Key to reducing the barriers of time and physical space in teaching and learning is to open up education in such a way that formal/informal learning contexts, and digital/physical experiences are blended. Exploiting current advances in digital technologies allow for learning processes to be better situated in a learner’s context, needs and surroundings, where many different forms of learning experience can be combined in working toward the desired learning outcomes.
To understand how digital and physical learning contexts could be exploited to enhance the learning experience of learners, there is a need to study students’ engagement with learning spaces, pedagogical (such as game-based learning, gamification for learning) techniques as well as technologies to understand learning dynamics in physical and digital environments, and the extension of learning beyond the limitation of a physical classroom by looking at relevant enabling technologies. It is thus important for educational institutions to evaluate and possibly re-design how formal spaces are used in teaching and learning and how digital platforms can help facilitate delivery, application and assessment of learning in informal context.
Advances in ubiquitous computing, mobile and location-based technologies open up opportunities for digitally-enabled learning to be facilitated in everyday spaces, increasing flexibility for learning experience to be made more engaging, contextualised and seamless. With game-based learning and gamification in mind, potentials include games or gamified activities taking place in the physical world, concurrently with the normal activities of learners’ everyday lives, where virtual actions may be the trigger for physical actions in the real world and vice versa. Example games with serious purposes that adopt such a pervasive approach include Zombies Run- an adventure location-based mobile game that advocates running, and Ingress- transforming local landmarks into game objects in a viral and global gaming, provides an avenue for teaching and learning to be made more playful and pervasive.
Pervasive gaming is getting a lot of attention recently since PokemonGo marched on to the forefront of the mainstream. This opens up opportunities for technology-enabled pervasive play-learning to be embedded in education fostering an ecosystem where informal activities are recognised as an important extension to formal delivery and instructions. This will allow us to inject educational play in both formal/informal and digital/physical spaces and contexts.
The Beaconing project is exploring this opportunity as a response to an increasing appetite for such an approach. In the process, we will investigate the crossings between pervasive gaming and gamification and how the digital connectedness will supersize the playful experience that may transform into the new “norm” in teaching and learning. We however need to be careful in terms of providing support to the teachers, who are at the forefront. The ability to reuse, adapt and/or create new pervasive play-lesson plan will hopefully expand and extend the impact of learning beyond the traditional classroom setup.
I will talk about the ideas that underpin the project and where we are so far at the coming Gamification World Congress. The project has also been nominated as a finalist for the GWC Best Education Project 2016 at the congress.