Assessment 5, Part B: Reflection

This subject has been an interesting foray into the world of educational games and gamification. Learning about theories of motivation and engagement (Evans, Jones, & Biedler, 2014; Richter, Raban, & Rafaeli, 2015; Zusho et al, 2014), and how digital games satisfy some basic needs (Richter, Raban, & Rafaeli, 2015) in order to encourage motivation and engagement in the game world, was really fascinating to me. As the partner of a very avid gamer, learning how and why gaming is so satisfying, so wholly engaging, and so beneficial to critical and strategic thinking was particularly interesting, and my understanding of the skills that can be developed through gaming was definitely improved.

Screen Grab 1: Assessment One, 2017 March 5 (Carroll, 2017)

The research here seems to be divided, from what I have read throughout the course, wherein some advocates see digital game based learning as a form of play and achievement in the classroom, reinvigorating students’ love for learning and motivating them to increase their successes, while other advocates, fewer in number within the game based learning academia, view digital game based learning as an extension of alternative media in the classroom.

Screen Grab 2: Assessment One, 2017 March 5 (Carroll, 2017)

 

The extent of my belief in digital game based learning at the beginning of this course was in its role as a replacement of traditional homework. While I see the benefits of this still, my understanding of the value of digital games has expanded to understand that for the right classrooms, it can be a whole new approach to learning and curriculum design. Exposure to schools such as Quest to Learn (Edutopia, 2013) and classrooms such as Biohazard 5 (TEDx Talks, 2012) completely changed my understanding of what game based learning really means, and what it can include. I would not argue that all students would suit this style of classroom, but I can see that it is revolutionary in the classrooms where it works. The biggest thing I took from game based learning literature is the idea that traditional education takes us from starting at 100% until we reach our grade at the end of the year, while gaming takes us from starting at 0 and keeping on trying until we reach the 100%. That idea, combined with the idea that failure is okay, really blew my mind with regards to ‘what could be…’ (TEDx Talks, 2012).

Screen Grab 3: Assessment Two, March 20 (Carroll, 2017)

This particular lesson was huge for me, as relates directly to my experience with my partner, understanding how marvellous it is that video games can bring such a rich world of sharing into a player’s life. Gee discusses how in one game the background physics of the game was explored, discussed, and dissected by communities of players of the game. This engagement with physics shows how gaming can motivate players to be learners outside of the game environment, and how gaming can open players’ eyes to a love of learning in a way that might have been lost through traditional education.

I never expected to be able to design some principals for a game, or to be able to imagine a world where job-seeking was supported through digital gaming practice, but my experience with this final assessment made me think about how normal aspects of the world could be gamified to make the mundane an engaging experience. Not coming from a teacher’s background to this course meant that I was constantly adjusting my understanding of this subject to fit with what could happen in a public library environment, and while my gamified job-seeking process will likely never be implemented, it let me explore the possibility.

 

References:

Edutopia. (2013, July 30). Katie Salen on the power of game-based learning (Big Thinkers series) [YouTube Video]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wk_OfUHpCbM

Evans, M.A., Jones, B.D., & Biedler, J. (2014). Video games, motivation, and learning, In F.C. Blumberg (Ed.) Learning by Playing: Video Gaming in Education. Oxford: Oxford University Press. DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199896646.003.0019

Richter, G., Raban, D. R., & Rafaeli, S. (2015). Studying gamification: The effect of rewards and incentives on motivation. In T. Reiners & L. C. Wood (Eds.), Gamification in education and business (pp. 21–46). Cham: Springer International Publishing. Retrieved from http://www.meydalle.info/meydalle/ganit/9783319102078-c1.pdf

TEDx Talks. (2012, April 24). Classroom game design: Paul Andersen at TEDxBozeman [YouTube Video]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qlYGX0H6Ec

Zusho, A., Anthony, J.S., Hashimoto, N., & Robertson, G. (2014). Do video games provide motivation to learn? In F.C. Blumberg (Ed.) Learning by Playing: Video Gaming in Education. Oxford: Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199896646.001.0001

Ideas for Gamification of the Job Hunt

  • Online system: The Impressive Tale of One Person’s Hunt for Employment (dramatising the job-search process)
  • Personalised avatar
  • Map for user interface: The hunt and catch dramatised on-screen
  • Points rewarded for each job application submitted
  • Points rewarded for checking in with Centrelink
  • Points rewarded for attending a résumé help, interview skills, or such online or in person service
  • Points rewarded for asking to have résumé/cover letter proof-read by an online or in person service
  • Big points for scoring an interview
  • Real life rewards for points, e.g. library offers:
    • Free printing
    • Overdue fines wiped
    • Bookstore gift card
    • Certificate to present to Centrelink
    • Written recommendation to include with résumé from library
  • Depending on cost and accumulation of points
  • Option for competition – e.g. option to share results with other users of the system
  • Allocated computers for those signing into the system (one-two computers/library?) so that they don’t have to book a computer and so that there is always a computer available
  • Market the system focusing on the real life rewards for real life success
    • The job-search can be boring and de-motivating, let us make it exciting
    • Have you been on the hunt? Let us help you make a kill!
    • The library now rewards job-seekers for their work: Sign on with us, and you could win!

