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Game Based Learning for Computer Science Education


Abstract and Figures

Today, learners increasingly demand for innovative and motivating learning scenarios that strongly respond to their habits of using media. One of the many possible solutions to this demand is the use of computer games to support the acquisition of knowledge. This paper reports on chances and challenges of applying a game-based learning scenario for the acquisition of IT knowledge as realized by the German BMBF project SpITKom. After briefly describing the learning potential of Multiplayer Browser Games as well as the educational objectives and target group of the SpITKom project, we will present the main results of a study that was carried out in the first phase of the project to guide the game design. In the course of the study, data were collected regarding (a) the computer game preferences of the target group and (b) the target group's competencies in playing computer games. We will then introduce recommendations that were deduced from the study's findings and that outline the concept and the prototype of the game.
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Game Based Learning for Computer Science Education
Birgit Schmitz
Humance AG
Goebenstr. 10-12,
50672 Köln, Germany
0049-221-277 995 14
André Czauderna
FH Köln
Mainzer Str. 5,
50678 Köln, Germany
0049-221-8275 3482
Marcus Specht
Valkenburgerweg 177,
Heerlen, The Netherlands
0031-45-576 2716
Roland Klemke
Valkenburgerweg 177,
Heerlen, The Netherlands
0031-45-576 2716
Today, learners increasingly demand for innovative and
motivating learning scenarios that strongly respond to their habits
of using media. One of the many possible solutions to this
demand is the use of computer games to support the acquisition of
knowledge. This paper reports on chances and challenges of
applying a game-based learning scenario for the acquisition of IT
knowledge as realized by the German BMBF project SpITKom.
After briefly describing the learning potential of Multiplayer
Browser Games as well as the educational objectives and target
group of the SpITKom project, we will present the main results of
a study that was carried out in the first phase of the project to
guide the game design. In the course of the study, data were
collected regarding (a) the computer game preferences of the
target group and (b) the target group’s competencies in playing
computer games. We will then introduce recommendations that
were deduced from the study’s findings and that outline the
concept and the prototype of the game.
Categories and Subject Descriptors
K.3.2 [Computers and Education]: Computer and Information
Science Education information systems education.
General Terms
Design, Experimentation, Standardization, Verification.
IT knowledge, game based learning, game design, learners
difficult to reach
Making education accessible to everyone is a problem: Besides
age, the earning capacity as well as the social background
influences the use of information and communications technology
(ICT) (cf. [4]; [28]). As Unterfrauner [27] states, the smaller the
income the smaller the penetration rate of PCs and the smaller the
possibility for youths to have access to the Internet (no access
point). Also, according to the JIM Study [13], the level of
education influences the way, the computer is used. It is stated
that the higher the educational background, the more likely youths
are prepared to use the computer as a means for information
people with a lower educational background rather use the
computer to communicate and to play games. Thus, people with a
lower educational background less likely develop competence in
using the computer as a tool for information and/or work (e.g.
word-processing programs) or in applying technology and media
to certain subjects, i. e “digital literacy” [8]. Nowadays, most jobs
however require at least basic skills and knowledge in the
professional use of common computer applications. They are
virtually indispensable for vocational integration, preservation
and continuation, and already for creating an adequate application
e-skills are mandatory. Thus, social circumstances seem to
reinforce prevailing educational disadvantages. And for many this
barrier is difficult to overcome. People with a low educational
background very often have negative learning experiences. They
have little or no confidence in their skills and abilities and only
limited motivation to learn [1]. Traditional education has little
chance to bring them back into education. Game based learning
approaches however seem to meet the target group’s needs (cf.
[6]; [13]; [26]; [15]).
Within the past decade, studies have analyzed and demonstrated
that commercial as well as educational games (a) support
constructivist learning and teaching, i.e. constructive, situated and
social learning ([7], [18], [3]) and (b) almost perfectly match the
determinants of intrinsic motivation ([17], [20]).
According to Meier and Seufert [14], game-based learning
approaches particularly make sense if the content to be learned is
dry and only somewhat interesting, if the considered target group
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Conference CSERC '2011, 7 - 8 April, Heerlen, The Netherlands
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is rather difficult to motivate for learning, if the target group
already has an affinity for (computer) games (e.g. younger target
groups), and/or if the target group does not have the necessary
competencies to deal with a CBT/WBT (e.g. the competence to
act or learn self-directed).
