Changing the world by gaming. One kid at the time?

Recently returned from the Games+Learning+Society conferance I find myself quite motivated to think about games in a different way. Not in terms of theory or definition, but in terms of how they can be used.

Taking one step further from arguing how games can teach us something, it was great to see how games were actually used as a context for learning.  Why just argue that virtual spaces are filled with learning, when you can show it?

At risk teens: Learning with the Lich King

A project that inspired me greatly was afterschool programs for teenages where online games such as World of Warcraft to get them engaged in different types of problem solving and advancing literacies. By building upon the existing game design in which being knowledgable is supported and rewarded, these virtual game spaces become sites where kids can learn in a different way.

In many ways, these game spaces have qualities that the classroom is trying hard to construct. Such as difficulty changing based on individual performance, ensuring that tasks are “just right” in terms of challenge. The game gives distinct feedback if you are doing it right, and you can keep on trying to get it right.

By using these game spaces, instead of a classroom, the idea of learning gets reframed. The students enjoy themselves and are allowed to see learning as something enjoyable. The teens will voluntarely read up on guides and sites in order to get better at the game, and will engage themselves in how to manage resources and fellow players.

What I want to do about it?

I wish to try this out myself. Not quite sure where to start yet, but as far as I know there is nothing like this happening in Norway. So the next step would be to find some partners for this. Do you know someone?

Read more: Abstract from a session, paper based on after school program by Constance Steinkuehler. Well worth reading!

40 thoughts on “Changing the world by gaming. One kid at the time?

  1. Vi tweetet følgende fra @spillpikene-kontoen: PhD-stipendiat Kristine Ask spør etter partnere i spill-og-læring-prosjekt: http://tinyurl.com/2wnqdf5

    Svar fra @thunki: @Spillpikene Spennande. Snakker me heilt ny spelutvikling eller bruke eksisterande spel på nye måtar? Interessert. :)

    Kontakt herved opprettet ;)

  2. Hi there. I came across a tweet regarding your “call to arms” in the spirit of serious gaming. Hope you’re still feeling motivated because I’ve been seeking a like minded individuals that would really like to push the boundaries of conventional gaming.

    My background is a B.A. in Multimediatechnology and Design from HiA (Now UiA). Continued from there with a year of general psychology and another studying social entrepreneurship.

    As for actual game development I participated in Microsofts Imaginecup Spring 2009 with a game about sustainable development in rural areas, a 2d game containing mini-games that played off concepts of team building and brainstorming solutions to complex developmental issues. I was the artist/designer on a team with two other Indian based programmers who I only met with virtually. Long story short we got through to the semi-finals, but hitting the deadline for the finals submissions proved to hard for us. We went on to laugh it off as we knew we had gained invaluable lessons and some nice friendships along the way.

    Anyhow. Much wiser now to the dangers of “overscoping” game projects and with the horrors of crunching for 2.5 months well behind me I’d like to try again with newfound fervour.

    These days I’m working full time, and freelancing on the side. That makes super busy for the summer, but it would be cool if we could try to toss some ideas back and forth. Maybe some “casual-academic” Facebook game, “UniVille” anyone?

    By the way have seen this Ted Talk? It sure inspired me. Jane McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world

    Alright. Hope to hear from you. (Dunno why I wrote this in English. Er jo norsk!) :)

  3. Takk til dere som har hjulpet meg med formidling, og dere som har tatt kontakt :)

    En epost til kristine.ask@ntnu.no er et godt sted videre, og tar gjerne et møte eller to for å se hvordan vi kan samordne vårt engasjement.

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