Ideas Take 2 (19th May)

  • Brain-training games (Miller and Robertson 2009) integrated into game & rewarded on completion
  • Design of game to follow protocols (Marty & Carron 2011; Deen & Schouten 2011; Gaming motivation scale)

Assignment 4: Chapter Proposal

Part 3: Invitation

Motivating Job-Seekers in the Library: Gamifying the Job Hunt

 

Moreland Libraries play an important role in the community for providing job-seekers the information and technology resources to participate in the job-search process. However, the job-search process can be a very long one, especially in the current economic climate, and it can be very damaging to the job-seeker’s motivation and self-esteem (Jerrard, 2009a, p.19). Jerrard (2009a) suggests enlisting a professional on a paid or voluntary basis who can help support job-seekers in this emotional time, but this is difficult to arrange, potentially costly, and arguably, from the point of view of council especially, outside the scope of the public library’s responsibility. As such, the library at present does not do much about the mental health impact of the job-search process. This is understandable, but as Jerrard (2009c) emphasises “With unemployment still on the rise, this is a crucial time for public libraries to respond with all the help they can offer” (2009c, p.3).

To the job-seeking community, Moreland Libraries (http://moreland.vic.gov.au/libraries/) currently offer a range of books, e-resources and DVDs, and links to further job-search services, alongside the notable use of the library’s computers, Wi-Fi, and printers by many users for job-seeking purposes. The library provides services in general computer training, and links and resources for health and well-being support. However, within the library walls, real or online, there are no specific job-seeking services offered, such as résumé help or interview skills. One reason for this is that Moreland City Council offers these services, and there are many other organisations linked by Moreland Libraries who offer these services. Another reason is the cost, both in time and in money, which cannot be met by Moreland Libraries. For this reason, Moreland Libraries and their job-seeking users would benefit from this gamification model, wherein job-seekers’ mental health is supported by encouraging motivation and engagement in the job-search process, little cost is required as this model can be implemented and left to function without the need to provide in-person services, and Moreland Libraries’ users are clearly used to an online model of service and resources in their library.

This chapter will suggest that there is something that can be offered to job-seekers to increase motivation for, engagement in, and self-esteem about the job-search process: gamification. This chapter will invite the Moreland Libraries to set up a relatively simple system to gamify the job-search process, applying research support for gamification increasing motivation and engagement in a public library environment. The chapter will propose a model for the system, will explain why this invitation is being made to the public library in this context, and aims to convince public libraries in general, not only Moreland Libraries, to consider gamifying the job-search process for their job-seeking users.

 

Resources:

Beavis, C., Rowan, L., Dezuanni, M., McGillivray, C., O’Mara, J., Prestridge, S., … Zagami, J. (2014). Teachers’ beliefs about the possibilities and limitations of digital games in classrooms. E-Learning and Digital Media, 11(6), 569–581. DOI:10.2304/elea.2014.11.6.569

Evans, M.A., Jones, B.D., & Biedler, J. (2014). Video games, motivation, and learning, In F.C. Blumberg (Ed.) Learning by Playing: Video Gaming in Education. Oxford: Oxford University Press. DOI:10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199896646.003.0019

Jerrard, J. (2009a). How-Tos for: Providing hands-on help. In J. Jerrard (Ed.) Crisis in employment: A librarian’s guide to helping job seekers. Chicago, IL: ALA Editions. pp. 13-19.

Jerrard, J. (2009b). Resources and reference: Think beyond the bookshelves. In J. Jerrard (Ed.) Crisis in employment: A librarian’s guide to helping job seekers. Chicago, IL: ALA Editions. pp. 21-27.

Jerrard, J. (2009c). The employment crisis hits the public library. In J. Jerrard (Ed.) Crisis in employment: A librarian’s guide to helping job seekers. Chicago, IL: ALA Editions. pp. 1-4.

