Social and Cultural Barriers

CC0 https://pixabay.com/photo-99506/

The negative aspects of video games have tended to dominate popular media reports over the years with video games blamed for violence, obesity, injuries, addiction and aggressive behaviour in young people (Bourgonjon, 2011). Such media messages are hard for parents to ignore and are similar to the moral panic caused by the introduction of television. It is not surprising that some parents are dubious about game based learning being used in schools.

I agree with Bourgonjon (2011) that involving parents in the implementation of game based learning would be advantageous and help to address parental concerns. Strategies could include:

  • Parent information evening
  • Game workshops for parents
  • Documenting game based learning with photographs and videos and communicating them through the school’s social media channels and/or newsletters
  • Game based learning section on the school website or learning management system

Teachers may also share some negative opinions of game based learning. Strategies to overcome these could include:

  • Professional learning
  • Observing other teachers using game based learning
  • Disseminating literature and research about game based learning
  • Sharing videos of teachers in other schools using game based learning
  • Team teaching

Good communication with all members of the school community is vital when introducing any new pedagogical approach.

References

Bourgonjon, J., Valcke, M., Soetaert, R., de Wever, B., & Schellens, T. (2011). Parental acceptance of digital game-based learning. Computers & Education, 57(1), 1434-1444. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2010.12.012

 

 

Information Behaviour

I took up the challenge in module 4.1 to select a game from the top ten list of AAA titles and an interactive fiction game and explore the communities, networks and knowledge systems that support them. From the top ten AAA titles I chose Minecraft and the interactive fiction game I chose was 80 Days.

I am familiar with web communities in general but because I do not play digital games I had never encountered game related communities. Interest-driven sites or affinity spaces are where players go to engage further with the game (Gee, 2012). These affinity spaces include forums, wikis, cheats, videos, reviews, fan-fiction, mods and social media.

Affinity spaces offer powerful opportunities for learning, Gee argues, because they are sustained by common endeavors that bridge differences—age, class, race, gender, and educational level—and because people can participate in various ways according to their skills and interests, because they depend on peer-to-peer teaching with each participant constantly motivated to acquire new knowledge or refine their existing skills, and because they allow each participant to feel like an expert while tapping the expertise of others.  (Jenkins, Weigel, Clinton & Robinson, 2009)

I have curated two Pearltrees boards to illustrate these communities and the enormous amount of time and effort players go to to expand upon their game experience, learn more about their chosen games and help others.

Minecraft

Minecraft, by karenmalbon

80 Days (Interactive fiction)

80 Days, by karenmalbon

As an individual and an information professional I relate to this kind of information seeking behaviour. After I watch a film or read a book I often want to learn more and delve deeper into the themes, location and setting by reading reviews and forum postings. I am a consumer and have not become an active participant or creator by contributing to such spaces. I admire the passion that many game players have to contribute to such knowledge networks.

References

Gee, J. P. (2012). Digital games and libraries. Knowledge Quest, 41(1), 60-64.

Henry Jenkins , R. P., Margaret Weigel, Katie Clinton, Alice Robinson. (2009). Confronting the challenges of participatory culture: Media education for the 21st century. Retrieved from https://www.macfound.org/media/article_pdfs/JENKINS_WHITE_PAPER.PDF

Types of Gamers

I studied Psychology as part of my undergraduate degree so I was drawn to the readings on game and player types. In 1996 Bartle recognised that not all players are the same and devised a taxonomy of player types. This video explains his theory.

Retrieved from https://youtu.be/yxpW2ltDNow

Westwood & Griffiths (2010) describe six types of gamers and infer that they prefer certain types of games.

Created by K. Malbon

Player types serve as a guide for game designers in developing games but they can also be of use to educators. Educators need to be aware that just as students like different genres of books and movies, they may prefer certain genres of games. This has implications for game based learning because one game will not necessarily motivate or engage every student. It also highlights how difficult it is to design educational games to meet pedagogical goals. Such challenges were evident in the study by Markey & Leeder (2011) where a game was built to teach information literacy concepts.

