – Meaningful learning experiences, the kind of learning that game designers are trying to produce through the game experiences, they prepare you for learning in the future.

1 – put people in the game and have them experience

2 – then have outside readings and class activities that support the learning in the game experience

Examples:  Scott Osterweil – MIT – Co-Designer of Logical Journal of the Zoombinis – Playtesting & Game Design;

NationStates – created a class region and students create their own nations and see how decision effect all aspects of a country

David Gagnon – UW – Madison  Situated Learning – it looks like mentorship [apprentice working alongside a master carpenter]; learning is not the transfer of ideas from one person to another, but it is an entire package of activities within that learning community.  Games as joint activity; games as problem solving environments [MMOG’s good examples] – working in space, you can be placed in environments you may not ever be able to be in; games as vehicles for communicating concepts – concept being taught is the killer strategy – the way you beat the game – this is when you master the content.

ARIS engine for Mobile Learning – Gameboard becomes the world – physical world in high resolution; place-based education – look at culture and communities and also create their own cultures.  Games to re-engage the player in their local context – One of the essential questions is what if we created a video game to directly link you into the student’s place and own culture – look at the stories around the person playing the game.  Youth create their own narratives and own exploration into their own place – have a platform of their own to do that.

Elizabeth Lawley – Rochester Institute of Technology

Control & Customization – customization is limited in the physical world where as in game environments like SecondLife or MindCraft it is almost unlimited and that is what is attractive and empowering thing for them.  Kids do not have that kind of control.  Giving them a virtual environment where they have control over these things is empowering to them.  Link it to instruction AND you will have quite an amazing outcome.

Fish Tank Principle – communication of complex information – in gaming they strip it down at the beginning to a few principles and as you progress the game will add other variables.

Sandboxes –  a bounded space that can be explored, take risks, without being judged, sorted or ranked; learners needs the opportunity and the time to explore [examples:  all Sims games]

Andy Phelps – RIT Center for Media, Arts, Games, Interaction and Creativity

The Third Place – first is home; second is work; neither work or home and have a unique identity.  “the people’s own remedy for stress and alienation”.   MMOG’s  function as a new third place[massively multiplayer online games – games played on a server and play in a collaborative manner] How do you know if a game is providing the opportunity for this third place? 1)  Neutral Ground – people can be sociable only when they have some protection from each other; they a volunteers 2) Leveler –status in the community is based upon how good you are not how much money you have or how good looking you are. 3) Conversation is Main Activity – socializing and having conversations 4) Accessibility & Accommodation – available 24/7; no matter what time there will be ppl online willing to play 5) The Regulars – 78% of MMOGamers join a clan or pseudo community 6) A Low Profile – characteristically homely; fantastical settings [Lineage 2 or WWCraft] with great costuming; 7) Mood is Playful 8) Home Away from Home –  Seamon’s [1979] 5 defining traits of a home – rootedness, feelings of possession, spiritual regeneration, feelings of being at ease, and warmth; rootedness – posts responding to why he would be offline after hurricane Ivan – if something happens to a regular in that community others are concerned about their wellbeing.

Third Place becomes like Cheers or your neighborhood bookstore.  Kids are using online game communities as the new third place [instead of a typical physical location]

Game as Third Places:  Social Capital [Steinkuehler] 1) Social Capital – bonding [close friends or family with a lot of social support and share cultural and social similarities] vs. bridging  [information social engagement – casual friends who may share where to eat, movies, etc.  You would not call them if you are dire straits; you do encounter diversity and they tend to be outside your ethnicity, regional location, political views – where we run into different kinds of ppl]in online communities you are encountering different types of ppl, from different backgrounds, etc 2) Pop-Cosmopolitanism – a willingness and ability to navigate increasingly globalized and diverse, networked sociotechnical world.


History games – Civilization or Civ – takes you through the industrial revolution [it is a multiplayer game – had to talk to eachother]; students had to debate about the value of different types of government and the competition [understanding simulation] and games became objects for reflection – Why did Monroe lose? – each explained a discussion about strategy and reflection.

Roles of Mentors – modeled what good game playing was like, coaching, scaffolding, and questioning techniques.

Factual Knowledge – what was learned?

Historical Problems Spaces – ppl problem solving in the past; examples – the strong hold series;   examples of questions – Did rulers see their closeness to the gods as a strategy or a goal?; students play through these historical possibilities; gets students to think of history as a series of choices to be understood; dynamic understanding of the past

Scientific Reasoning – games provide opportunities for model based reasoning [like scientific reasoning]; modeling, gathering data and then arguing about which scenario would work;







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