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Responding to social, economic, and technological trends which make games the most powerful medium for reaching young learners, The Education Arcade project, based in the MIT Comparative Media Studies Program, seeks to prototype games that teach, develop curricular materials which support existing commercial titles, and help prepare teachers to use games in the classroom. This article reports on the first three prototypes that are producing -- Supercharged! (electromagnetism), Environmental Detectives (environmental science) and Revolution (American History).
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ACM Computers in Entertainment, Vol. 1, No. 1, October 2003, Article 08,
Comparative Media Studies, MIT
Responding to social, economic, and technological trends that make games the most powerful medium for
reaching young learners, The Education Arcade project, based in the MIT Comparative Media Studies Program,
seeks to prototype games that teach, develop curricular materials which support existing commercial titles, and
help prepare teachers to use games in the classroom. This article reports on the first three prototypes that are
producing: Supercharged! (electromagnetism); Environmental Detectives (environmental science);and
Revolution (American history).
Categories and Subject Descriptors; I.3.8 [Computer Graphics]: Applications
General Terms: Design, Experimentation, Human Factors
Additional Key Words and Phrases: Computer graphics, video games, simulation, education, handhelds,
educational technology, augmented reality
You have entered a typical public high school just a few years from now.
In the American history class, the teacher has just told the students to log off a
multiplayer game that simulated the events leading up to the American Revolution and to
begin comparing their experiences through class discussion. One student has been a
merchant embittered by British taxation, another a banker fiercely loyal to the crown, a
third a blacksmith trying to do business with all sides, and a fourth a slave being tempted
by British soldiers with promises of freedom if he joins their ranks.
In the biology class, students compare notes on last night’s homework, which had
them design their own virus to see if it could overcome the antibodies and infect the
human host. The teacher asks the students to identify properties that enable viruses to
spread fast and survive longer. One student has cheated by reading ahead in the textbook,
which produces groans from her classmates and a secret smile from her teacher.
In the psychology class, students are doing experiments on “sims,” trying to
determine which model of mind governs behavior, and keep consulting the blackboard
where the teacher’s notes from yesterday’s lecture are still visible.
Authors’ Address: Comparative Media Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Ave.,
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The environmental science classroom is empty. Teams of students are wandering the
school grounds, going back and forth between data displayed on their handhelds and
observations of their real-world surroundings, trying to be the first to locate and remedy
the source of a fictional chemical leak.
In the physics classroom, students are taking a test. You can tell because they have
turned off the volume on their GameBoys and are trying to solve a series of challenging
levels that require them to plant electronic charges, which they use to propel themselves
through mazes.
Has education become nothing but fun and games? Not exactly. In each case, the
games are being integrated into a range of other curricular activities. Games are
enhancing traditional educational tools such as lectures, discussions, lab reports,
homework, fieldtrips, tests, and textbooks. Games are being allowed to do what games do
best, while other kinds of teaching support those lessons.
These are just a few of the scenarios for the future of games and education developed
over the past two years by the Microsoft-MIT iCampus project, Games to Teach. Faculty
and students in the MIT Comparative Media Studies Program, consulting with educators
and game designers, developed more than fifteen conceptual prototypes: design
documents for games which might support teaching across math, science, the humanities,
the arts, and the social sciences at an advanced high school or early college level. You
can access them at
These games reflect different pedagogical models, game genres, platforms, and
classroom uses, showing the diverse ways in which educators of the future may be able to
deploy computer and video games to enhance learning. Pretty much everything described
in those design documents could be done now, given the current state of game technology
and existing approaches to game design. The next challenges will be as much economic
(how do we pay for the development of educational games); social (how do we train a
generation of teachers to integrate such games meaningfully into their total curricular
activities); and political (how do we make a case for the kind of in-depth understanding
these games facilitate in an era of standardized testing?).
There are several factors fueling the push for educational games. First, there is a
growing recognition that for the current generation of high school and college students,
games constitute the medium of choice. The Pew Internet and American Life Center
recently reported the results of a survey of more than a thousand undergraduates from 27
American colleges and universities. One hundred percent of all respondents had played
computer games; 65 percent described themselves as regular or occasional gamers.
