Game-Based Learning (GBL)
State of Play of Digital Games for Empowerment and Inclusion: A Review of the Literature and Empirical Cases
This report presents the 'state of play' of knowledge of how digital games can work as empowerment tools to support social inclusion processes and policy.
The report brings together for the first time a review of theoretical and empirical research in a variety of disciplines, especially from learning, social inclusion, e-inclusion and innovation studies to build a framework to help understanding of the potential of games for inclusion and empowerment. It uses this framework to analyse seven well-documented case studies from across the spectrum of digital games for empowerment and inclusion to understand between the factors contributing to their success or failure. It draws conclusions as to the principal challenges, identifies knowledge gaps, and recommends potential action by stakeholders to address these challenges.
Stimulating innovative and entrepreneurial mindsets of students, in particular, but not exclusively, for the set-up of new micro-companies, is a major concern of the EU educational policies in order to enhance the EU competiveness, above all in the field of new technologies.
he goal of eSG is to develop, deploy and assess experimental pedagogical plans based on appealing and instructive SGs for stimulating entrepreneurship in university students (a short course will be implemented for all the 3 levels: Bachelor, Master, PhD), with an aim to reduce the gaps among education, research and innovation. An online planning tool will also be developed. The project is highly innovative because it brings to the Higher Education (HE) sector (also through teacher training) the results of ongoing research on SGs, in particular through GaLA, which acts as a hub at EU level.
On the other hand, the outcomes from the eSG’s extensive deployment – the first one of this type in EU, to the best of our knowledge – will provide precious experimental information to researchers, that lack real data on using SGs in real HE settings. Moreover, innovation is guaranteed by the focus on new technologies and entrepreneurship, so that students are stimulated and given competences/skills, in order to apply in the real world of business the innovative knowledge they are gaining in university studies.
Целта на съвременните образователни общности е творчески да усвояват и да налагат новосъздадените технологии, за да са в крак с промените настъпващи в учебното съдържание и образователните платформи, като същевременно задоволяват нуждите на учащите и се справят с ограничените средства. Тъй като информацията извира непрекъснато и ситуацията постоянно се променя, образованието се фокусира върху това да бъде в крак с промените на 21 век.
Проект GGULIVRR, генерична игра за учене навсякъде (ubiquitous learning) в интерактивни, виртуални и реални реалности, стартира проучване в областта на повсеместното учене (ubiquitous learning), разглеждайки контекстуалното учене и ученето с помощта на мобилните устройства, противопоставяйки прости устройства на сложни компютърни и мрежови конфигурации, тествайки постоянния достъп до интернет и проучвайки интелигентните тагове.
Целта на проект GGULIVRR е да представи пред образователните общности учебна рамка, която да помага на учащите да практикуват и да повишават уменията, необходими в 21 век, докато възпроизвеждат и играят контекстуални игри на мобилните си устройства.
Проектът GGULIVRR подтиква учащите да поддържат връзка помежду си. За да играят контекстуална игра, участниците трябва физически да се намират в „контакт“ с конкретно място, където реално съществуващи предмети са отбелязани с интелигентни тагове. Чрез докосване на тага, участникът влиза в контакт с контекстуалното съдържание. Играейки и развивайки игрите GGULIVRR участникът се среща с други геймъри и програмисти, тъй като форматът на проекта подтиква към интердисциплинарно, интерсоциално и междукултурно общуване и сътрудничество, като дава възможност на местните да отключат контекстуално съдържание с минимални технически средства.
With over 25 years of classroom experience, in the UK, and beyond, including 4 years in West Africa, Tim Rylands has received notable recognition for using computer games, and Web 2 technologies to inspire children’s creative confidence in many areas of the curriculum - writing, speaking and listening, music, thinking skills, collaboration, interaction and much more.
Elearning Europa had the opportunity to talking with him during the last ICERI2012 Conference.
What is your main activity?
I have been a teacher for 27 years. I taught in very challenging areas in England, in West Africa. Conferences are a small part of what we do. What we normally do is a full day or two days of training with teachers and students. I also do demo teaching and people watch me teaching.
How do you teach?
