ECGBL is the place to be if you are a researcher, practitioner, enthusiast, developer and designer of game-based learning. ECGBL 2018 has been such an inspiration this year with interesting presentations, games and posters. We are proud to be involved this year and looking forward to following up old and new contacts and networks. 2019 will be a busy year indeed- if not busier! But all good.
Thanks to Skema Business School for organising the conference this year. A shout out to the team, especially Melanie, Sophie, Margarida and Cindy. And thanks for inviting me to keynote and share our views on co-creativity. I hope that it has inspired more work to be done in this area, exploiting existing playful and gameful inspirations. My keynote slides:
The keynote discussed the importance of understanding the basic needs of those who are at the frontline when it comes to implementing and deploying game-based learning. The sense of ownership, autonomy in co-creative practices can be part of a positive climate for non-designers to flourish in designing and creating their own game-based resources. I also touched on the behavioural change theory as described in this post on keeping it simple for encouraging creativity in remixing existing play and games inspiration.
The conference has also provided the opportunity for us to share other perspectives and findings from the various projects we are involved in and also in partnership with colleagues from Malaysia, Spain, Romania and France. The 6 papers are briefly described below.
Paper 1: Co-Creativity With Playful and Gameful Inspirations
Sylvester Arnab, Luca Morini and Samantha Clarke , Disruptive Media Learning Lab, Coventry University, UK
This paper discusses the importance of co-creativity in facilitating an engaging learning process based on the GameChangers initiative (gamify.org.uk) part-funded by the Higher Education Funding Council of England (HEFCE). Taking into account the relationship between play, technology and learning, the design of the initiative itself fully embraces and accommodates for the creation and development of games of any typology (board games, card games, digital games, etc.) and playful solutions (gamified products) as freely chosen by the participants, be them students or staff. By engaging in these practices, participants were intended to obtain valuable knowledge in creative and collaborative problem solving, experience game design and development process and even, possibly, address real challenges and opportunities in their communities. The focus however is on the creative process rather than the end products/solutions produced by the participants. The paper will specifically discuss the methodology and findings from an experimental module developed based on the approach involving level 2 undergraduate students (n=30) from the different schools and faculties at Coventry University, UK. Based on the qualitative feedback and reflections collected in week 5 and week 10 of the modules, the co-creative process inspired by play and games demonstrates that through the process, students discover the importance of elements such as empathy, purpose, meaning, art, creativity and teamwork in their learning regardless of the specific disciplines they are pursuing.
Keywords: co-creativity, playful learning, game-based learning, game design, higher education
Paper 2: Game Design Thinking as a Strategy for Community Engagement in a Rural Indigenous Village
Jacey-Lynn Minoi, John Phoa, Fitri Mohamad, Terrin Lim, Social Informatics and Technological Innovations, University Malaysia Sarawak, Malaysia
Sylvester Arnab, Luca Morini, J. Beaufoy and S. Clarke, Disruptive Media Learning Lab, Coventry University, UK
This paper presents the formulated ‘play-to-engage’ model for community engagement that incorporates factors in cultural protocols and the game design thinking approach. The model was experimented in an indigenous rural village in Borneo. Engagement was done with a group of indigenous community leaders, teachers and indigenous students from the village. It is a known fact that all indigenous cultures have overwhelming cultural protocols and rural custom practices for researchers to adhere to and follow. Since game is a universal language, the creation of a trustworthy partnership between the community and researchers was made easier using play during the engagement process. Incorporating a fun gameplay approach could also be a solution to thrive on reflection and creativity of those individuals in capturing the needs of the study. The outcome of the engagement was positive and the communities’ needs, issues, experiences and motivation were collected during the play.
Keywords: cultural protocol, play-to-engage, game design thinking for community engagement
Paper 3: Engaging Primary Schools in Rural Malaysia With Game-Based Learning: Culture, Pedagogy, Technology
Fitri Mohamad, Jacey-Lynn Minoi, Social Informatics and Technological Innovations, University Malaysia Sarawak, Malaysia
Luca Morini, Sylvester Arnab, Disruptive Media Learning Lab, Coventry University, Coventry, UK
Mustea and Herman (2015) suggested that social constructionism enables learners to explore new understanding and knowledge through social interactions. In the same theoretical tradition, Gee (2016) and Kafai (2015) have suggested that games and game literacy constitute a particularly powerful and engaging path toward the social constructionist pedagogical perspective, where creative social interactions are scaffolded by a playful context in which learners can interact with self-directed purpose and heightened interest. Following these theoretical groundings, this paper presents findings and experiences in bringing game-based learning to two primary schools in two different remote rural locations in Sarawak, Malaysia, and articulates both the challenges and the opportunities that emerge when introducing this innovative approach in a context that is very different from the standard, Western, urban, tech-centred classroom that is the “object” of most experimentations. Sharing similar (and, from a urban perspective, disadvantaged) socio-economic backgrounds, students at these schools were introduced to a variety of game-based learning materials (both digital and analog) which were designed in alignment with both the national curriculum for Science, Mathematics and English, and the cultural-technical specifics of their everyday living contexts. The paper discusses how context, intended contents and pedagogical approach informed the design, the deployment and the impact of these activities. The paper then moves to discuss the relevance of incorporating local values into the design of game-based learning for remote rural students, how games can enable critical and creative thinking to be encouraged in a playful social context, and the opportunity for students and teachers to become the designers of their own culturally informed game-based learning tools.
