This particular module and course notes impacts directly upon my own professional practice as an educator. For the purpose of returning to this information in order to reflect and further my understandings, I have included a lot of the Mod 5.4 course notes below: 

Course notes:

Thorkild Hanghøj (2013) describes the shifting roles of game based teaching.

Image: The shifting roles of game based teaching.

4 pedagogical approaches among teachers in their classrooms:

  1. Explorative approaches,
  2. Scripted approaches,
  3. Pragmatic approaches, and
  4. Playful approaches

According to Hanghøj, teachers knowingly or unknowingly mix several different pedagogical approaches when they teach with games ….. always depends on the complex interplay between contextual aims, means, and situations for learning.

Pedagogical approaches to game-based learning – each can potentially be included in formative and summative assessment strategies. For example:

  • Simulation Environment (Live Action Role Play in the classroom)
  • Individual Learning (plays the role of a lawyer)
  • Rules of Practice (researches the job/responsibilities of lawyers)
  • Constructed Personal Identity (create a narrative, visual and written for their character)
  • Participation (works to solve dilemma created by teacher)
  • Collaborative (works in small groups)
  • Processional Codes and Ethics (uses information responsibly etc)

‘Drill and skill’ educational games – modality is learning within games – skills and information broken down into small units.   Checking student’s choices and progress regularly and providing negative feedback as well as encouragement (reinforcement) – attempts to teach something out of context – favours direct or “teacher centered” instruction. Lectures, tutorials, drills, demonstrations, and other forms of teacher controlled teaching tend to dominate behavioral classrooms and thus, behavioural games.

Minecraft-  more complex –  in part a pragmatic approximation of natural world, it allows playful self-expression and exploration, but demands drill and skill training to learn how to acquire, combine and use craftable objects towards self-expression. With little or no on screen feedback or direction, Minecraft presents players with an enormous challenge with seemingly endless possibilities.

Pedagogical Approach Game As Knowledge Criteria
Explorative Inquiry Produce new knowledge
Drill and skill Training/revision Reproduction of knowledge
Pragmatic Simulation Realistic knowledge
Playful Self-expression Fun and play

Useful:  Hanghøj’s (2013) Teachers always embody pedagogical values and assumptions on learning that may or may not be successfully integrated with particular game designs.”.

High level, pedagogical depiction of the relationship between curriculum and games.(Hanghøj,2013)

  • research dealing with teachers and games has been mainly conceptual and requires further empirical study. In addition, research often fails to describe the epoch and generation of games under discussion. e.g., third generation games (mid 80s) are often the subject of scholars such as Papert and Dewey (learning by doing, learning by programming) but have little connection with current ‘next gen’ games and cultures.
  •  Much of what is occurring in classrooms today is a result of teacher interest, personal history and broad interest in media and information literacies. Thankfully, there is substantial research to draw upon, however there is no obvious or simple pathway to integration of emerging games.
  • games which require far more active student participation = Exergames – emerging form of computer games to leverage the advantages of sports and exercise in order to support physical, social, and mental health benefits. According to Staiano and Calfert (2011) exergame playing can lead in physical, social, and cognitive developments. They suggest that learning with games can include: the responding body, the moving body, the sensing body and the relating body. Student’s interactions require the sensing mind; the processing mind; the integrating mind and the relating mind.

Discussion Forum: Beyond the ‘classroom’

With an increasing interest by technology companies in personal health and fitness devices and applications to monitor well being, will Exergames have a place in the overall health and well being of your students through their own devices and access to personalised data and information?

Add your comments in the Discussion Forum.

Prensky (2001) notes that simulations are not, in and of themselves, games—they need…fun, play, rules, a goal, winning, competition, etc., and that simulations may be boring and non-gamelike. In the case of virtual worlds, specifically Second Life, many simulations and regions lacked any obvious purpose in education outside of organised events. Useful as collaboration spaces, some failed to focus on active and interactive learning (story telling, performance and games) and instead placed users in passive roles, left of watch, listen and read. This experience felt more like television, film and print rather than pre-digital board games or live action role playing. Arguably, the pedagogical design for learning assumed the user (avatar) was able to act in the space and overcome a passive stance towards media. With few rules or structures to guide them, users often reverted to roles in which felt more familiar, namely ‘the audience’.

Towards game based pedagogies

  • Difficulty in separating  games from virtual worlds and simulations and in-game/with-game learning.
  • Culturally, games and virtual worlds co-exist, yet finding agreeable cohabitational definitions remains difficult. In his classic work, Homo Ludens, written years before the first commercial digital game became known, Johan Huizinga (1950) states that to be a game, it must: be voluntary; have spatial and temporal limits; have rules; and, a self contained goal. This list seems small in comparison to Gee’s 36 principles published in 2003.
  • For educators, finding the right pedagogical approach is further exasperated by a lack of research, particularly in the use of commercial games in educational context with school aged children.
  • Further research is needed into effective methodologies for studying games and people as well as for studying and analysing the games themselves.
  • As games change and as the industry changes, so does the use of games and people’s behaviour and use. The data which has been collected struggles to remain relevant as definitions of what we mean by interactive media, games, gamification, simulation and virtual worlds shift. The pedagogy of classrooms and training programs which seek to place players inside games or use game-like principles to create intrinsic integration with learning is a wicked problem (design thinking).
  • The pedagogy of games is deeply interconnected with the archetypes of ‘good games and good learning’ (Gee, 2003) and therefore the game played is part of the practice and skill of the teacher within further institutional and social constructs.
  • Building upon the characteristics for game-based learning put forward by Winn & Heeter (2006), effective pedagogies must not rely on game-design or the interest of players in games, but to deliberately set out to deliver concrete, measurable outcomes for students. To this end, game based learning pedagogies should include games which (at least)
    • strongly and equitably engage both genders (especially boys and girls)
    • accommodate diverse styles of play (including bodily-active, mobile and static play)
    • have concrete supports for learners with limited gaming experience
      result in deep learning through play
    • offer students choice and immersive experiences which are otherwise impossible or difficult to simulate or create.
  • Furthermore, educators have to consider cognitive load when introducing new technologies for their students and for themselves.

For teachers, the pedagogy of game based learning cannot be reduced into simple or singular explanation.There are three broad conceptual domains that should be addressed. Using Jonassen (2006) towards using games towards creating knowledge, games should:

  1. have goals, a system and game play. The aim is to motivate target learning using sensory and perceptual systems the learner has at the age and stage of learning.
  2. apply cognitive science theories of analogical reasoning. The game allows learners to construct sound and viable mental models of targeted conceptual domains.
  3. are a learning object. The game functions as a self contained decontextualised environment where the learner sees the goals and can readily use their experience and motivations towards play to accelerate the experience or make it concrete.