Moreland Libraries. (n.d.). Libraries [Government Website]. Moreland City Council. Retrieved from http://moreland.vic.gov.au/libraries/

Perrotta, C., Featherstone, G.,  Aston, H., &  Houghton, E. (2013). Game-based learning: Latest evidence and future directions. https://www.nfer.ac.uk/publications/GAME01/GAME01_home.cfm

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

REFLECTIONS ON ARTICLE: “Good video games and good learning” BY JAMES PAUL GEE, SUMMER 2005 PHI KAPPA PHI FORUM

One paradigm under which to view the dynamic between video games and learning is that of play-based learning. Play-based learning is the idea that different versions of play are natural to the human condition, and that the exploratory, creative, and spontaneous elements in play free our minds to think and learn in unique ways (Briggs & Hansen, 2012). Further to this, play is essentially a social learning tool. While imagination and creation can emerge individually, the concept of play is intimately linked to social interaction and dynamics (Briggs & Hansen, 2012). The definition of a game as “rules”, “play”, and “culture” (Becker, 2011, p.77) emerges here as the link between the social elements of play-based learning and those of digital game-based learning. Games take the freeform of play and refine the imagination, social dynamics, and creative challenges into a more structured format.

Therefore, within the realm of games there are many benefits to social inclusivity. The focus on teamwork in some situations, and competition in others, provides situations for building social cohesion and for allowing differing talents to shine than those regularly highlighted in the traditional classroom. Video games take the raw format of board, sports, or mind games and dramatically increase the scope of possibility, harnessing the opportunities of technology to engage in ever deeper creative design, allow equal participation in video games based on learned skill rather than ‘born talent’, and inspire agency, customisation, and production by the consumers of new games (Gee, 2005, pp.35-36). These elements reinforce the opportunity games present for different talents to shine, increasing social inclusivity by recognising strengths in different areas. This point is further made by many video games’ encouragement of “cross-functional teams” (Gee, 2005, p.37), wherein teamwork in general is not only crucial for success in the game world, but particularly the formation of teams which represent a diversity of skill and the recognition by all members of the team of each others’ specific skill sets. The ability to function successfully in cross-functional teams is a socially inclusive skill which is often employed in professional environments.

The endless possibility for creation and imagination that is present in video game design leads to an approach to learning termed “design thinking” (Salen, 2013, 5:39), and an outcome of employing design thinking in the classroom is the necessity of thinking about what the end user wants from a product. For students designing video games, this means thinking about what their classmates enjoy and understand in a video game setting, leading to a culture of shared knowledge and shared experience, playing each others’ games and thinking constantly about others’ minds and interests. In this vein, there is also the likelihood that students will have better-developed skills in video game play than their teacher – although, notably, not in the ways that some teachers imagined (de Freitas & Maharg, 2011, p.189). This change in expertise dynamic leads to a culture of students teaching students, again sharing their knowledge and experiences in a way which is difficult to encourage in the traditional classroom (2011). Finally, and again within the frame of students teaching students, we have Gee’s concept of “affinity space” (2012, 3:15), wherein the sharing of knowledge, game logic, and strategies goes on outside of the world of the game, such as in Reddit threads or voice chat groups.

Often, video games are snubbed as being individualistic, anti-social, and consumptive – but this is only the case if a game is played in a social vacuum, and the truth is that “good video games” (Gee, 2005, p.33) are not designed for that. They are designed, and practiced, as social experiences developing skills in teamwork, strategic and design thinking, balanced understanding of skill diversity, and shared knowledge. How can this be practiced? Get a class together to play World of Warcraft. That’s a solid start.

References:

Becker, K. (2011). Distinctions between games and learning: A review of current literature on games and education. In Information Resources Management Association (Ed.) Gaming and Simulations: Concepts, Methodologies, Tools and Applications, Hershey, PA: IGI Global (pp. 75-107). Retrieved from http://www.igi-global.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/gateway/chapter/full-text-pdf/49375

Briggs, M., & Hansen, A. (2012). What is play in the primary or elementary school? In M. Briggs & A. Hansen (Eds.) Play-Based Learning in the Primary School, London: SAGE Publications. Retrieved from http://ebookcentral.proquest.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/lib/CSUAU/reader.action?docID=880798&ppg=9

de Freitas, S., &  Maharg, P. (2011). Constructions of games, teachers and young people in formal learning, Chapter 8 in S. Freitas & P. Maharg, Digital games and learning (pp, 176-199 )
http://CSUAU.eblib.com/patron/FullRecord.aspx?p=655488

Gee, J.P. (2005). Good video games and good learning. Phi Kappa Phi Forum,  85(2), 33-37. http://dmlcentral.net/sites/dmlcentral/files/resource_files/GoodVideoGamesLearning.pdf

Gee, J.P. (2012, March 21). James Paul Gee on learning with video games [Video]. Edutopia: Youtube. Retrieved March 20, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnEN2Sm4IIQ

Salen, K. (2013). Katie Salen on the power of game-based learning (Big Thinkers Series) [Video]. Edutopia: Youtube. Retrieved March 20, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wk_OfUHpCbM

Are digital games being overlooked in ‘digital education’ reform?

REFLECTIONS ON ARTICLE: “Teachers re-evaluate value of video games” BY JOSH JENNINGS, NOVEMBER 30, 2014.