When you do demo sessions, it’s on a much larger scale than a class. If you came to one of my sessions, you wouldn’t see me first, you would see the children and the teachers looking at a beautiful virtual world. We slip into the learning. They don’t even notice that we’ve started. When I was nominated for an award, the judges said I was a creative teacher with a warm affinity with his class. I think this is the most important part, whether it’s technology or not. Lots of children with scribble sticks, pencils, because we do a lot of analogue responses to digital stimulus. The idea is that children pick words up and juggle with them. A lot of children are sharing ideas with each other as much as with me.
It’s a way of teaching rather than a resource. It’s about how you get children talking. We encourage children and teachers to write together because sometimes writing is something we inflict upon children, so I think it’s good to be sitting down writing with them. Some children have never seen what enjoying writing looks like.
The other element is how we build silence. To me, the best teacher has bite marks on his tongue, he gives the opportunity to let the children have the feeling that they’re leading it.
He knows where he’s going but hopefully, the students don’t notice that.
You said that the tools you use are not as important as the dialogue that is happening.
When the people are working, they don’t see the technology, it is about what is said. I don’t necessarily mean just talking, I mean what is communicated, rather than what is used.
What are the benefits of using these virtual worlds in opposition to traditional learning?
I would say that these two methods are rather complementary. Games are not the only thing we do. In many respects, it's old-style teaching. It’s about moving students forward in essential skills: the ability to communicate, writing. Talking leads to writing but writing is the way we communicate when people are not there, so it has to be very gripping and engaging. This is not in contrast to traditional learning. I do find the worlds and tools that we use motivate and inspire the most reluctant writers.
Are all the kids involved in the same way?
It goes right the way through, from the less able to the more able. All of them, at different paces, take off and fly. Who would you say goes the fastest? Very often, it’s the less able. The gifted and talented children are not necessarily the most able. Sometimes they know how to tick the boxes but they don’t necessarily know how to take off and fly. When we come to these things where there’s no right or wrong idea, and we tell the children not to worry about their spelling, then the less able suddenly find themselves in a position where they can. Not worrying about spelling doesn't mean it isn't important. It most definitely is but there is a time and a place for written (and verbal) jazz: making it up, experimenting, exploring and surprising ourselves. What we encourage pupils to do is not to worry about their spellings, to get their thoughts down on paper in inventive, creative ways.
Why do you use purely recreational games such as Myst instead of serious games?
I don’t purely use recreational games, we do a huge amount of other things. It’s a challenge for me to find something new everyday, occasionally there are educational games and serious games, or web-based opportunities.
Are these games a one-time experience or are you working towards incorporating this into the curriculum?
Yes, it can be part of a broader strategy. If I were to use only games, it would be a shallow diet for my pupils but as a starter they’re remarkably engaging, they really do grab attention and focus. But they’re not the reason why you come to school, although the children forget that. Some schools have written us to say ‘thank you’ because their attendance rates have gone up, as well as their standards in writing and use of ICT. The most important is what’s generated because of enthusiasm.
Game-based learning is expensive for schools. Is the additional benefit sufficient in relation with its cost?
I understand your concern about the cost but it isn’t that expensive because you don’t need a vast amount of technical equipment, you just need a projector and a pretty basic computer. However, you have to choose wisely for a start. For example, if I was to use even the most peaceful part of Grand Theft Auto in a mainstream school, I wouldn’t have a leg to stand on if somebody came and complained. I think the benefits could be worth going through the difficulties of finding the right tools. The most important is how the teacher uses the tool.
What kind of skills can be developed by the use of games?
The number 1 would be confidence for children. It changes the perception of children who don’t think they are writers. It changes the perception of themselves into being someone who can and wants to learn. Also social skills: the ability to share. The outcomes are huge and endless. We work with schools that have perhaps challenges getting children to write or are asking themselves how to use technology in a creative, inventive way that can have an impact in classrooms. We’re also invited in schools that are already doing remarkable things.
What are the challenges that face educational games?
Money to come up with the quality that normal recreational games have. Most of the time, they’re using primary colours, it’s games where you have to tick the right answer. There is also the problem of the image, some people say: “How can the learning come from a game?” But in 12 years of using games, I’ve never had a negative comment from children, teachers, governors or parents. An incredible, valuable, shared learning journey.
SimAULA will setup a virtual practicum in the form of a three-dimensional, online world adapted in the context of teaching-learning in school.