Playing games, whether they are explicitly designed to foster the
acquisition of knowledge or not, may support the development of
certain strategies and skills such as problem-solving, decision-
making, understanding complex systems, planning or data
handling (cf. [10], [18]). Computer games may also support the
acquisition of knowledge according to a predefined set of subject-
related facts [18] that can be matched against a fixed syllabus. The
German research project SpITKom for example supports the
acquisition of IT knowledge to master the European Computer
Driving Licence (ECDL).
When it comes to the development of Multiplayer Browser
Games, research from Social Cognition Studies is of paramount
importance. Steinkuehler’s ([24], [25]) work on Massively
Multiplayer Online Games, for example, emphasizes the potential
of social mechanisms for learning such as collaborative problem
solving practices as well as reciprocal apprenticeship “through
which individuals enculturate one another into routine and valued
practices and perspectives” [25, p. 12]. According to a study
carried out by Klimmt et al. [11], gamers like Multiplayer Browser
Games because of their particular social aspects of the game play
and because of their specific characteristics regarding time and
flexibility („easy-in, easy-out“).
SpITKom (Spielerische Vermittlung von IT-Kompetenz)
the decision to realize a Browser Game against the background of
the currently very successful Multiplayer Browser Games (e.g.
). Its main focus is to support the acquisition of IT
knowledge, thus preparing and enabling educationally
disadvantaged learners to find an apprenticeship. Further on,
SpITKom aims at supporting the acquisition of practical
knowledge related to the building industry. Therewith, SpITKom
targets at bringing forward the participants’ professional and
social competence. Also, by directing the game to the building
industry, it is intended to support the development of a
professional identity.
3.1 Educational Objectives
SpITKom focuses on the acquisition of IT-knowledge as one of
the key competencies and requirements of today’s labour market.
It has chosen to integrate the ECDL as a commonly accepted
standard that reflects and certifies up-to-date skills and knowledge
in the use of a computer and common applications. In its standard
version 5.0, the ECDL syllabus comprises 478 learning outcomes,
organized in seven modules including topics such as „Using the
computer and managing files“, „Word processing “ and „Web
Browsing and Communication“ (see:
Besides IT-related skills and knowledge, SpITKom aims at the
acquisition of knowledge related to the building industry. As
The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of
Education and Research (BMBF) and the European Social Fund
(ESF). Up-to-date information on the project can be retrieved
opposed to the ECDL, this content is not based on a fixed
curriculum or a certain syllabus of instruction but is geared to the
different scenarios (garage, detached house, park, etc.) as realized
in the game. Every scenario is described by means of phases and
their respective workflow. Building a garage for example
comprises the phases: setting-out the building-site and stripping
the topsoil, trenching for the strip foundation, casting the strip
foundation, etc. For every phase additional information is
3.2 Target Group
SpITKom is directed at learners difficult to reach who are
participating in state funded professional qualification programs
offered by the Education Centres for the Building Industry (BZB).
The target group consists of predominantly male participants aged
17 to 25. According to the target group analysis that was carried
out in the beginning of the project, only a few of the participants
have a school leaving certificate. Their level of literacy is very
low. Also they have strong personal and social deficits that
hamper or even inhibit finding an apprenticeship. Their command
of the German language is poor. Also, their capacity to memorise
or to concentrate on something is rather low. They have little
stamina, a poor frustration and conflict tolerance and only little or
no ability to work in a team or to communicate. They are not used
to learn at all and they are not willing to actively participate in
learning activities [22]. Despite these similarities, the target group
is not homogeneous. They have very different attitudes towards
work, different working techniques, talents, expectations and
cultural distinctions.
Instead of a computer, this target group is rather in possession of
television and gaming consoles [13]. Thus, they have developed
little or no competence in using the computer as a tool for
information and/or work. By now, most jobs require at least basic
media competencies though. This also applies to the building
industry which increasingly relies on the use of computers for day
to day communication or logistic matters for example.
In order to meet the target group’s game play needs, a study was
carried out in the beginning of the project (i.e. autumn 2009) that
assessed the target group’s computer game preferences and their
computer game literacy (cf. [1], [22]).
4.1 Methods
The study’s methods of data collection included questionnaires
(n=43), qualitative interviews (n=18) and observations of the
target group playing the Serious Games McVideogame and
Techforce (n=9). The transcripts of the qualitative interviews were
coded and analyzed with qualitative content analysis. The data of
the videotaped game sessions were assessed as case studies and
interpreted with a combination of segmentation and sequential
4.2 Samples
The samples consisted of predominantly male participants of
several state funded professional qualification programs in the
field of building industry aged 17 to 25. Besides lacking basic
abilities in reading, writing and calculating, a lot of these young
people had negative experiences with formal education.