Keywords: social constructionism, game-based learning, rural schools
Paper 4: Co-Creativity Assessment in the Process of Game Creation
Margarida Romero, Cindy De Smet, Sarra Abdelouma, Laboratoire d’Innovation et Numérique pour l’Education, Université Côte d’Azur, Nice, France
Sylvester Arnab, Luca Morini, Disruptive Media Learning Lab, Coventry University, UK
Jacey-Lynn Minoi, Fitri Mohamad, Social Informatics and Technological Innovations, University Malaysia Sarawak, Malaysia
We consider game design as a sociocultural and knowledge modelling activity, engaging the participation in the design of a scenario and a game universe based on a real or imaginary socio-historical context, where characters can introduce life narratives and interaction that display either known social realities or entirely new ones. In this research, participants of the co-creation activity are Malaysian students who are working in groups to design educational games for rural school children. After the co-creativity activity, learners were invited to answer the co-creativity scale, an adapted version of the Assessment Scale of Creative Collaboration (ASCC), combining both the co-creativity factors and learners’ experiences on their interests, and the difficulties during the co-creativity process. The preliminary results showed a high diversity on the participants’ attitudes towards collaboration, especially related to their preferences towards individual or collaborative work.
Keywords: game-based learning, game design, creativity, co-creativity process, collaboration
Paper 5: Blending Context-Aware Challenges Into Learning Environments
Ioana Andreea Ștefan, Antoniu Ștefan, Ancuța Florentina Gheorghe, Advanced Technology Systems, Târgoviște, Romania
Pau Yanez, Geomotion, Marie Curie, Barcelona, Spain
Michael Loizou, Sylvester Arnab and Jayne Beaufoy, Disruptive Media Learning Lab, Coventry University, UK
There is a growing expectation for educational environments to be more flexible and more engaging, not only for students, but also for teachers. Project-based Learning and cooperative learning have emerged as opportunities to create motivating learning contexts that focus on teaching students how to find information, how to test the information they have discovered, and then how to apply that information in a creative way for a specific purpose. Moreover, it is important to consider that students, once integrated into the work force, are not individual performers. Key skills have evolved to a blend of competencies that range from STEM skills to social ones. It is equally important that students explore the skills that are not part of the standard curriculum and they learn how to collaborate, how to be self-aware, how to empathize, how to work out conflicts and so on. However, creating such rich learning contexts requires extra efforts from teachers, and existing educational tools still need to become more user friendly to encourage actual adoption. Even if opportunities for innovation exist, these have not been fully exploited and large-scale implementations remain an issue. This paper explores the addedvalue that context-aware services can bring to education and presents the construction process of context-based gamified learning paths that support multi-skill acquisition. The implementation is supported by an Authoring Tool for Context-aware Challenges (AT-CC) and minigames developed within the BEACONING Project. AT-CC is a tool that enables teachers, acting as learning designers, to create metagames, which are pervasive, game-driven experiences that increase student motivation and engagement. The metagames created with the AT-CC tool integrate minigames into the context-based experiences, so, when students are playing, they have the opportunity to enhance their knowledge and skills. Teachers can easily customize both the context-aware paths and the minigames to create new experiences adapted to new locations and specific learning objectives.
Keywords: metagame, minigame, GPS, beacons, STEM, BEACONING
Paper 6: Remixing Dungeons and Dragons: A Playful Approach to Student Self-Reflection
Samantha Clarke, Sylvester Arnab, Luca Morini and Lauren Heywood Disruptive Media Learning Lab, Coventry, UK
A learner’s capability to critically reflect on an ongoing or newly accomplished learning experience, shapes their own proficiency to further connect previous knowledge to build on and construct rich meaning from new assignments (Zimmerman, 2002). These meaningful insights are essential for learners, allowing them to consider knowledge learned and apply relevant skills into different contexts and settings at a later date. Self-reflection allows students to develop their metacognition skills and work towards a practice that encourages continuous learning. Dungeons and Dragons (D&D), a table-top roleplaying games system developed by Gygax and Arneson (1974), utilises a host of game mechanics such as, but not limited to: character creation, customisation, skills development, leveling over time, story-telling and a game-masters feedback. Many of the game mechanics in D&D, require the player to self-reflect on behalf of their character and continually assess how they wish their character to develop for future game sessions. Coupled with interactive feedback (visual/ written/ auditory/ narrative-development) that is provided throughout each game session from a game master who leads the players through a pre-developed story, the basis of the mechanics provides some similarities to a facilitator leading learners through an assignment. By remixing D&D with Self-Reflection and formative assessment principles, the authors present a playful example of how roleplaying games can be used as a basis to develop lifelong learning skills. This paper presents the design, method and mid-pilot feedback of the Remixed D&D: Reflection and Assessment system. The authors present a discussion of the next stage of the pilot trials and present their considerations of future work.
Keywords: gamification, self-reflection, formative assessment, Dungeons & Dragons, role-play
It is also encouraging to see our work in GameChangers, LMGM and Trans-disciplinary methodology adopted and adapted in the various research work presented at the conference. Feel free to contact us for future collaborations!
Looking forward to the next ECGBL. The call for paper is already out and it will definitely be another exciting event for the GBL community!