Both active teachers and teachers-to be will interact with avatars, develop lesson plans, and teach in the virtual classrooms. In order to provide interesting and effective learning activities, this project will focus on the pedagogical side based on the knowledge of teachers and pedagogic and psychology experts to define the behaviour model of the virtual students and create simulations and situations that are both pedagogically and educational sound.
LLP KA3 MP [Funding: EACEA - Europe]
SimAULA will take advantage of serious games technology to make the learning scenario engaging and interesting for the student. Via simulations, teachers will practice their teaching and classroom management skills within a fun and safe educational game environment. SimAULA output will be a training platform that will empower universities and schools with a very innovative simulation system that will enable them to enhance the teaching abilities of their students though result-driven classroom practices.
The C2Learn project aims to introduce an innovative digital gaming and social networking environment incorporating diverse tools, the use of which can foster co-creativity in learning processes in the context of both formal and informal educational settings.
In developing this project, we are innovating methodologically by introducing two new non-linear thinking processes, as fundamental heuristic devices in assisting the user to generate new types of candidate solutions. These innovations are based on most recent results of cognitive science research, which have marked a breakthrough in our understanding of the roots of reasoning and its relation to emotion and representation: Diagrammatic Reasoning and Emotional Reasoning.
We shall also implement these non-linear thinking methodologies in game environments, especially for school age users, in order to enhance the motivational component and to enrich the manner and opportunities of engagement with these activities. In so doing, we shall be guided by an acclaimed educational theory on how to use digital gaming and social networking technology to promote creative thinking in children and the young.
The C2Learn environment will be an open-world "sandbox'' (non-linear) virtual space enabling learners to freely explore ideas, concepts, and the 'shared' knowledge available on the semantic web and the virtual communities in which they participate. In this open-world sandbox, creativity is contextually defined as open-ended, and has no pre-sets or barriers. So too will be the virtual game environment housing nonrestrictive opportunities for learners to engage in creative problem-finding and creative problem solving. These new computational tools - rather than setting a series of preset problems and challenges based on players' previous actions in the virtual game environment - will afford and generate potential playful experiences surrounding creative problem solving and non-linear thinking tasks.
Much social creativity involves human collaboration through and about artifacts that embody collective knowledge resulting from the collaboration. It can be a catalyst to enable European SMEs and large organizations to adopt and sustain new approaches to learning by fostering non-linear and non-standard thinking and allowing promising ideas to be transformed into new processes, products, services or business models
To this end COLLAGE will exploit new synergies between the social Web phenomenon, emerging Web analytics, collaboration and gaming technologies to energize and enable social creativity in learning. It will design, develop and validate an innovative cloud-enabled Social Creativity Service-Set that will support the interlinking of learning processes and systems with (i) social computational services for inspiring learners,
(ii) social affinity spaces for leveraging expression and exploration, and (iii) social game mechanics for supporting social evaluation and appreciation of creative behaviour.
The COLLAGE service set will be applied to enhance creativity in the learning processes of: FIAT SEPIN, which provides training to the Fiat Group and its automobile ecosystem; CEDEP, the executive education consortium; and WAAG, the creative technology society. COLLAGE will aim to generate:
- Economic impact by enabling SMEs and large organizations to capitalize on the creative capabilities of their employees through new value creation.
- Technological impact by advancing leading edge technologies (context-aware computing, web analytics and social computational systems) towards creativity support.
- Impact on TEL by providing an open-source service-set for social creativity able to mash-up with existing learning processes and solutions.
- Scientific impact by advancing research in prominent research areas such as creativity models for learning, game-based learning and social recommender systems.
Digital Learnscapes: Meeting Future Challenges. We live in a period of change and uncertainty. Many are bewildered by these changes and find it difficult to keep up, particularly in the education and training sectors. The ability to anticipate and prepare for change is the mark of innovative educators, as is the skill of harnessing new and emerging tools to promote good learning.
At Pelecon 13 we want to provide learning professionals with opportunities to explore, discover and discuss new approaches, new technologies and new ideas to enhance, enrich and extend their own professional practice. There will be particular emphasis this year on simulations and games, personal learning tools, new pedagogies and practices, learner and teacher voice, and digital literacies.