Jennings’ article (2014) echoed my experiential understanding of the value and merit of digital game-based learning, and I was glad to read such a positive and evidence-supported article advocating for greater use of the diverse merit of digital gaming. In particular, I was glad to see titles like World of Warcraft in the list of skill-building digital games. In my experiences working at two K-12 schools, one public and Steiner-leaning and one private and Baptist, I have seen the use of Minecraft in maths classrooms to be the main source of digital game inclusion into digital education practice. At the public school, this was headed by a young maths teacher who focused on Minecraft play and design for a full week or so in her maths classrooms across multiple year levels. She had a genuine love for the game and its benefits, and frequently encouraged her students to play maths-based/curriculum-approved games throughout the year as a focus for their homework/individual study time. The maths department at this school also had a clear focus on mathletics-type online competition games for maths learning and homework, something that Jennings (2014) notes as a common first step in the right direction.

I have seen in these schools that the mix of staff with apprehension and those with excitement towards digital education reform is generally divided between the older, seasoned teachers and the newer graduate teachers. I don’t like age-based division, but I do think this shows how education of teachers has embraced discussion of digital education reform, and perhaps what is lacking is a professional development or whole school focus. Also lacking is the upskilling of older teaching staff so they have greater confidence working with digital technology. I find those people (educators or not) who have had the opportunity to play with digital technology without judgment are the ones more likely to embrace the possibilities of including it into their daily professional lives.

Furthermore, the “Digital Education Revolution” (Australian Department of Education, Employment, and Workplace Relations [DEEWR], 2013) is only now moving away from building the infrastructure for strengthening the communication between teachers, students, and parents. We are perhaps not ‘infrastructurally’ ready to focus on the merits of digital gaming and digital technologies for the benefit of student-student learning and independent student learning. This leads me to ask if digital games are perhaps being viewed as an element of play-based learning rather than of digital education reform? This is something I would like to search further.

My position on digital game-based learning is that it seems perfect to include as a replacement (at least in part) of the traditional homework style. Digital gaming is a motivating, captivating form of skill-building of either curriculum-based learning or more general soft skills, coordination, and strategic thinking (Jennings, 2014), and there is evidence that game-based learning can be more effective than traditional models (McLaren et. al., 2017). As an information professional, my learning aims for INF541 include: how gaming can be encouraged in a library environment as a form of self-development, why it fits the library’s values beyond ‘entertainment’, what resources and gaming applications are best to spread awareness about to teachers, parents, and youth workers, and whether gaming is something that can be taught to older community members as a way to keep their minds engaged.

 

References:

Australian Department of Education, Employment, and Workplace Relations [DEEWR]. (2013, June 21). Digital education revolution program review [Departmental document], Technology in Schools [Department of Education and Training]. Retrieved from https://docs.education.gov.au/documents/digital-education-revolution-program-review

Jennings, J. (2014, November 20). ‘Teachers re-evaluate value of video games’ [Digital Newspaper Article], The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved from: http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/teachers-reevaluate-value-of-video-games-20141110-11jw0i

McLaren, B.M., Adams, D.M., Mayer, R.E., & Forlizzi, J. (2017). A computer-based game that promotes mathematics learning more than a conventional approach, International Journal of Game Based Learning, 7(1), pp.36-56. Retrieved from http://www.igi-global.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/gateway/article/171667

 

“It was easier to know it than to explain why I know it”

As you may have noticed, this blog is set up with a decidedly Sherlock Holmes feel. I have used quotes. I have not sourced said quotes. This is a questionable decision, particularly as a librarian, but one I have made because a) referencing spoils aesthetic and, more seriously, b) Sherlock Holmes has been quoted by so many people in so many places, and each and every movie, TV show, book, and game all skew and change the original quotes to something recognisable and yet not quite the same. This post will serve as my recognition that I am taking quotes from Holmesian ‘culture’ (for a way of explaining the above phenomenon) for titles and the like, and it is unlikely that phrases with quotes around them in the titles of this blog are my original work but rather they are from Holmesian culture.

The purpose of the quote used to mark this particular blog post is because I feel it summarises the purpose of reflective journalling quite well, incidentally. Explaining how one comes to gain knowledge is at once particularly difficult and in addition it is incredibly useful. Reflecting on one’s learning serves to emphasise, clarify, and better imprint the knowledge that has been learnt, and this is an area of learning that has been gaining interest and recognition in the education sector for a while now (Boyd & Fales, 1983). I have engaged in reflective journalling in other subjects and in other situations, so I look forward to using this blog as a way to collate and share my reflections on this subject.

 

References:

Boyd, NAME., & Fales, NAME. (1983). Reflective learning: Key to learning from experience, Journal of Humanistic Psychology, 23(2), pp.99-117. Retrieved from http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0022167883232011

‘Sherlock Holmes’ culture