4.3 Results
The majority of the target group prefers to play action games (e.g.
Sports and Racing Games and First-Person-Shooter) in its spare
time. Multiplayer Browser Games are not played on a regular
basis. However, the results of the study suggest that Multiplayer
Browser Games (which usually contain construction and
management features) could appeal to the target group. From the
analysis, several potential reasons that support this suggestion
have been identified.
Firstly, parts of the target group get into construction- and
management-oriented actions within other genres. 68 % of survey
respondents agreed that in computer games it is fun to build
something up and to manage it (see Figure 1).
Figure 1. What do you like especially in computer games?
(in %) (n=39)
The following quotations from the qualitative interviews offer a
closer look at target group’s fascination for building up and
managing in computer games:
“I like Age of Empires because you have to build up everything.
First, you have several citizens, you build up a city, soldiers, then
you are going all through the ages, from the middle ages to nano,
to space ships and stuff like that. It is always going further, up to
pirate ships, then you are going to the age of military, World War
I, World War II, and then modern world war. It is always going
further up, it always takes years, then you have to collect more,
and then you are coming into another age, and that is also a kind
of strategy, you have to expand, you have to watch out with whom
you are allying yourself, see who could become a danger to you.
“If you have a favorite team, and if you are then thinking that [in
FIFA Manager 2008] you are the manager, what do I say, you
are the president of that team (...), that is, I have the players in my
hand, I have the arena in my hand, everything belongs to me, so
to say, I am allowed to lead, I am allowed to say yes or no, I am
this person, that as well, that's why, I found it really cool.” (I17)
Secondly, the observation of participants playing the Online Anti
Advergame McVideogame shows that, in general, the target group
is interested in and able to handle a management simulation in a
school context.
However, the observation also reveals that many players have
difficulties dealing with a complex game system which is not
offering a high degree of guidance and instruction. Many players
were overwhelmed by too many variables and options as well as
they were confused as their inputs were not followed by
immediate feedback. Thus, it can be assumed that the target
group’s mastery of construction and management games
presupposes a well-structured game environment, high level of
stimuli and immediate feedback to game play actions. The
following statement of an interviewee contains an assessment of
the interface of the management simulation Hospital Tycoon
(based on a screenshot which was presented to him during the
interview). It illustrates the target group’s desire for well-
structured games offering pretty clear guidance und instruction:
“[In Hospital Tycoon] the clicking here and there could be
simplified. There should be not that many bars and buttons. (…)
First of all, I would need reference points in order to know what
my task is, what I have to accomplish. (…) I need a definition of
task to know what to do. [In Hospital Tycoon] I would not right
away know where to begin (…). There are too many categories
(…). It should be structured better! (…).” (I7)
4.4 Recommendations
Although the majority of study’s participants does not play
Multiplayer Browser Games in its spare time, the construction and
management features of Multiplayer Browser Games could attract
the target group. Furthermore, “the social relationships involved
in game play“ [11] could contribute to the attraction of the target
group, which is very keen on playing with or against other people
(see Figure 1).
In order to meet the target group’s game play needs, it is
recommended to offer a well-structured game environment
(including a lucid interface and clear instructions), a high level of
stimuli and immediate feedback to game play actions. As a
consequence, it is recommended to look at Social Games such as
or Social City
as a reference for accessible, easy to
use game environments that offer high level of stimuli as well as
ongoing feedback. Further recommendations derived from the
student’s gaming habits and preferences comprise (cf. [1], [22]):
The player should be able to choose and/or design an avatar
(though the avatar can not be controlled within the genre). In the
course of the game the avatar should change its appearance
according to the score.
The story should enable a career advancement; e.g. from
apprentice to master.
The text embedded should be as short and clear as possible.
The in-game ranking should not reproduce the usual classroom
ranking. Therefore, in-game success should not only be
influenced by performance of IT knowledge, but also by stamina
and, above all, collaboration.
The interface should be clearly arranged and simple (e.g. a
manageable number of functionalities the player has to use
while playing the game).
Elements other than game play elements (e. g. IT questions, IT
knowledge) have to be tied in with the game logic, (i.e., it must
always lead to an in-game advantage). Additional information,
which does not offer any in-game value, will be neglected by the
target group.
Latency should be avoided (e.g. immediate feedback should be
given to anything the player does).