Similar results were found in our survey of some 650 MIT freshman, which found that 88
percent of them had played games before they were 10 years old, and more than 75
percent were still playing games at least once a month. The average MIT student spent
more hours each week playing games than going to the movies, watching television, or
reading nonassigned books. Right now, the bulk of educational games are aimed at early
childhood education, while the core of game players are in their teens and twenties. The
challenge is how to design games that communicate more sophisticated content.
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Second, there is the astonishing rate of technological development in the games
industry. The current generation of commercial games includes powerful simulations of
real-world systems, complex AI embodiments of human thought processes, and
immersive and responsive environments which allow players enormous flexibility in
making their own decisions and playing out the consequences. The medium is now
robust enough to support a broad range of school content. At the same time, these games
often ship with their own level editors or other mod tools allowing amateurs to customize
the content, design their own “skins,” and develop their own environments. These tools
are sophisticated enough to allow educational researchers to develop games that are as
sophisticated and graphically compelling as those currently on the market. They will also
support the exchange of customized materials among a global network of educators. -
Third, many of the top-selling titles – Sim City, Civilization, and Railroad Tycoon
already inform as well as entertain. These games are being used in classes now, but we
need to develop customized modifications, curricular materials, instructional activities,
and teacher-training programs to assist deployment in the schoolhouse.
While educators have historically displayed open suspicion and hostility towards
games, blaming them for everything from school shootings to poor attention spans, a
critical number of new teachers have grown up as gamers, and so have a greater
appreciation of what the medium can do. A swelling number of government agencies,
educational experts, think tanks, and corporate labs also embrace educational gaming.
Responding to these opportunities, the Games to Teach Project is evolving into The
Education Arcade, a collaboration of MIT’s Comparative Media Studies Program and the
University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Educational Technologies Program. The Education
Arcade will support research and prototyping of educational games, with the hopes of
partnering with game companies to spin the games off for commercial development. The
Arcade will launch new efforts in the area of game literacy education, which will help
teachers and students learn to develop their own games; it will develop curricular
materials to support the classroom application of existing commercial games; and will
work to pull together key stakeholders to form a consortium to do for games what the
Children’s Television Workshop did for broadcasting: support experimentation and
implementation of fresh new ideas, which might not emerge otherwise in the current
commercial context. Next May, thanks to the generous support of the Entertainment
Software Association, the Education Arcade will host a special track of programming at
the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), the leading trade show in the games industry.
Two days of programming will bring game companies, textbook publishers, major
cultural institutions, major research universities, governmental agencies, and foundations
together in one room, to examine the existing research, share best practices, and figure
out how we can work together to develop concrete plans for taking educational gaming to
the next level.
Here, we describe work currently being done on three educational titles:
Supercharged!, Environmental Detectives, and Revolution. In each case, the Education
Arcade team is developing playable prototypes that can be tested in real classrooms and
generate meaningful assessment data on their effectiveness.
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Computer simulations are changing the nature of science. Using digital technologies,
scientists can build models of entire worlds, ranging from the insides of an atom to the
infrastructure of cities. Scientists learn from simulations all the time, by visualizing
Fig. 1
systems, testing ideas, and ultimately gaining new insights into how systems behave as
they compare simulations to the real world.
Digital simulations can give us new perspectives on systems; we can literally see
what the world looks like from the perspective of, say, a charged particle flying through a
magnetic field. Physics teachers frequently ask students to do “thought experiments” as a
way to test students’ understanding of complex phenomena.
At MIT we created a game, Supercharged!, to make this kind of scientific exercise
more vivid and more widely accessible. The premise of the game is simple. A classroom
of students is observing a classic standard physics experiment: the use of a Van der Graaf
generator to create electric fields. The teacher flips on Supercharged, an educational film
about electromagnetism. A plucky young student is distracted by the whizzing belts of
the Van der Graaf generator, and decides to pick up the lighting rod herself to create
some fun. This backfires, and she’s propelled into Supercharged!, an abstract world of
electric charges, electric fields, magnetic fields, charged spheres – all of the basics of a
physics textbook, but come to life in 3D.
Players must try and save their class, leading the class through maze-like
electromagnetic worlds. Players spin, careen, and bounce through levels by changing
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their charge and by strategically placing charges to move the ship through space.