References

Markey, K., & Leeder, C. (2011). Students’ behaviour playing an online information literacy game. Journal of Information Literacy, 5(2), 46-65. http://ojs.lboro.ac.uk/ojs/index.php/JIL/article/view/1637

Westwood, D., & Griffiths, M. D. (2010). The Role of Structural Characteristics in Video-Game Play Motivation: A Q-Methodology Study. CyberPsychology, Behavior & Social Networking, 13(5), 581-585. doi:10.1089/cyber.2009.0361

 

Chapter Proposal

When I began this subject my knowledge of game based learning was very limited. I was not an active player and was mostly oblivious to the complexities of games, gaming culture and educational use of games. I think other teacher librarians may also be in the same situation. My chapter proposal reflects my own need to learn more about game based learning in school libraries and I feel it could be of value to others in the profession too.


CC0 https://pixabay.com/photo-1283865/

Title: Game based learning in secondary school libraries: Getting teacher librarians on board

School libraries are a communal space where students can read, study, research, discuss, use technology and socialise. Secondary school libraries provide access to a variety of print, digital and multimedia resources to support the curriculum and recreational needs of students and staff. Access to a range of multimodal resources promotes and develops multiliteracies (O’Connell, 2012). Traditional games have been used in school libraries for a long time and are recognised as instructional media (Elkins, 2015). Digital games have not always been embraced as enthusiastically due to negative perceptions by teacher librarians, parents and school administration however this is starting to change. Recent research on game based learning (GBL) notes the positive effects games have on learning and the promotion of twenty-first century skills (Qian & Clark, 2016). School libraries that restrict particular technology, such as digital games are at risk of alienating students that are exposed to diverse learning opportunities outside of school. Teacher librarians who are willing to learn about and incorporate GBL into the school library have the opportunity to meet the diverse learning and social needs of their students (Elkins, 2015).

Chapter Focus:

  • perception of game based learning (GBL) amongst teacher librarians
  • exploration of any negative views held about GBL
  • school libraries’ role in providing access to multimodal resources to support the curriculum and recreational needs of students and staff
  • school library as a social place
  • positive features of GBL for literacy and general capabilities (twenty-first century skills)
  • ways in which GBL could be implemented in secondary school libraries
  • barriers that may be encountered and possible suggestions for overcoming them
  • professional learning required by teacher librarians to support GBL in libraries

References

Elkins, A. J. (2015). LETS PLAY! Knowledge Quest, 43(5), 58-63.

O’Connell, J. (2012). Learning without frontiers: school libraries and meta-literacy in action. Access, 26(1), 4-7.

Qian, M., & Clark, K. R. (2016). Game-based Learning and 21st century skills: A review of recent research. Computers in Human Behavior, 63, 50-58. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2016.05.023

Why are digital games so enjoyable?


Playing Candy Crush on ipad flickr photo by m01229 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license


I enjoy reading fiction in my leisure time because it is relaxing and allows me to leave my ordinary world behind and enter another. I empathise with characters, learn new things and experience a range of emotions through language and narrative. When I am immersed in an enthralling storyline nothing else matters. Reading is mostly a solitary activity for me but can also be social through discussions of books with family and friends either face-to-face or online.

While reading the article The structural characteristics of video games: a psycho-structural analysis (Wood, Griffiths, Chappell & Davies, 2004) it struck me that game players enjoy video games for many of the same reasons that I enjoy reading fiction. According to the article the following psychological features contribute to the enjoyment of games:

  • ability to enter a fantasy world and escape from our ordinary lives
  • losing track of time when playing
  • impact on our mood, emotions and arousal levels

These psychological features sound very familiar to me as a fiction reader and help me to understand why games are such a compelling leisure activity for so many people.