SpITKom aims at utilizing the pedagogical potential computer
games provide (cf. [7], [18]) by offering a learning scenario based
on a Browser Game. It aims at initiating intrinsic motivation
because, as compared to extrinsic motivation, intrinsic motivation
increases the efficiency of learning [21]. Moreover, SpITKom
builds on the learning potential of collaboration and reciprocal
apprenticeship [25]. The main user interfaces for the learner are
the learning game (see Figure 2) and the IT-Café (see Figure 3).
Figure 2. SpITKom Browser Game (Draft Version)
The game guides the learner through building- and construction-
projects. Its main intention is to bring the target group (learners
difficult to reach) “in touch” with the integrated IT-knowledge. A
more elaborate engagement, i.e. the actual learning, takes place
within the IT-Café.
In the course of the game, test items related to IT knowledge
(ECDL) are displayed to the user. The answers influence the game
play (score, money). By matching the ECDL learning outcomes
against the learner’s concrete abilities it analyses the learner’s
needs and offers questions and Units of Learning in the sense of a
concrete, contextualized unit of education or training (cf. [5]) that
can each be traced back to a single learning outcome. The
questions are rated 1 (easy) to 3 (difficult). Depending on the
learner’s performance (right/wrong), the system’s core backend
component - the CCT (Competence Checker and Trainer) which is
realized through the IT-Café (see Figure 3) - chooses the follow-
up question in an adaptive manner in order to rate the learner’s
knowledge. Also, answers of learners are collected and stored in
the learner’s profile. The learner can enter the IT-Café to perform
some explicit learning tasks (access learning contents, perform
comprehensive tests, review own profile). Additionally, the
learner can communicate with co-learners and teachers.
Figure 3. IT-Café (Draft Version)
The SpITKom system is partially based on the Open ICOPER
Content Space (OICS), which was developed in the context of the
ICOPER project
. The OICS is based on the OpenACS
that is available under an open source licence, as it is the case for
all modules needed for running the OICS. The OICS platform
offers services that integrate concepts and data for the
management of sharable educational resources.
In the context of SpITKom, the webservice infrastructure of the
ICOPER components were integrated into a completely new user
interface (i.e. game and IT-Café) [23]. In the following, the
relevant OICS resource types and their respective data models as
realized in the SpITKom project, are depicted:
In the OICS, learning outcome definitions capture the key
characteristics of a learning outcome, independently of its use in
any particular context or target group, using the LOD schema
[16]. Within the context of SpITKom, the items of the ECDL
syllabus are represented as LODs. They are stored in the learning
outcome repository.
The OICS enables to pull learning content from repositories
through the OAI-PMH protocol [12] or to push content from
authoring environments through a publication service with
metadata described in a profile of the LOM standard [9]. Within
the context of SpITKom, the ECDL learning contents are realized
as SCORM units stored in the OICS content repository [2].
The OICS associates assessments with learning outcomes, which
allows generating personal achievements. They are stored in the
QTI format. In the course of SpITKom, the individual ECDL tests
are played using the open source QTIEngine
In the OICS, personal achievement profiles allow learners to
organize their achieved learning outcomes. Evidence records
related to them are stored in the PALO data format [16]. In the
course of SpITKom, assessment results delivered from the QTI-
engine are stored into the profile repository, using the PALO
It has proved rather difficult to motivate learners difficult to reach
to get involved with learning activities. The SpITKom project is
set to tackle this challenge though by providing a learning offer
that is geared to the target group’s preferred activities. The
recommendations that were deduced from the target group
analysis and that were implemented with the prototype have led to
a Brower Game which is set to meet the target group’s needs. It
therefore has all the chances to be successful, i.e. to help learners
difficult to reach to get involved with learning. First results of a
recent prototype evaluation show that (a) the game design meets
the target group’s expectations regarding the graphical user
interface (GUI) and that it is (b) accepted as an intuitive and low-
threshold learning offer. Its game play was evaluated as easy to
understand and that requires no genre specific prior knowledge.
Moreover, game testing demonstrated that the game indeed
motivated players to engage themselves in information technology
(at least, in the course of the game), which cannot be taken for
granted when it comes to the SpITKom target group. It can be
assumed that the game’s linkage between players’ IT knowledge
and their success in the game (via parameters such as Duration of
Building Time, Score and Money) plays a major role in the
initiation of that engagement.
An overall study with particular focus on the learning in SpITKom
however, will be carried out in the first half of the year 2012.