Building on the properties of racing, flying, maze and puzzle games, Supercharged! is
Fig. 2
designed to help students to systematically build understanding of electromagnetic
Over the past year, we have been testing Supercharged! in middle school, high
school, and college classrooms. We found that the game can make very complex ideas
accessible to a wide variety of students, from middle school students failing science to
MIT students studying second-semester physics.
Observing MIT students learn with Supercharged!, we found that even MIT students
had a number of inaccurate ideas about basic electrostatic concepts, which could be
changed by playing the game. The following thought experiment is taken from John
Belcher’s physics course at MIT (it became the basis for a few of our levels). Imagine
that you are a positively-charged particle free to fly through space, surrounded by an
arrangement of negatively-charged particles. Which way do you think the particle will
go? What forces are being exerted on the charged particle?
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This kind of problem maps very cleanly to a computer game level where the player is
a ship trying to move through electric fields to reach a goal. The positive charge is
attracted to the closest negative charge, since the force of attraction between two particles
grows weaker over a distance.
Watching students wrestle with the implications of this concept while they played the
game, we constructed a series of levels where players had to confront similar problems.
The level shown below tricked many students, as they believed that the two negative
charges would “cancel” each other out and the positive charge would fly straight to the
goal. Observing students play, and interviewing them about their conceptual
understanding of charged particles, uncovered several misconceptions about how charges
work. Many students believed that positive and negative charges negate one another or
that distance had relatively little effect on the force created by two charged particles.
In the spring of 2003, we, along with Mike Barnett of Boston College, designed a
curriculum for Supercharged! and took the game into three middle school classes. Both
boys and girls were immediately drawn to the game; but frequently played the game
differently. Many boys saw the activity as a direct competition either among themselves
or against the game (and its designers). Once these boys cleared a level, they had no
interest in replaying it or trying different strategies; the game was there to be beat. Other
students, many of them girls, enjoyed replaying levels, or simply flying through the
world, placing charges and testing ideas about how the electrostatics work.
Contrary to some worries, no students seemed to mind that the game graphics were
not comparable to most commercial games or that the game was nonviolent. Echoing
comments we heard from MIT students, the middle-school students were thoughtful
critics, and complained if control mechanisms did not reflect standard game design
practices or levels were poorly designed.
At the end of the unit, we gave post-tests to all students and interviewed roughly 20 of
them, and then compared the results with those of students who learned electrostatics
through more traditional means. On average, students who played Supercharged! did
about 20% better on the post-test than students in the control group. There were no
significant differences between boys and girls.
Perhaps most importantly, students who learned through the game had a much deeper
understanding of scientific visualizations and the principles of electromagnetism. The
game players explained how field lines (those around charged particles) depict forces
useful for steering. Compare this level of understanding to that of the student in a control
group who also answered the test question but could not explain why. Later, she told the
researcher, “I don’t know why it looks that way. The teacher said so and showed us a
picture and that was what it looked like.” Well-crafted levels confront students’
misunderstandings and help them see scientific concepts in new ways. Knowledge
developed through game play is not pointless information to be recalled for tests, but is
valuable information when confronting new challenges and solving problems.
The students leave the classroom and head outdoors, carrying sophisticated
environmental sampling equipment and spatial analysis tools capable of conducting real-
time diagnostics on groundwater samples hundreds of feet below the surface. Their goal
is to uncover the source of the environmental health problems that had recently been
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plaguing the community. In the process of their investigation, the students have to consult
with experts, evaluate testimony, conduct environmental testing on toxic chemicals, and
map their data in real time and real space. Time isn’t on their side, since they have to file
Fig. 3
a plan for containing the problem with the EPA that afternoon and the contaminant has
affected a large area, which the students have to cover to collect the needed information.
There are elements of this scenario that probably sound familiar. It is now quite
common for students to head out into the field and take samples from the local
environment to measure indicators like pH, temperature or dissolved oxygen. However,
in this case, the students deal with an environmental problem that affects the community,
they handle toxic chemicals, employ sophisticated sampling equipment, and command
drilling rigs that bore down into the earth.
