Computer and Video Games for Learning ForumSCROLLA, Dec 15, 2003-12-15

Knowledge bases for e-learning National and global cross-sector collaboration Grounded blue-sky research for development of educational practice

Games and learning

:good video games have a powerful way of making players consciously aware of some of their previously assumed models about learning itself” “Good video games incorporate good learning principle, otherwise noone would buy them”

–James McGee

do games change communities’ cultural fixers?

Jon Sykes

Intro to emotion laboratory -    post-grad in Game Development (2002); intake twice a year -    Undergraduate in Game Development (2003) (first year) -    Development: Zen Warrier (pre-production; fight game) Pocket Tactics: Mutant Heroes (production; mobile game for Nokia); -    Research: eMotion (2004); £250,000 for lab o    Multidisciplinary (computing, psych, physiotherapy – cf. Micrsoft labs, Seattle) o    Also have motion capture suite (emotions through movement) o    ‘To investigate emotional engagement with technology’ Why we should consider game-based learning -    It is a fun and motivating way to learn o    Learning does not have to be dull -    Why game based o    Play is NOT a trivial activity •    Most successful people play a lot •    Brian Sutton Smith (without play, no reason to live) •    Art, theatre

-    Learning through play is not ‘dumbing down’ -    Ubiquitous play = ubiquitous learning o    Mobile gaming: phones, PDAs o    Game Boy advance; Sony o    Satellite TV o    DVD o    Aircraft o    Internet

The use of games in the classroom -    As a reward o    60-70% use games as reward -    subverting the play experience o    content mixed with game -    nurturing the play experience o    Sim City (transferable skills about project organisation, resourcing) o    Battlefield (team based playing skills) •    Kids coming out of school, not good at playing as team or communicating (GOV REPORT) -    Learning as a game designer o    Get student to develop a game about Vikings •    Need to study Vikings, etc o    By doing research, can learn about the subject (Julia Robertson, Edinburgh University) -    Facilitate interaction and collaboration

What are the immediate challenges and research goals? -    THEORY o    Devise theoretical frameworks •    Educational, psychological, sociological, bringing together play and learning experience •    Maintain play while learning -    JUSTIFICATION o    No experimental studies, field, studies and case studies demonstrating suitability of digital games in classroom -    TECHNIQUES o    Don’t know how to design digital games for learning o    How to evaluate digital game-based learning?


Defn of good games -    44 of all games each year make money: 37 of them are sports – re-license o    only 7 games are new and different! o    Only 4% of all games are ‘good’ commercially

Good game principles

ME: licensing and development of games that are related to mainstream culture -    e.g. Harry Potter game for education only

Tim Smith -    commercial aspects imp in terms of technical capacity -    build educational games on commercial model o    Used UnReal Tournament to teach social and ethical skills

Kirk Ramsay Learn Direct Scotland -    used UnReal engine for adult learners -    context of players -    first job of games is engagement -    history of digital games and elearning, started with same people at same time -    games provide a feedback mechanism of being good at something -    games as mechanism to introduce people to other aspects of learning

Alan Durndell ( -    gendered nature of game-playing

Fiona Liddleton (edinburgh Uni) -    McGraw Hill game to draw up business plan


Who is the person in the game: indiv or avatar?