Until then, the game and the IT-Café will be finalized (05/2011)
and the target group will have played and learned with the
SpITKom-game for nearly half a year (07/2011 12/2011). This
will allow the final study to draw conclusions with regard to (a)
the implementation of the game into the instruction of a state
funded professional qualification program, (b) the effects of the
game-based-learning-approach on the target group’s engagement
with information technology, (c) the (possible) appearance and
structure of collaborative learning processes within the
Multiplayer Browser Game, (d) the effects of outcome-oriented
delivery of content and services on the individual learning
processes, and (e) the learning outcome with a special focus on
IT-knowledge, building industry knowledge and professional
identity. It will be of particular interest to evaluate the general
capacity and motivation of learners (i.e. learners difficult to reach)
to take over responsibility for their learning and respectively the
corresponding learning outcome.
It is planned to set up a mobile version of the SpITKom game in
order to scrutinize additional effects on motivation and learning
outcome for learners difficult to reach. The mobile version will
complement the existing Browser Game and will make use of the
integrated infrastructure (IT-Café) thus providing the basis for a
game-based learning approach for mobile devices.
Parts of this work are funded by the eContentPlus Program of the
European Commission through the ICOPER project and by the
German BMBF-program Further Education and the use of
Web2.0 technology in Vocational Education through the
SpITKom project.
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... Portanto, criar e documentar jogos exige conhecimentos específicos e uma curva de aprendizado significativa para não desenvolvedores o que pode ser um grande desafio tanto para professores como para alunos [15]. ...
... Algumas ferramentas que utilizam programação visual têm auxiliado professores e alunos a desenvolverem jogos digitais, como por exemplo e Aventura , Scratch [10], Alice [9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18] e A Hora do Código [19]. Porém, existe uma carência de metodologias específicas para o desenvolvimento de jogos educativos. ...
Conference Paper
Digitalgames are increasingly part of our daily lives and are alsoconsidered teaching and learning tools. However, its productionand documentation is a very complex task that requiresprogramming skills and knowledge of various areas. This hashampered the development of classroom games. On the otherhand, enthusiastic teachers and students have ventured into thisactivity as a way of learning school content and developingcomputational thinking in a more fun and meaningful way. Astrategy for creating games using natural language seems to be analternative to adopting game-based learning, developing computerthinking and writing skills. In this context, this article reports anexperience of specifying game design from textual production bystudents and teachersin the classroom.
... Desenvolver jogos, a começar pela especificação do seu game design, é uma tarefa complexa, trabalhosa e que necessita de conhecimentos específicos. É uma atividade que envolve criatividade, imaginação, definição do funcionamento do jogo, documentação, comunicação e programação [Schmitz et al. 2011]. ...
Conference Paper
O uso das tecnologias, sobretudo os jogos digitais, já fazem parte do nosso cotidiano. Alguns estudos mostram que esses recursos, quando utilizados na educação, engajam, motivam e promovem a aprendizagem de maneira mais significativa. Dentro do processo de desenvolvimento de jogos em sala de aula, a prototipagem em papel pode configurar-se como uma oportunidade para os alunos concretizarem a ideia do seu jogo. O objetivo deste trabalho é verificar se a prototipagem em papel é eficiente para a concretização e a compreensão do game design de jogos produzidos por alunos em sala de aula. O estudo exploratório foi realizado com alunos do 6º Ano, do ensino fundamental, de uma escola pública, do semiárido Potiguar. Os resultados indicam que a prototipagem em papel se mostrou eficiente na concretização, compreensão, teste e validação dos jogos produzidos pelos alunos.
... Game based learning (GBL) can be used to motivate computer science learners who would otherwise not learn due to poor previous educational experience and are "difficult to reach" [22]. Learning via games is older than we think, going back at least to ancient Greece [20]. ...
Conference Paper
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The teaching of databases and SQL is an active research area. We contribute by presenting a reusable and extensible SQL teaching experiment which uses a game and fits the paradigm of digital game based learning (DGBL). Although DGBL is hampered partly by the difficulty of obtaining statistically significant empirical results, the research shows that it may be an effective learning method and that it is in demand. We investigate the acceptance and effectiveness of an SQL learning game and focus on two areas: student reaction to games as a vehicle for teaching, and educational effectiveness. We designed a game prototype and administered a pre-test, post-test and an acceptance survey, with seven part-time and sixteen full-time students. A statistical analysis of effect sizes revealed a moderate intervention effect for the game group (d=-0.562) and a small one for the traditional group (d=-0.234). The acceptance survey means were between 4.43 and 4.70 out of 5, which shows that the game is highly acceptable. Our experiment demonstrated positive student attitudes towards DGBL in SQL teaching and showed the game to be as effective as exercises done using a workbench. We further observed interesting differences in teaching using a game and a "natural" workbench environment and had excellent course feedback. We have released the game as open source in the hope that other researchers will replicate or contradict our findings or simply use it in teaching. We close with an outline of ongoing research.
