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Implementing Games into education for Digital Natives

Citation: Olliges, R. (2007). TORNADOS ARE SWIRLING: IMPLEMENTING GAMES FOR THE “DIGITAL NATIVES.”. Journal Of Philosophy & History Of Education, 57124-127

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Summary: The article talks about five phases of a technology adoption life cycle, innovators, early adopters, early majority, late majority and laggards, according to their willingness and enthusiasm toward new technology. Olliges then describes corresponding key elements of games to learning. In highlight, a game itself should include the following attributes score achievement system, repetition yet variety problems, privacy and competition, while an effective game based learning education is reflected by students communicate with faculty, students cooperate with one another, students direct interact with the games, and how main objective delivers to the students.

The reason computer games are so engaging is because the primary objective of the game designer is to keep the user engaged…. Gameplay is all the doing, thinking and decision making that makes a game either fun, or not (Prensky, 2002, pp. 1 & 9). Motivation is achieved by keeping the player engaged at every moment

Games based learning is a new technological innovation in which gaming is serving as primary platform of skills training. One main advantage of games based learning over the traditional platform is interest trigger. The term gaming pertains much more relaxing and less burden connotation than the  word lecturing does. It is a significant notion because actually engaging students into the lessons is the very first step to have them absorbing knowledge.

Marc Prensky’s (2001, p 119-124) Digital-Games Based Learning identified six key structural game elements: (1) rules, (2) goals and objectives, (3) outcomes and feedback, (4) competition/challenge/ opposition, (5) interaction, and (6) representation or story

In order to put forth games based learning in school system, the general concept must be defined and formalized as close to a traditional education’s curriculum as possible. First of all, games based learning needs a rule to ensure proper practice and no cheating, like policies within a classroom setting. Secondly, it must have well defined goals and objectives that serve as typical guideline of what lessons it wants to delivery and what students should achieve from it. It also needs to give students feedback of what they have done and what they should’ve or did a good job. Competition is another key to intrigue and encourage students to try harder. Lastly, it must provide a exploitable and complex scenarios that interesting enough to engage and train their decision making skills.

Olliges focus more on the key structures and essential expectations that games based learning should have. Some of the main ideas he highlights in this paper that cross intersect with the “Framing the Adoption of Serious Games in Formal Education” are the neccessity of teachers facilitate the classroom conduct, students’ engagement in games, collaboration and competition. Moreover, all three articles mention about how the entertainment aspect of game based learning would benefit the digital natives’s learning.

Learning through Gamer Disposition

Citation: Wyld, D. C. (2009). Developing the “Gamer Disposition”: The Key to Training and Learning with the Digital Native Generation May be “Serious Games”…Seriously. Competition Forum, 7(2), 354-360

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Summary: Notice the powerful and yet stop rising video games industry,  Wyld studies the possibility of implementing video games and virtual world in teaching the digital natives in his paper. Using variety of charts and statistics, he shows a significant engagement of the digital natives to online space nowadays. Thus, he proposes how MMOG would provide a beneficial platform for practical life experiences.

Studies have shown that on average, players log approximately twenty hours per week in virtual worlds (Dell, 2008). Holmes (2007) pronounced that “For young people, it will feel like second nature to live in a virtual world like Second Life” (n.p.). Why do kids flock to virtual worlds? The answer may lie in the opinions of Weiss (2007), who observed: “It seems that kids unlike adults are very good partners to the idea of alternative identities and cultures. I think kids perceive second worlds as games platforms which offer some more reality features. For adults second world’s concept takes an opposite direction. It provides a visualized experience with almost no resemblance to your reality” (n.p.).

Younger generation, or also known as the digital natives, are familiar and fluent with technology just like how they breath. They are comfortable managing variety of online accounts, or having multiple gaming characters. Yet older generation, or the digital immigrants who had lived through the major transformation of the Internet Age, look at it as an excessive, ominous use.  Wyld is bringing up a notable differences here which is significantly impact on process of adopting game based learning and adapting of this new technological innovation. If the youth are willing for such exciting changes, educators, politicians and corporation leaders, who are in charge of making these changes, are hesitate in front such dynamic idea.

