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Games and learning: how to engage students, develop skills and assess outcomes

For primary and secondary education

Brendon Thomas

on 21 June 2017

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Transcript of Games and learning: how to engage students, develop skills and assess outcomes

Networking with QUT (Hons & Master IT & Games) - engaging physics games for YR7 Science

Year 9 MIT - Empathy focus (Indigenous Australia) Networking with National Design Programs Manager, Creative Industries Innovation Centre

Year 12 making educational games for Childcare Centres

Gamification - codecademy and code.org

Year 12 Mobile Web Apps that integrate gaming - iAwards 2016 and State and National YICTE

Minecraft integration into 7-8 Technologies

QSITE workshops - teacher training

eSports events 8 to 12
- Minecraft, Just Dance, Wii Mario Cart, Super Smash Bros Brawl

Year 10 animation and gaming

How to engage students,
develop skills and assess outcomes

Games & learning
What are we up to with games in secondary education?

four children under eleven years of age:
creative thinkers, collaborators and leaders
their digital futures & cultURL
how is this helping them learn?
digital creators, socialise, engineer, plan, act out, survival strategies, relax, imagine & take timeout
in moderation & prescribed doses

Worry about the usual parent stuff...
obsessions, physical, social and emotional impact
cyberia, digital footprint & safety
most played at home - Slitherio, Minecraft, Call of Duty. Pokemon go..

Recent study by Elson and Ferguson (2013)
* analysis and abstract -
investigating boundary conditions

under which violent games most impact players

As an educator

As an educator

Blissful productivity
- average 22hr a week WOW gamers
3 Billion hours per week playing online games

Games are the
hard work that we choose for ourselves
' (McGonigal, 2011)

McGonigal argues we want to be given '
more satisfying and productive work

Games give us
clearer missions and more satisfying, hands-on work.

Playing games is the voluntary attempt to
overcome unnecessary obstacles
(Suits, 2004).

Brown (2008) and Sutton-Smith (2001) mention the
opposite of play is depression
The pleasure and reward that comes from the rigour of the challenge

Blissful productivity and a(e)ccomplishment
2010 - 500 Million global gamers, experts at 'something'

* add another billion in the next decade - through affordable low energy tech
Jane McGonigal, 2010
Is leisure & play opposite to work & learning?

- young people need more, much more.
- as educators are we doing this?
- are they able to use their learning muscles to innovate and create?
Professor James Gee
Jane McGonigal

"My goal for the next decade is to try to make it as easy to
save the world in real life as it is to save the world in online games

- learning to solve problems that matter by working on things that matter

* what would education
'based on life itself'
look like in our high-tech, digital world
Shaffer, 2006
Games Based Pedagogy, exploring similarities

Good teachers practice this..
create intrinsic challenge, motivation and safe/fun fail
create leveling up - scaffolding
make it personalised - self pacing
set clearly defined and presented goals
make association and constructive alignment
provide peer collaboration, active learning
immediate feedback
situate & immersive learning
allow practice to the point of mastery

Making games

image editing
sound editing
narrative writing
design processes
business/client briefs
* authentic engagement
Engagement through two strands:
2048 (number tile puzzle game)

Italian teenager Gabriele Cirulli invented the game
As a parent

Serious games
- education for defense, medical and health care, scientific exploration, safety, emergency management, city planning, engineering, and politics
eSports Club
eSports Club
Year 12 Educational Games
Year 9 Gamemaker
Year 12 Mobile Web Apps
Imagine doing away with the
and replacing with the '

How far off are we before games become part of formal assessment?

Could games change assessment completely?
Video source from: http://video.pbs.org/video/1767377460
James Gee
(2011) on how gaming environments can enrich problem-solving and drive innovation.
* Apperley, Beavis, Gee, Gentile, Shaffer, Jenkins, McGonigal
'games' are just a set of problems that need to be solved
James Paul Gee, Professor of Literacy Studies in the Department of English at Arizona State University.
Seeing potential
and growth, not just in schooling but evident in government & industry e.g. OH&S training.

Fixing boring learning
Ted Talks, 2010 Jane McGonigal
Making educational games - test & observation at the local childcare centre
Senior IT students
Why do games engage us?
In the past
Cyber peotry
Science - polymer science
Humanities games / history
Interactive web banners

students want to keep refining their project

labour intensive (beta testing, fixing bugs, problem-solving overload)

assessment has to have some constraint in the design, develop and evaluate (DDE) cycle

works best for exceptionally skilled students but still empowers students who find games challenging

assessment programmes become better with age (coding snippets and previous years cohorts)

does not suit all learners
Commentaries by - Wayne Warburton (Macquarie Uni)
"violent media generally increases likelihood of aggressive behaviour and desensitization to violence"
* combine with digital pedagogy and mapping informal learning e.g. use of LMS for collaboration, Q&A, resources etc
Design thinking
Systems Logic
21st century skills
Students learning to solve
problems by working on

Communication | Critical thinking | Creativity | Collaboration | Digital literacy

open-ended briefs
real clients
- strong need for partnerships to develop deeper and more enriching learning. Not buying more... but more buy-in
[of many]
games students enjoy to fill in time..
What we have found with assessment in games..
(the digital mechanic)
common for younger learners
Prefer knowing how to make better games and mentor young coders in design, game play etc

300+ students in elective Tech have successfully completed courses through Codecademy, an online gamified learning environment.
Found to be the best method to teach foundational HTML, CSS, JavaScript etc

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