While the latter format is motivating and authentic, it also sounds dangerous and
expensive. This is where the technology steps in. While the students and the space in
which they play are real, the chemicals and the instruments they use are virtual. We call
this hybrid of real space and simulated data “augmented reality.” Our first augmented
reality game, Environmental Detectives, challenges teams of students to take on the roles
of environmental engineers as they conduct simulated field tests, consult with virtual
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colleagues, and design solutions for problems. The game takes place outdoors, and data is
provided to the students via location-aware GPS-enabled Pocket PCs. The game is both
collaborative and competitive, as teams must work together to collect data but must also
compete to present the best possible solution.
We found this combination of real and virtual experience effective in engaging
students in the authentic practices of environmental engineers, an experience that most
students would not have had otherwise. In our first year of research, we intensively
studied the use of Environmental Detectives with high school and university classes at
two locations. These studies provided insight into both the technology and what students
know about the process they are trying to simulate. On the technological side, we found
that students successfully navigated augmented realities, using cues from the real world
to help them understand the problem in the simulated world. With the help of content
experts, we analyzed the process that students follow in the game and found that the
game accurately portrays the critical disciplinary practices of integrating primary data
(quantitative data collected by the scientists themselves) and secondary data (often
qualitative and collected from other experts). Students, however, had great difficulty with
this, instead relying exclusively on qualitative secondary data collected from interviews
or quantitative primary data collected from their virtual samples. Future iterations might
provide greater scaffolding for this process by analyzing patterns of investigation and
suggesting to students when it might be appropriate to switch modes if they are relying
too heavily on one source of data or the other.
Due to their dependence on spatial and geographic information, these games are of
necessity tied to particular locations. This is a great asset to the game, since the real
location plays a large part in the course of events. It also means that the game cannot
simply be played anywhere, but must be customized for each new location. Bringing the
game to a new location requires more than just changing the GPS coordinates of events.
Each game must incorporate local information, personalities, and concerns. The original
incarnation of Environmental Detectives took place on the MIT campus, involved human
health issues, and relied on the local faculty expertise. The second version of the game
took place at a nature center and working farm. At this site, the game included animal
health problems and relied on the expertise of the environmentalists on site.
Transporting these games across locations required the creation of a toolkit that
allows customization. This toolkit enables teams to incorporate their own maps, media,
contexts, and local data into the dynamics of Environmental Detectives. A single instance
of the application is hosted on a GPS enabled Pocket PC. The team then uses desktop
based software to collect their media, assemble their data, map the chemicals, craft their
story, and deploy it all to the Pocket PC. This approach not only provides schools with
customized versions of the game, but can involve students and teachers in the game-
creation process as they design the specific scenario for their location. By creating their
own games, they can build an even deeper understanding of the issues at hand.
Revolution is a multiplayer historical role-playing game, being developed in collaboration
with Colonial Williamsburg. Each student assumes the role of a townsperson in a colonial
Virginia community confronting the events leading up to the American revolution. Each
has his or her own responsibilities, daily routines, and political allegiances as the town
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works through the events surrounding the revolution. Some are loyalists, some
revolutionaries, some neutral (or as close as they can be to nonpartisan). Some are upper
class, some working class, and some indentured servants or slaves. Each class forms its
own town, though it may be possible for different classrooms to form villages up and
down the Eastern seaboard and to send each other news about how the events impact
their communities.
The game world is big enough so that each student can play an important part, small
enough that their actions matter in shaping what happens. The game unfolds through a
series of short episodes, each playable within about 40 minutes, each designed to stage a
key event and play out its consequences for the different factions within the community.
They (the factions) make decisions based on the information available: decrees issued by
the royal governor, letters from the committees of correspondence, newspapers and
pamphlets, oral gossip. Wherever possible, the game will draw on primary documents
and encourage players to read them for what they are – partial and partisan accounts of a
contemporary controversy.