Virtual worlds such as Second Life and World of Warcraft are proving to be effective training and learning environments in that they are a space that “provides a social laboratory where role-playing, simulations, exploration, and experimentation can be tried out in a relatively risk-free environment” (Graves, 2008, n.p.). In a game, an individual will try and fail – often many, many times – to learn the moves necessary to “slay the dragon” to either earn points and/or advance levels. Unlike in traditional training and learning environments, there is what Wagner (2008) terms “permission to fail” in the games, as small failures are built into the process to allow for overall learning and advancement to take place.

The significant distinction between a real world and a virtual world is there is no going back in real world. People are always encouraged to try because there must be failure to have a valuable success. Try, fail, learn the mistake, then change is a common path to success and is a lesson that everyone should know. Based on that idea, virtual world is a perfect way to imply such message. It provides for kids a way to virtually experience on their own what consequences they would have with their decision making. Striving to expose children to real world problems through role-playing games or simulations would be a useful, ethical education tool.

Similar to the article Framing the Adoption of Serious Games in Formal Education, Wyld also mentions about the noticably rising popularity of gaming in digital natives’ daily life. Further adds on to the general idea of how to conduct a game based learning and integrate it into a formal setting, he is focusing on how specific type of game, in this case MMOG or role-play, would benefit children learning.

Adopting gaming in Formal Education

Citation: Arnab, S., Berta, R., Earp, J., de Freitas, S., Popescu, M., Romero, M., & … Usart, M. (2012). Framing the Adoption of Serious Games in Formal Education. Electronic Journal Of E-Learning, 10(2), 159-171

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Summary: The article discusses about how to integrate the arise popularity of gaming into education by explaining different pedagogy designing approach and the adaptive need as a student and teacher. Through researches and studies examples, the authors show that Serious Game is effective and beneficial under a monitor, guiding environment. Two main pedagogy approach to develop a game based learning are game oriented perspective, which focus on internal design, and context based perspective, which is more about developing the game upon its predetermined objective. Yet there are some obstacles that prevent smooth compatibility between a good game plot and a good education curriculum.

In order to understand how games can best be exploited within a formally structured educational context, we need to look not just at the nature of the game as such but also at how the game and its characteristics can be adopted and leveraged to enhance learning within the structural, organisational and cultural constraints of institutional education (Johnston & Whitehead 2008).

A game based learning curriculum is a complementary product between a proper designed, engaging  games with well defined objective and an external instruction guideline to put forth its primary educating purpose. As we all would agree, a typical obstacle when it comes to learning is distraction and unwillingness to commit to non-entertainment works. When refer about gaming, most kids would have an excited anticipation, or at least more favorable expectation than stiffing lectures or reading books. So the key of such technological innovation is to develop an interesting enough to capture students’ attentions games yet still be able to assure lessons quality. Technological issue aside, higher expectation of educators is another key to achieve a harmonious integration between entertainment and education. First of all, educators must ready to step up to this dynamic changes. Even it is a game, let kids learn under unrestrained environment don’t show to be effective. There still be a need for conducting a lesson,  highlighting main objectives, recapping materials, facilitating discussions, and ensuring students proper behaviors.

The so-called 21st century curriculum is competency based, centred on what students know and can do. It is a curriculum focused on the upper levels of Bloom’s taxonomy – analysing, evaluating, creating (Krathwohl 2002). It is research driven and based on active learning processes whereby the student is no longer spoon-fed, but is encouraged to engage actively with appropriate levels of guidance and scaffolding. It is a curriculum connected to students’ interests, experience and talent, and relates to the real world. It allows students a certain degree of freedom in selecting what, when and how to learn, according to their cognitive and metacognitive abilities. Given that the educational value of games has already been recognised (Gredler 1996), considerable benefit would be gained from aligning games with the curriculum. However, introducing SG into the curriculum requires careful consideration by decision-making bodies and teachers alike.

Advantages of game based learning are providing more practical, freedom learning experience compare to the traditional way. Human’s intelligent potential is unpredictably powerful, so instead of jailing it up under a strict, inflexible education system, let it freely explore and expand. This new education system strive for higher level cognitive ability like problem solving, inquiry, collaboration and creativity. After all, these skills are an essential foundation to successfully build off upon any other career path.