I spoke to three mature digital game players (40 years plus) about the features of digital games that were important to them. Two played various games on Facebook such as Candy Crush, Farmville and Criminal Case and the other played chess online against other people. The chess player was competitive and wanted to achieve a high ranking, while the other two said competing or interacting with/against friends was most important to them. This illustrates the importance of the social side of games that Wood, Griffiths, Chappell & Davies allude to in the aforementioned article (2004). Realistic sound was a high ranking feature in their study, closely followed by graphics. Neither of these characteristics were deemed important to the three players I spoke to. Interestingly the two players of Facebook games mute the sound when they play as they find it annoying (and I would suggest unrealistic). All three said games were an enjoyable leisure time activity that they experienced daily if they had the time, just like I do with my reading.

References

Wood, R. T. A., Griffiths, M. D., Chappell, D., & Davies, M. N. O. (2004). The Structural Characteristics of Video Games: A Psycho-Structural Analysis. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 7(1), 1-10. doi:10.1089/109493104322820057

 

Ingress

This blog post documents my experience with the digital game Ingress. Ingress is a multiplayer location-based mobile game (LBMG) that utilises the features of mobile devices such as GPS and location data and adds augmented reality (Hulsey & Reeves, 2014). These technical features are combined with a detailed narrative supported by websites, videos and social media. The Ingress app requires the player to get outside and explore the real world using their mobile device to discover “portals” located at significant landmarks. The following beginners guide video explains Ingress in more detail.

Retrieved from https://youtu.be/HgvHV155gvo

Resistance Agent kleem9’s experience with Ingress

Here is a timeline of my first encounter with Ingress. I was quite pleased that I figured out the basic features of the app and looked forward to having more time to explore the game over the Easter break as Resistance Agent kleem9.

My second attempt took a more targeted approach and I was so immersed that I lost track of time. I was thrilled when I levelled up and captured portals but disappointed that my attacks on enemy portals were unsuccessful. How could I improve?

I decided to utilise the community aspect of Ingress and joined the Resistance Melbourne Community. I participated in a new agent chat and found out that I was on the right track by hacking as many portals as I could and by capturing neutral portals. I also found out that I probably would not be successful in attacking enemy portals until I was level 6. I did a walk along the Yarra River at Heide and Fairfield with my sister (who was not interested in the game at all despite my attempts) to get more resources and access points.

I am already intrinsically motivated to exercise so I incorporated my play into my usual daily exercise routine and was was playing alone. I intended to keep playing the game for a few more days but I got sick and did not have the energy. Playing Ingress is time consuming and other interests compete especially when you are working full time and studying part time. The gaming experience was initially compelling but my interest waned as it became a bit repetitive.

Positive aspects of Ingress for me

  • physically active
  • enjoyed discovering new things in my neighbourhood
  • improved my navigational skills
  • could be played with family or friends
  • ability to connect to a community of players

Negative aspects of Ingress for me

  • resource heavy – battery life and data
  • Narrative did not appeal to me and was intimidating for a new player
  • Security – could I be tracked?
  • Time consuming

Educational applications

While playing Ingress it is clear that it could have educational applications in almost every subject area. Without much thought the following came to mind:

  • Geography – navigation, mapping and spatial skills
  • Mathematics  – measurement and geometry
  • History – stories behind landmarks, exploration of conflict
  • Art – study of landmarks artistic qualities, creation of artistic works based on the game
  • English – creative and non-fiction writing
  • Physical Education – exercise program
  • Online safety

A secondary school teacher at Eltham College in Melbourne has documented his experience in a blog post Ingress and education: The experiment

The article Ingress in Geography: Portals to academic success by Michael Davis describes a study done using Ingress with first year university students.

 

 

References

Hulsey, N., & Reeves, J. (2014). The gift that keeps on giving: Google, ingress, and the gift of surveillance. Surveillance & Society, 12(3), 389-400. Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/docview/1556332658?accountid=10344

Augmented Reality

I don’t know much about augmented reality, the technology that augments the physical world with information, audio, vision or GPS data from virtual sources (“Augmented reality”, 2017). I have heard the term and read a few articles about it in the news but only have a basic understanding of it. Last year I watched on but didn’t get involved with Pokemon Go. I chuckled as I walked past people glued to their phones and wondered what all the fuss was about.