Revolution builds on what we already know about the value of combining research
and role-playing in teaching history, that is, the game offers kids the chance not simply to
visit a “living history” museum like Williamsburg, but to personally experience the
choices that confronted historical figures. Combining the perspectives of social, military,
and political history, Revolution helps students to appreciate the interplay between
personal and local concerns (making a living, marrying off your children, preparing for a
party) and the kinds of national and very public concerns that are the focus of American
history classes (the stamp tax, the Boston tea party, the shots fired at Lexington, the
winter at Valley Forge). We want to push students beyond the platitudes carved in marble
about the founding fathers to understand the ways in which the revolution emerged from
decisions made by individual men and women who chose to risk their lives and property
to fight for political ideals (or perhaps got sucked into the conflict because they had no
choice but to defend their homes, or…). We want them to understand the risks and
transgression in smuggling information to the revolutionary army or burning the royal
governor in effigy in the middle of the night.
The power of a multiplayer game is that it is a living community, in which each
student has a different set of experiences. Students can compare and contextualize
experiences through class discussion. By bringing the game into the classroom, students
are forced to pull back from the immediate play experience and reflect on the choices
they have made.
Revolution is being built on an existing commercial role-playing game known as
Neverwinter Nights, which includes powerful game modification (a.k.a. modding) tools
provided by Bioware Inc., the game developers. Neverwinter Nights uses both the rules
and milieux of the swords-and-sorcery Advanced Dungeons and Dragons, but a thriving
fan community has already produced campaigns for Neverwinter Nights that draw from
dramatically different cultural sources such as Japanese animation and Monty Python.
Although initial prototypes will retain much of the user interface of Neverwinter Nights,
the proposed complete version of Revolution is meant to be a “total conversion mod” for
Neverwinter Nights. Bioware’s underlying Aurora game engine is used to but every
aesthetic aspect of the Neverwinter Nights campaign is altered to become a colonial
American town.
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Both the commercial and fan-built software tools for altering the appearance and
behavior of Neverwinter Nights allow modders to implement most of the needed
modifications without having to access and alter the source code of the Aurora engine.
New sounds, 3D models, animations, textures, and 2D images can be introduced into the
Aurora Toolset by using readily available software like Adobe Photoshop and 3D Studio
Max, tools that are popular among nonprogrammers. For complex character and world
interactions, Bioware integrates an extensive scripting language, loosely based on C++
The process of creating the Revolution prototype should shed light on the actual
challenges and rewards of modifying existing commercial software for educational
purposes. By the end of summer 2004, we aim to test a single playable 40-minute chapter
for about a dozen simultaneous players and another dozen nonplayer characters,
accompanied by a tutorial for players inexperienced with digital role-playing games.
Thus far, we have modeled about half of a Williamsburg-like town, allowing the colonial
architecture to blend seamlessly with Neverwinter Nights’ forest and river environs. We
also have 3D models and animations of proper colonial fashions for the characters,
although profession-specific clothing and hats are still in the pipeline. Over the next two
school semesters, detailed planning of the events, characters, and dialogue will proceed,
allowing a streamlined production-only workflow during the entirety of summer 2004.
These three games suggest what can be done right now: working in educational
settings with small budgets, minimal equipment, inexperienced student programmers, and
off-the-shelf software. Through the E3 conference, we hope to identify other teams of
researchers both in the schools and in industry who want to collaborate in order to teach
educational gaming to the next level. A tremendous amount of work needs to be done
before we achieve our opening scenario – educational games meaningfully integrated
across the school curriculum and made accessible to every school in America.
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... Even abilities such as power, agility, and speed could appear as distinctive features in these games (Clarke et al., 2017;Wolf, 2005). Squire and Jenkins (2003) emphasized that when playing an RPG, students not only learn something but also take part in the game setting. Also, because all students would have a different experience, they would bring the topics that are important to them to after-game discussions, enabling them to deliberate on different perspectives in the process. ...
... In this process, the game may have helped the students feel like they are part of the game while learning something (Squire & Jenkins, 2003). It is understood from the statements of the students that they liked the features (awardwinning sections, quests, details, the secret room, and map of the school) of the game and were aware that the aim of the game was educational. ...
