Wednesday, 2 March 2016

DCL - Games in Education

Class notes:
Play has been recognised as one of the most natural ways in which children (and adults) learn. Modern theories examine play from the perspective of how it impacts a child’s development. According to Dietze and Kashin, “The learner is no longer regarded as a passive receiver of knowledge, but as an active constructor of meaning”.This perspective is emphasized within the constructionist theory through experiential learning. Theorist John Dewey suggests that children learn best by both physical and intellectual activity; in other words, children need to take an active role in play.Contemporary theories focus on the relationship of play to diversity and social justice in daily living and knowledge. Children learn social and cultural contexts through their daily living experiences. The Zone of Proximal Development concept, developed by Lev Vygotsky, suggests that children require activities that support past learning and encourage new learning at a slightly-more-difficult level. Vygotsky believed that social engagement and collaboration with others are powerful forces which transform children's thinking. Urie Bronfenbrenner states that a child's development is influenced by both the person and the environment (which includes family, community, culture and the broader society).
Games, as more structured forms of play, can be categorized into three main groups which all connect with learning (Koskinen et al. 2014): (1) Commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) games, (2) simulations, and (3) learning games. Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) games make excellent tools for addressing both content-based and higher-order learning outcomes (see Van Eck, 2009). Simulations are well used, too, for example in military training (see Vahtivuori-Hänninen, Lehtonen & Torkkeli, 2005). However, learning games are the most popular in schools.
Learning games have a long traditions in education especially in two game types: serious games – which are defined by their primary purpose other than pure entertainment – and instructive games – where you learn curricular content while you play games.
What experience do we have with games in our classroom? What games do we like to play ourselves?
Are you are a killer, achiever, socialite or explorer?
Choosing Games with an Educational Aspect
Game For Change believe in the positive power of digital games. See:
The Nanocrafter game enables you to contribute to important scientific research. Another form of Crowdsourcing:
Plague - science knowledge is embedded in the game: Plague Inc.
Serious Games
Serious games have been used to gamify serious issues. For example the Sparx game to tackle depression from the University of Auckland, and then move through to the Quest2Teach viurtal world games for teacher training.
Good video games incorporate good learning principles, principles supported by current research in Cognitive Science. Why? If no one could learn these games, no one would buy them — and players will not accept easy, dumbed down, or short games. At a deeper level, however, challenge and learning are a large part of what makes good video games motivating and entertaining. Humans actually enjoy learning, though sometimes in school you wouldn’t know that.
Game design and development
Game narratives sometimes follow the model of standard linear fiction. You can adapt this when designing your own game like activities for the classroom.
One of the tools that could be used with students is the Dr Who Game Maker, also the Wellington -based Gamefroot is really popular.
Suggested readings and references:
Eichenbaum, A., Bavelier, D., & Green, C. S. (2014). Video games: Play that can do serious good.American Journal of Play,7(1), 50.
Kuhn, S., Gleich, T., Lorenz, R., Lindenberger, U., & Gallinat, J. (2014). Playing Super Mario induces structural brain plasticity: Gray matter changes resulting from training with a commercial video game. 19(2), 272.
Vahtivuori-Hänninen, S., Lehtonen, M. & Torkkeli, M. (2005). Group Investigation, Social Simulations, and Games as Support for Network-Based Education. In H. Ruokamo, P. Hyvönen, M. Lehtonen & S. Tella (Eds.), Teaching–Studying–Learning (TSL) Processes and Mobile Technologies—Multi-, Inter- and Transdisciplinary (MIT) Research Approaches (123–131). Proceedings of the 12th International Network-Based Education (NBE) conference (Former PEG) 2005. September 14–17, 2005, Rovaniemi, Finland. University of Lapland. Publications in Education 11.
Van Eck, R. (2009). A guide to integrating COTS games into your classroom. In R.E. Ferdig (Ed.), Handbook of research on effective electronic gaming in education. Hershey, PA: Information Science, 179–199.
Prepare for next week's 'Mobile Learning Activity' by downloading an app
  • If you have an iOS device, download the free Aris app and create an account
    • Note that there is more than one app called Aris - look for this icon and description
  • If you have an Android device, download the Sense-it app
  • Regardless of device, see what sensor-based apps you can download
    • e.g. Can your device measure temperature directly?
Search for re-training brain damage, detecting potential alzheimer's etc.

Why do you play games...
1. Killers - focus on competition
2. Achievers - focus on achieving goals quickly
3. Socialite - make connections
4. Explorers - drive to discover the unknown - this is the most common reason.

Choosing games for change:

Explore a historical context then find out about the 'Roman Town' so that you can build the town in Mine-craft. What talking, action and artefacts would need to be there? Why just an out of school activity? Could it be in class time.
Build a Roman World
The very first human settlement - move into a virtual tour. 
Could you set sections for aspects of the project - linking kids from around the world on the same project? (Year 8 - 13)
Teaching history through the medium of Mine-craft.

What is the purpose or reason?
Is it because they love Mine-craft or want to find out about history?

Minecraft is not a game, it is a sandpit in which anything can be created. 
Hangout - screen to show who is in the team
Mine-craft world - screen to show the virtual world

How can we tap into innate playfulness.....
If the game meets pedagogical outcomes then the game is a medium in which the learning takes place.

The inclusion of game mechanics and design into your learning environment.

Ted Talk...

Game dynamics that can influence people.
Last 10 years has been building the social layer of the Internet connections - Facebook 
The game layer is all about influence the behaviour of where you go and what you do there. 

Game dynamics:
The appointment dynamic - do something as a determined time and place
- happy hour, come here at a certain hour and get money off your drinks!
- help people take their medicine on time - tweets, e-mails, give points if you achieve

Influence and Status - We want that brand, credit card, car .....
- I desperately want to earn that badge and be at a higher level
- school is a game... earning rewards B+ etc.

Progression Dynamic - 85% complete
- progress bar taking you through the steps to complete
- wanting to level-up to earn rewards and get better
- use games to drive businesses to use local business, unlocking rewards, coffee cards

Communal Discovery - all work together to achieve something

This next decade is the decade of games. 

Assessment needs to be built into the game- removing the need for assessment. The game must teach the skills within the game.

The assessment needs to be continuous and part of the process. There should be adaptive elements that help the person perfect their skills in a difficult areas. It should be based around problem solving.

Examine the school on the website and compare to your own. Come up with a proposal on how your school could incorporate the 7 principles of gaming. 

Focus: Environment Year 7 & 8
This Quest would fit really well into the key principles of an Enviro School.
Imaginative narrative that starts it all off - embedded in survival stories. (play based focus)
What can we set in place to help the Earth survive so that students at _____ school can thrive?

Task cards:
  1. Focus on Junior school, middle school, senior or staff areas.
  2. Select your focus area: supporting the Earth within our school, developing our bodies within the environment, developing our minds by finding out about the environment -
  3. ID the key problems in their area - empathy & define the key issues
  4. Follow the design process - gathering many ideas and options, adapting and improving.
  5. Make a prototype or run a mini-lesson to check effect.
  6. Present and share your final product.
  7. Constantly evaluate your team on the rubric.

Working in teams with roles identified.
Clear rubrics to show levels of achievement.
Assessment oral and product based: activities run for juniors, plant information trail, fitness trail….
Complex problem - outcome supports local community but co-created by learning community, all learning is directly relevant and can be applied to own life.
Take their ideas through the design process - getting ideas from their clients - Junior, middle school, seniors or staff.
Completion by running workshops, setting up a fitness trail….
Re-set and evaluate goals using the AGILE approach.

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