This blog post was compiled by Kris Lines (Kris.firstname.lastname@example.org) Staffordshire University.
While traditional formal summative assessments recognise student achievements in understanding, knowledge and communication, it also necessary to ensure that they master ‘softer’ competency-based skills and literacies. This event explored how game-design pedagogies can help to embed these skills into the curriculum through a range of formative, transactional and extension activities.
The day comprised a mix of theoretical and practical aspects, centred around four presentations on different aspects of game-design and game-based learning. Firstly, Dr Bobbie Fletcher discussed the pedagogies and structures behind gaming and how these should be considered and embedded during the design process of any curriculum. The session also discussed the ‘dark-side’ of gamification and the explicit (and implicit) motivations behind the activities. http://www.slideshare.net/krislines/hea-gamification-an-overview Derek Beeston discussed the ethical aspects of game-design and how the games could inform future practice in other areas. For example, while traditional teaching methods might generate knowledge, there is little evidence that this knowledge results in changes in behaviour from some participants. http://www.slideshare.net/krislines/game-37412406 Julie Adams discussed the practical implementation of an Open Badge framework which could be used as a tool to support game interactions. For example, by having a mechanism to export achievements out of the activity, learners can develop a credible skills portfolio that can then be shared with peers and employers. http://www.slideshare.net/krislines/openbadges-for-hea-conf-2-june In the final session Kris Lines looked at the emerging technologies and pedagogies that could be used within a game-based activity. For example, wearable technology or user-generated content could allow greater interactivity through primary data collection or capture, while geo-tagging, augmented learning and MOOCs allow greater flexibility and personalisation of learning. http://www.slideshare.net/krislines/hea-game-based-learning Overall, the workshop demonstrated that gamification is a credible pedagogy and can be used to embed softer skills within the social science curriculum, apply or modify behaviour, or engage in formative, transactional or extension activities. Or put even simpler, participants will engage much more with an activity if they are having fun! People interested in this area of game-based learning may also wish to look at the JISC Digital Media Infokit: http://www.jiscdigitalmedia.ac.uk/infokit/games/games-home.
It might seem at first glance that game-based learning and gamification are old concepts, a fad or simply “emperor’s new clothes”, however what this work demonstrates is that getting the underpinning pedagogies and game-design mechanics right is often more important than the activity, especially if it is going to be sustainable and inclusive. The question is should education involve games or does this detract from the ‘academic’ experience and the expectations of so-called ‘serious students’? If you would like to contribute to the debate please use the 'leave a reply' facility below.