... Game based learning is another learning feature contrasted with traditional learning components. In mid-'80s, researchers demonstrate that game based learning ideas are rising exponentially that improves critical thinking aptitudes [1]. This paper proved that game playing is naturally associated with learning and demonstrated that we couldn't play a game until we learn it [2]. ...
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Game based learning fit with a great extent in numerous academic fields. The multi-dimensional augmented experience of game based learning help students to comprehend the problems adequately and discover the solutions ideally. The multi-dimensional game technique is new in the field of software engineering. Hence, we have to implement multi-dimensional game based learning to in the field of software development with exact evidence support. Objective: The main aim of this research is to present a multi-dimensional game for object based learning i.e. (object oriented technologies). Method: In this paper, we use different real-world projects of students for object based learning using multi-dimensional games. Finding: The empirical investigation result shows that students learning power enhance through practical experience using proposed multi-dimensional game. This research shows that multi-dimensional game based learning help software learners to enhance their knowledge, enhance project quality and output in all software process. We conclude that multi-dimensional game based learning increases the chances of project completion with in time.
Assessment is a crucial aspect of any teaching and learning process. New tools such as educational games offer promising advantages: they can personalize feedback to students and save educators time by automating the assessment process. However, while many teachers agree that educational games increase motivation, learning, and retention, few are ready to fully trust them as an assessment tool. A likely reason behind this lack of trust is that educational games are distributed as black boxes, unmodifiable by educators and not providing enough insight about the gameplay. This chapter presents three systematic literature reviews looking into the integration of assessment, feedback, and learning analytics in educational games. It then proposes a framework and present a fully developed engine. The engine is used by both developers and educators. Designed to separate game and assessment, it allows teachers to modify the assessment after distribution and visualize gameplay data via a learning analytics dashboard.
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Learning the syntax and understanding the basic concepts have been identified as the most difficult aspects in the learning of computer programming. The Digital Game Based Learning approach has gained successful outcomes at several studies related to programming and other subjects. Yet, with the examination minded competitive classrooms, lack of computer facilities and deficient time for practical sessions, studying the best way of executing Game Based Learning approach in Sri Lankan context for programming education was necessary. Thus, this study was conducted to evaluate the efficacy and motivational attractiveness of computer game play for learning programming principles within Sri Lankan school context. This study demonstrates a Game Based Learning approach exploited as an E-learning environment to motivate and engage students in learning and enhancing programming skills. Primary data was collected from subject evaluation questionnaires, interviews with students and teachers involved in programming, game developers and through study of game artifacts. An educational game mapped with the basic programming concepts was implemented. In the game, the students were guided to find simple solutions by playing a game. The core study was conducted as illustrative case studies of sampled ICT students of 3 schools. The students' performance was recorded and observed before and after the application of Game Based Learning approach. Summative evaluation of the results suggests that Educational Games can be exploited as an effective and motivational learning environment. The recommendation is to blend the Game Based Learning approach as a supplementary learning and teaching material to the conventional instructional designs in programming education.
Serious Games (SG) are developing a reputation with some educationalists as a useful supplementary approach for teaching and learning. Two important issues for SG application developers and educationalists are how the learning is assessed and how assessment is integrated into a SG application. This chapter presents the results of a systematic literature review on assessment integration in SG and highlights the state of the literature in this area by outlining important papers to act as a guide for educationalists tackling this important issue. This chapter defines assessment and discusses formative and summative assessment and embedded and external assessment. A discussion of traditional assessment approaches and assessment approaches in SG are presented along with a discussion of existing frameworks for the integration of assessment into a SG application. The chapter presents a number of examples of assessment in serious games.