Last week I downloaded Ingress to my phone, put my headphones on and took a five kilometre walk around my neighbourhood figuring out how to hack portals and deploy resonators. To my utter surprise I really enjoyed the experience. I discovered places close to home that I didn’t know existed with the aid of the Ingress app that uses geo-location technologies of GPS, Google Maps and Google Streetview to guide you to portals within the game’s science fiction narrative. Stay tuned for more about my experiences with Ingress in a later blog post.

Now I can see the appeal of games that use augmented reality. Augmented reality can show you things that you are unaware of. I was excited by the application of augmented reality outlined by Jay David Bolter  (Art Line, 2013, June 3) where the physical and virtual world combine. Museums, galleries and sites of historical or cultural heritage can be enhanced using your own personal device using augmented reality technology. The video below shows one such example.

Augmented Reality Museum Mobile Application @ Stanford University from Sid Lee Labs on Vimeo.

It is difficult to predict what the future will hold for augmented reality and virtual reality but it looks exciting for games and education, as long as we are willing to accept change. This idea is explored in the following Ted Talk, Will virtual and augmented reality move us into the knowledge age?

References

Art Line [User name]. (2013, June 3). Jay David Bolter [Video file]. Retreived from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O53ey5EYeVU

Augmented reality (2017, April 1). Retreived from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Augmented_reality

Blog Task 2

Topic 1 : How might games be used to develop a more socially inclusive classroom or workplace using Gee’s viewpoint?

A socially inclusive classroom endeavours to meet the individual needs of all students (Cologon, 2015). Students are encouraged to learn together with guidance from the teacher who utilises a variety of resources. Games are one such resource that a teacher could employ to cater for the diverse learning needs within a class.

Initially, teachers, such as myself, who have had little experience playing video games may see barriers and tensions rather than opportunities. The traditional role of the teacher is challenged when video games are used in the classroom (Sandford, Facer & Williamson, 2011) and this can be unsettling. At first, barriers such as technology infrastructure and the time required to learn about games seem insurmountable. However these barriers can be overcome if teachers are willing to rethink their teaching (Becker, 2011).

Created by Karen Malbon

According to James Paul Gee, good games incorporate learning principles that can be have a positive impact on education (Turkay, 2014). Gee asserts that video games entertain and motivate people through challenge and learning. Gee’s viewpoint is backed up by cognitive science research (2005) and is persuasive enough to make me rethink the place of games in schools and libraries.

Of the sixteen learning principles described by Gee (2005), the following four resonated with me as beneficial to a socially inclusive classroom; risk taking, customisation, situated meanings and cross-functional teams.

Risk taking
Video games encourage players to take risks and explore. Failure is not the end result but the chance to receive feedback in order to try again (Gee, 2005). Video games provide a safe environment to try out different choices and consider other points of view (Turkay, 2014). Ethical understanding is a general capability in the Australian Curriculum and video games could be useful resources.

Customisation
Many video games allow the player to adjust difficulty levels. The same game could be used within a classroom but differentiated according to the needs of individual students. Students can also customise games in other ways to suit their learning or playing styles (Gee, 2005). For example sounds can be turned on or off. Customisation also assists in managing cognitive load, the mental effort required for a task (Turkay, 2014).

Situated meanings
Video games could improve vocabulary by situating the meaning of words and language within the context of the game. Verbal and non-verbal cues are contained in images, actions and the dialogue of video games (Gee,2005) and could be beneficial to learners with learning difficulties.

Cross-functional teams
Massively multiplayer online games rely on a diverse range of skills from multiple players. Players have the opportunity to specialise in a particular skill and contribute to the game. Enjoyment is often derived by the commitment to a common goal and the affiliation with others revolves around this commitment regardless of individual differences (Gee, 2005). Forums, cheat sites, game wikis are learning communities that evolve when players have a shared interest and are part of a participatory culture (Turkay, 2014). In a socially inclusive classroom problem solving, sharing and discussion could leverage different modalities of expression to suit different students.