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This study aims to integrate video games into classrooms not as a replacement for regular lessons but as supplementary materials under the teacher's supervision. To this extent, the researcher created an educational English learning video game specifically modeled on the students' real lives. Ninety-six middle school students, 48 in the control group and 48 in the experimental group, participated in the study. While follow-up activities were used in the control group and the regular classroom teaching, students in the experimental group played the educational game under the teacher's supervision with no follow-up activities. Pre, post, and retention achievement tests were applied to the students. Semi-structured interviews were also conducted with 18 students from the experimental group. The results showed that the experimental group's vocabulary learning and retention were significantly higher than the control group. Also, the views of the students on English lessons and games based on their lives were promising. By considering the achievement test and students' views on the game developed, it can be said that the game in the study includes educational features as well as the basic features of the games.
... Examples of successful serious games are Supercharged!, a game created with the goal of improving physics education, focusing on electromagnetism (Jenkins et al., 2003); Biohazard, a component of the training program for firefighters to perform effectively in terrorist situations (Carnegie Mellon Entertainment Technology Center & Scientists, 2004); Re-Mission, which was used to improve the knowledge and understanding of cancer patients, on how various treatments such as chemotherapy work, which in turn improved their well-being (Tate et al., 2009); and SnowWorld, used to lessen pain and distract patients who suffered burns during daily wound cleaning and physical therapy (Hoffman, 2004). ...
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... Renowned psychologists such as Jean Piaget (1962) and Lev Vygotsky (1962) also argued that play is an important factor for cognitive development throughout life. From then till now a number of scholars have described the use of games as a powerful tool of instruction (Warren et al., 2009;Crocco et al., 2016) that have positive impacts on students' learning (Prensky, 2001b;Aldrich, 2003;Jenkins et al. 2003;Dickey, 2007). Game that involves learning has been defined as "a challenging activity, structured with rules, goals, progression and rewards, that is separate from the real world, and undertaken with a spirit of playfulness" (Moseley & Whitton, 2015, p. 3). ...
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The article presents the interim results of the study of gamification as a resource of educational activity both from the point of view of research and from the point of view of the development of content and technological tools for the introduction of gamification in pedagogical activity. The logic of the conducted research consists of three interrelated and complementary stages of research work with a consistent solution of the tasks: the analytical stage, the prototyping stage and the implementation stage of research work. Analytically, the stage is aimed at research and substantiation of scientific-methodological and instrumental-technological approaches to the use of gamification in pedagogical education; generalization and systematization of the experience of using gamification in the activities of educational organizations of different levels of the subjects of the Russian Federation. At the prototyping stage, the study and development of content and technological tools for the introduction of gamification into pedagogical activity was carried out, which was reflected in the creation of a bank of gamification tools for use in pedagogical education. At the third stage of the implementation of the research work, the approbation and introduction of research results and created educational products into the practice of pedagogical activity was carried out.
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Este artículo da cuenta de los resultados de la tesis doctoral: “Hipertextualidad y conectividad: alternativas de la cultura digital para la configuración de ambientes educativos”, que tuvo como objetivo identificar y describir los elementos que caracterizan las prácticas educativas en ambientes en los que se favorece la conectividad, la hipermedialidad y la mutimodalidad, y que, junto con la cibercultura, se erigieron como categorías teóricas. La investigación consistió en un estudio microtecnográfico desarrollado en una Institución Educativa Distrital (IED) con un grupo de 30 estudiantes de grado quinto, en aulas dotadas con tabletas y plena conectividad. Dentro de los hallazgos y conclusiones del estudio se destacan: 1) el surgimiento del espacio de interacción como un hipermedio en sí mismo; 2) una relación entre procesos de juego y aprendizaje; 3) la aparición de nuevas dinámicas de atención distribuida; 4) la diferenciación simbólica entre el laboratorio y el aula de clase; 5) el reconocimiento de que las propuestas pedagógicas no son tan nuevas como las tecnologías digitales; 6) las tabletas no favorecen la escritura hipermedial, pero sí la multimodal y la hibridación entre lo digital y lo análogo.