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Computerspiele sind heute aus der digitalen Medienwelt nicht mehr wegzudenken. Ihre rasante technische Entwicklung sowie ihre hohe Akzeptanz in der Jugendkultur werfen Fragen nach pädagogischer Verwertbarkeit dieses Mediums auf. Auf diesem Gebiet besteht Forschungsbedarf: Für den Einsatz aktueller Spielkonzepte als Lehrmittel existieren keine fundierten Theorien oder Konzepte. Der schöpferische Umgang mit Spielen durch Anwender («Emergent Gameplay») bietet hier durch sein hohes Motivationspotential einen vielversprechenden Ansatz. Die oft wenig beachtete Rolle der digitalen Spielen zugrunde liegenden Softwaretechnik sollte stärkere Berücksichtigung finden: Es existiert einerseits ein für die Akzeptanz beim Anwender notwendiges Minimum, andererseits ist der Einsatz des aktuellen technischen «state of the art» für die Umsetzung pädagogischer und didaktischer Ambitionen durch seine enormen Anforderungen wenig zielführend. Im Ergebnis sind Idee und Spielspass das Mass auch für Anwendungen des Game Based Learn­ing.
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Der besondere Wert von Computerspielen und Videogames für informelle und formelle Lernprozesse wird in den letzten Jahren intensiv diskutiert. Für schulische Kontexte ist es von besonderer Bedeutung, nicht nur die allgemeinen Potenziale solcher Spiele zu erkennen, sondern sie auch mit geeigneten Unterrichtsarrangements umzusetzen. Der Artikel gibt einen Überblick über die grundlegenden Konzepte und Ansätze, die dabei für die schulische Praxis relevant sein können.
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Zusammenfassung: Der vorliegende Beitrag befasst sich mit den Möglichkeiten der spielbasierten Vermittlung von Wissen für bildungsbenachteiligte Jugendliche am Beispiel des Projektes SpITKom (Spielerische Vermittlung von IT-Kompetenz für benachteiligte Jugendliche zwischen Schule und Ausbildung). Der Beitrag verdeutlicht, wie medienpädagogische Forschung schon vor Beginn des eigentlichen Produktionsprozesses zur zielgruppengerechten Entwicklung von Computerlernspielen beitragen kann. Nach einer kurzen Darstellung des Projektansatzes werden im Folgenden die zentralen Ergebnisse einer Studie präsentiert, die in den ersten sechs Monaten des Projektes (a) die Computerspielpräferenzen der Zielgruppe, und (b) ihre Kompetenzen im Umgang mit Computerspielen erhoben hat. Im Anschluss daran werden die daraus abgeleiteten Empfehlungen an das Projekt vorgestellt sowie das Spielkonzept kurz skizziert.
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For those with a vested interest in online technologies for learning, the knowledge and skills that constitute successful participation in massively multiplayer online games (MMOs) places these games squarely among the most promising new digital technologies to date. In this article, the author broadly outlines the qualitative results of a two and a half year cognitive ethnography of the MMO "Lineage" and describes the current trajectory of research being pursued, based on those findings: (a) the empirical investigation of focused research questions in order to document and analyze those core practices that constitute gameplay in virtual worlds, and (b) the development of educational activities for after-school clubs that capitalize on those capacities found throughout the research. This essay concludes with a reflection on the multiple relationships between games and education, highlighting the potential for such technologies to transform not only the means of education but also perhaps some of the goals. (Contains 5 figures.)
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Given their increasing domination of the entertainment industry and wide spread popularity among a wide range of populations, massively multiplayer online videogames (MMOGs) are quickly becoming the form of entertainment and a major mechanism of socialization. Researchers have taken notice, and educational MMOGs are now beginning to emerge; however, there is a paucity of research on the actual culture/cognition of MMOGameplay, despite its necessity for sound theory and viable design. This paper outlines an ongoing cognitive ethnography of a currently thriving MMOG. Using discourse analytic methods, this project is developing a "thick description" (Geertz, 1973) of naturally-occurring gameplay, paying particular attention to the forms of socially and materially distributed cognition that emerge, the learning mechanisms embedded within community practice, and the ways in which participation shapes and is shaped by the situated (on-and off-screen) identities of its members. After outlining the data collection and analysis methods used, I present an illustrative analysis of selected data and preliminary findings specific to learning within this new virtual space for play. Imagine an entire 3D world online, complete with forests, cities, and seas. Now imagine it populated with others from across the globe who gather in virtual inns and taverns, gossiping about the most popular guild or comparing notes on the best hunting spots. Imagine yourself in a heated battle for the local castle, live opponents from all over collaborating or competing with you. Imagine a place where you can be the brave hero, the kingdom rogue, or the village sage, developing a reputation for yourself that is known from Peoria to Peking. Now imagine that you could come home from school or work, drop your bookbag on the ground, log in, and enter that world any day, any time, anywhere. Welcome to the world of massively multiplayer online gaming. Massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) are highly graphical 2-or 3-D videogames played online, allowing individuals, through their self-created digital characters or "avatars," to interact not only with the gaming software (the designed environment of the game and the computer-controlled characters within it) but with other players' avatars as well. These virtual worlds are persistent social and material worlds, loosely structured by open-ended (fantasy) narratives, where players are largely free to do as they please – slay ogres, siege castles, barter goods in town, or shake the fruit out of trees. They are notorious for their peculiar combination of designed "escapist fantasy" yet emergent "social realism" (Kolbert, 2001): In a setting of wizards and elves, princes and knights, people save for homes, create basket indices of the trading market, build relationships of status and solidarity, and worry about crime. Such games are ripe for cultural/cognitive analysis of the social and material practices attending them: Given their increasing domination of the entertainment industry, wide-spread and growing popularity with people of all age groups, ethnicities, and economic classes, and purported addictive quality for those who plug in (Jewels, 2002), MMOGs are quickly becoming the form of entertainment and a major mechanism of socialization for young and old alike.