My concerns about using video games in schools and libraries are beginning to diminish as I become more aware of the relationship video games have with learning theories, learning principles and participatory culture. My next big challenge is to identify games that are suitable for libraries and classrooms.

James Paul Gee from New Learning Institute on Vimeo.

References

Becker, K. (2010). Distinctions Between Games and Learning: A Review of Current Literature on Games in Education Gaming and Cognition: Theories and Practice from the Learning Sciences (pp. 22-54). doi:10.4018/978-1-61520-717-6.ch002

Cologon, K. (2015). Inclusive education means all children are included in every way, not just in theory. Retrieved from http://theconversation.com/inclusive-education-means-all-children-are-included-in-every-way-not-just-in-theory-45237

Gee, J. P. (2005). Good video games and good learning. Phi Kappa Phi Forum, 85(2), 33-37. Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/docview/235184729?accountid=10344

Sandford, R., Facer, K., & Williamson, B. (2011). Constructions of games, teachers and young people in formal learning. In de Freitas, S., & Maharg, P.  Digital games and learning (pp.176-199)Retrieved from http://ebookcentral.proquest.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/lib/csuau/detail.action?docID=655488

Turkay, S., Hoffman, D., Kinzer, C. K., Chantes, P., & Vicari, C. (2014). Toward Understanding the Potential of Games for Learning: Learning Theory, Game Design Characteristics, and Situating Video Games in Classrooms. Computers in the Schools, 31(1/2), 2-22. doi:10.1080/07380569.2014.890879

 

On the Horizon

Last week I perused the most recent NMC/CoSN Horizon Report: 2016 K-12 Edition and identified the trends and developments in educational technology I think are related to game based learning.

Trends

  • Coding as Literacy is a short-term trend for adoption in one to two years
  • Students as creators is a short-term trend for adoption in one to two years
  • Collaborative learning is a mid-term trend for adoption in three to five years
  • Redesigning learning spaces is a long-term trend for adoption in four to five years
  • Rethinking how schools work is a long-term trend for adoption in four to five years

Developments in technology

  • Makerspaces is near term (1 year or less)
  • Virtual reality is mid-term (2-3 years)

As you can see from the image below, a significant number of trends and developments in technology could involve game based learning. Of particular interest to me as a teacher librarian are Makerspaces. Makerspaces are found in school and public libraries and can support game based learning, STEM and 21st century skills. With this in mind I intend exploring games throughout this subject that could be included in a library Makerspace.

NMC/CoSN Horizon Report: 2016 K-12 by Adams Becker, S., Freeman, A., Giesinger Hall, C., Cummins, M., and Yuhnke, B. (2016). Available at http://cdn.nmc.org/media/2016-nmc-cosn-horizon-report-k12-EN.pdf CC BY 4.0

Another area I am interested in exploring is storytelling and games. Writing is a focus at my school this year so this news report How a nonprofit is using video games to strengthen students’ writing skills caught my attention. I feel that this report has clarified the direction I should be heading as a teacher librarian in relation to game based learning.

Learning a New Language

The first few readings of module 1 introduced me to a new language, the language of video games. The language of video games is new to me and there are so many acronyms; ARG, MMO, MMORGP, LARP, COTS, DLG, DGBL, GBL etc. I had to consult Wikipedia on more than one occasion to understand the readings. Video Games have their own literacy and we bring our own experience to them (Gee, 2012, March 21). My experience is limited so I have a steep learning curve ahead of me to understand the ludology (discipline that studies games) and the shared cultural background that people who play games have (Montola, 2012). I think an old fashioned glossary that I can continually add to, created with a newer technology, Google Docs might be helpful during INF541.


References
Edutopia [User name]. (2012, March 21). James Paul Gee on Learning with Video Games [Video File]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/JnEN2Sm4IIQ

Mäyrä, F., Holopainen, J., Jakobsson, M., & Montola, M. (2012). Social constructionism and ludology. Simulation & Gaming, 43(3), 300–320.

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