This paper presents a proposal and an initial prototype for a Serious Game (SG) aimed at helping second-language learners memorize a list of non-linked vocabulary items under a system of visuospatial bootstrapping (Darling et al., 2017). The usefulness of such a tool was suggested by the efficient outcomes of spatial mnemonics in TEFL providing 21st-century teachers, students, and game designers with new possibilities and it represents a new application of CALL. The game design is based on a modified version of Kalmpourtzis’ AMSTP game design model (2019) and it uses aesthetics, mechanics, story, technology, and pedagogy as its basis, adding the sixth element to its core: user expertise. The resulting AMSTP-UE framework allows in-game analysis from the point of view of a teacher, a learner, or a game designer. The game is a first-person walking simulator using the medium of virtual reality (VR) to provide its players with the feeling of presence in a virtual world. The prototype suggests using visuospatial information, deep learning APIs, and in-game data capture.
Games have been played throughout human history and in all cultures, exposing almost everyone to gameplay in some form. Higher education is exploring ways faculty can leverage games to enhance course development and the student learning experience. The primary pedagogical use of games is gamification, in which gaming is used to transform learning activities. This chapter will 1) provide an overview of gamification theory and practice in higher education, 2) share ideas for faculty to consider when using gamification as a teaching tool, and 3) explore how the game Minecraft was used through educational and practical applications to teach a local government course.
Video games play an important role in education; however, the idea of teachers as designers of digital classroom games to support student learning has not been widely embraced. The purpose of this study was to gain a deeper understanding of why and how teachers used and designed games in teaching differently with various gaming background. This mixed-method case study involved a group of teachers who used and/or designed games for students. The four unique case groups were grounded in three regions and four school districts in Alberta, Canada. First and second cycle data coding and analyses were used to answer 1) what factors influenced the types of games teachers used and designed in teaching and 2) what factors influenced how and why teachers integrated game-based learning in teaching.
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Good computer and video games like System Shock 2, Deus Ex, Pikmin, Rise of Nations, Neverwinter Nights, and Xenosaga: Episode 1 are learning machines. They get themselves learned and learned well, so that they get played long and hard by a great many people. This is how they and their designers survive and perpetuate themselves. If a game cannot be learned and even mastered at a certain level, it won't get played by enough people, and the company that makes it will go broke. Good learning in games is a capitalist-driven Darwinian process of selection of the fittest. Of course, game designers could have solved their learning problems by making games shorter and easier, by dumbing them down, so to speak. But most gamers don't want short and easy games. Thus, designers face and largely solve an intriguing educational dilemma, one also faced by schools and workplaces: how to get people, often young people, to learn and master something that is long and challenging--and enjoy it, to boot.
Conference Paper
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The use of computer simulations is changing the nature of scientific investigation and providing us unique insights into the way that the world works. As simulation moves from the desktop to more ubiquitous portable devices (such as PDAs), we can draw upon the unique affordances of these devices-portability, social interactivity, context sensitivity, connectivity, and individuality. The purpose of this research project is to develop and examine a new simulation platform that is designed from the ground up for handhelds to create augmented reality simulations (i.e. simulations that bridge virtual and real worlds). This paper describes environmental detectives, one such augmented reality simulation that is currently being developed at MIT. In the upcoming months, we develop and test this concept as well as produce a suite of authoring tools that students and teachers can use to design their own augmented reality simulations.
Advancements in handheld computing, particularly its portability, social interactivity, context sensitivity, connectivity, and individuality, open new opportunities for immersive learning environments. This article articulates the pedagogical potential of augmented reality simulations in environmental engineering education by immersing students in the roles of scientists conducting investigations. This design experiment examined if augmented reality simulation games can be used to help students understand science as a social practice, whereby inquiry is a process of balancing and managing resources, combining multiple data sources, and forming and revising hypotheses in situ. We provide 4 case studies of secondary environmental science students participating in the program. Positioning students in virtual investigations made apparent their beliefs about science and confronted simplistic beliefs about the nature of science. Playing the game in "real" space also triggered students' preexisting knowledge, suggesting that a powerful potential of augmented reality simulation games can be in their ability to connect academic content and practices with students' physical, lived worlds. The game structure provided students a narrative to think with, although students differed in their ability to create a coherent narrative of events. We argue that Environmental Detectives is I model for helping students understand the socially situated nature of scientific practice.
Platforms for participatory simulations -Exploring systems and generating discourse with wearable and handheld computers
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The next ages of game development Science in the palms of their hands
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Applied game theory: Understanding civilization (III)
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Cultural framing of computer/video games Six Scenarios for the Future of Games and Education
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