The author begins his classic book with "I want to talk about video games--yes, even violent video games--and say some positive things about them." With this simple but explosive statement, one of America's most well-respected educators looks seriously at the good that can come from playing video games. In this revised edition, new games like "World of War Craft" and "Half Life 2" are evaluated and theories of cognitive development are expanded. The author looks at major cognitive activities including how individuals develop a sense of identity, how everyone grasps meaning, evaluate and follow a command, pick a role model, and perceive the world. Contents include: (1) Introduction: 36 Ways to Learn a Video Game; (2) Semiotic Domains: Is Playing Video Games a "Waste of Time"?; (3) Learning and Identity: What Does It Mean to Be a Half-Elf?; (4) Situated Meaning and Learning: What Should You Do after You Have Destroyed the Global Conspiracy?; (5) Telling and Doing: Why Doesn't Lara Croft Obey Professor Von Croy?; (6) Cultural Models: Do You Want to Be the Blue Sonic or the Dark Sonic?; (7) The Social Mind: How Do You Get Your Corpse Back after You've Died?; (8) Conclusion: Duped or Not?; and (9) Appendix: The 36 Learning Principles.
Technical Report
Im Mittelpunkt des Projektes SpITKom (Spielerische Vermittlung von IT-Kompetenz für benachteiligte Jugendliche zwischen Schule und Ausbildung) steht die Entwicklung eines Multiplayer Browser Games. Das Spiel soll bildungsbenachteiligten Jugendlichen in der Übergangsphase zwischen Schule und beruflicher Ausbildung im Bereich der Bauwirtschaft sowohl IT-Kompetenzen als auch bauwirtschaftliches Fachwissen vermitteln. An dem Projekt beteiligt sind neben dem Institut für Medienforschung und Medienpädagogik die Humance AG, die Bildungszentren des Baugewerbes e.V., die Nurogames GmbH sowie die Dienstleistungsgesellschaft für Informatik mbH. Mit der Entwicklung eines Multiplayer Browser Games knüpft das Projekt an den kommerziellen Erfolg von Spielen wie Ikariam oder Travian, aber auch an die wachsende Beliebtheit von Social Games (wie z.B. Farmville) an. Im Rahmen dieses Posters werden zentrale Ergebnisse einer Studie präsentiert, die in den ersten sechs Monaten des Projektes (1.) die Computerspielpräferenzen der Zielgruppe, und (2.) ihre Kompetenzen im Umgang mit Computerspielen erhoben hat. Hintergrund In den vergangenen Jahren haben zahlreiche Autoren das pädagogische Potential von kommerziellen Computerspielen (vgl. z.B. Gee 2007) sowie Serious Games (vgl. z.B. Ritterfeld et al. 2009) lerntheoretisch herausarbeiten und in Ansätzen empirisch nachweisen können. Dabei wird nicht nur hervorgehoben, dass Computerspiele situiertes und handlungsorientiertes Lernen ermöglichen, sondern auch auf ihr Motivationspotential verwiesen. Gerade für den Erfolg eines Computerlernspieles, das sich an eine weitgehend lernunmotivierte Zielgruppe wendet, ist daher die Attraktivität des Spieles von besonderer Bedeutung. Folglich sollte die Entwicklung des Spieles (1.) an die Computerspielpräferenzen der Zielgruppe anknüpfen, und (2.) den Schwierigkeitsgrad des Spieles an die Kompetenzen der Zielgruppe anpassen.