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Playful Learning: Computer Games in Education

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This short book combines thoughts, observations, tools and practical tips to help you understand more about using and
making computer games in the classroom.
In short, it is a guide to get children excited and re-energised about learning.

Publié dans : Formation, Technologie
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Playful Learning: Computer Games in Education

  1. educationPlayful Learning:Computer Gamesin Education
  2. the microsoft visual identity the microsoft visual identity Computer Games Contents in Education FORWARD ............................................................................................................................. 3 the microsoft visual identity AIMS ......................................................................................................................................... 4 CHAPTERS ............................................................................................................................. 5 the microsoft visual identity Chapter 1: Why use computer games? ................................................................................................. 5 Chapter 2: Contextual hubs for learning .............................................................................................. 9 Chapter 3: Learning from games ............................................................................................................ 13 Chapter 4: Making games .......................................................................................................................... 17 Chapter 5: Why is it important to teach about games? ................................................................. 22 the microsoft visual identity The Microsoft Brand Guidelines for Education | 27 Chapter 6: Overcoming the challenges and getting started ........................................................ 26 CONCLUSION ....................................................................................................................... 29 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS .................................................................................................. 30 Th REFERENCES ......................................................................................................................... 31 The Microsoft Brand Guidelines for Education | 27 The Microsoft Brand Guidelines for Education | 27 The Microsoft Brand Guidelines for Education | 272 Contents education
  3. Computer Games Forward in Education As a geography teacher a number of years ago I was having trouble getting a group of 14 year old boys interested in the theory behind urban planning on a wet Thursday afternoon. To be honest, I was actually having a bit of trouble getting myself interested as well! Then from the back of the class one young man piped up and said, ‘it’s a bit like Sim City,’ and that was my Eureka moment. The rest of my planned lessons were cancelled and we based the rest of the unit around the game. Learning flourished as the young people started to participate in a real and authentic learning experience within a cultural framework that was acceptable to them. That was the start of my work in Games Based Learning and since then I have had the opportunity to develop projects as a class teacher, head of department, senior manager and most recently as a national development officer. I have seen the power of games, combined with passionate teachers transform classroom and schools. In doing so, games have helped deliver positive and sometimes transformational learning outcomes for young people. The Microsoft Brand Guidelines for Educa This short book combines thoughts, observations, tools and practical tips to help you understand more about using and making computer games in the classroom. In short, it is a guide to get children excited and re-energised about learning. Ollie Bray www.olliebray.com3 Forward education
  4. Computer Games Aims in Education The aims of this eBook are to: • Enhance the understanding of the benefits of games and games technology in developing aspects of the curriculum including literacy, numeracy, technology, personal, social and health education. • Provide practical information on how games can be used to increase student motivation and enhance learning. Give teachers the confidence to use games in class as a learning and teaching • methodology. • Encourage teachers to consider using games design with students to help children become creators rather than consumers of content. • Improve the understanding of related issues linked to computer games around Internet Safety and Responsible Use (including the possible impact of violent computer games on children and parental controls).4 Aims education
  5. Computer GamesChapter 1 - Why use computer games? in Education In recent years computer Games Based Learning, or playful learning These findings are not isolated and there is a growing body of research that has started to gain more cohesion in classrooms as a powerful learning suggests computer games can stimulate successful learning environments and teaching methodology. and provide motivational contexts for learning. This includes a recent collaborative research report from Learning and Teaching Scotland and The 2011 Horizon Report, which seeks to identify emerging trends in future Futurelab UK which evaluates the impact of console games in the classroom2. teaching and learning, recognised Games Based Learning as a future trend that was within three years of adoption by the teaching community1. “Computer games are the most powerful learning tool of our age.” Professor Henry James, MIT education
  6. Computer Games Chapter 1 - Why use computer games? in Education 1.1 hy are games so powerful in W These factors combined with the knowledge that 1.2 evelopment of Active D education? good teachers have always used games and play Learning in their classroom from the early years ‘play based’ There are lots of reasons why games are so powerful curriculum to the multiple-choice games and Research tells us that children learn by doing, in education and a list of reasons might include: simulations that are found within many secondary/ thinking, exploring, through quality interaction, high schools. Indeed, play and games have been an intervention and relationships, founded on children’s • Games are a form of play. That gives us important component of education for many years. interests and abilities across a variety of contexts4. intensity and involvement. Perhaps the most important. Active learning is the process by which learning Games are a form of fun. That gives us • The use of computer games and games consoles engages and challenges children and young people’s enjoyment and pleasure. such as the Xbox 360 is just a natural progression thinking using real-life and imaginary situations5. • Games have rules. That gives us structure. of the playful learning environment. This has It takes full advantage of the opportunities for progressed and evolved though traditional play, learning presented by spontaneous play, planned • Games have goals. That gives us motivation. to mechanically aided play to digitised play. play, purposeful play, investigating, exploring, Games have problem solving. That sparks • events, life experiences and focused learning our creativity. and teaching. • Games have story. That gives us emotion. Learning through play... Active learning has long been an established approach in early years settings. But all areas • Games have interaction. That gives us of the curriculum, at all stages, can be enriched social groups. and developed through an active approach. • Games have outcomes and feedback. Active learning does not mean energetic learning, That gives is learning instead the ‘active’ part of the learning results from List adapted from Robertson 2006.3 cognitive-stimulation as a result of engaging and challenging activities. The use of computer games in the classroom has “ he Xbox 360 is just a T ® Time active learning at its core and is one of the reasons natural progression All types of play remain incredibly important for why they are potentially so powerful in education. of the playful learning recreation, enterprise and education. environment.”6 Why use computer games? education
  7. Computer Games Chapter 1 - Why use computer games? in Education 1.3 Quality learning environments Are these not the same three things that we want I think that there are a few reasons for why this from our learning spaces? Don’t we want to create occurred. The first is that PC games and games Quality learning in schools occurs where you have classrooms that are full of challenge, progression consoles are culturally relevant for children. They good pedagogy combined with activities that are and the feeling of satisfaction? All good games feel comfortable using them and because they feel either interesting or engaging. Gaming is hugely offer us this and computer games offer at least two comfortable they feel safe. popular in the UK with over 85% of young people other important pedagogical qualities. The ability between the age of 5-15 owning some type of to personalise and the ability to collaborate. This The second and most important reason is one of electronic gaming device6. This means that if collaboration can often occur in real-time, through relationships. In the same way that young people used in the right way, computer games, due to technologies such as Xbox LIVE®. build up relationships with inanimate objects such as their cultural relevance, are an example of an cuddly toys. They can also build up a relationship with appropriate technology for engagement. the character in the game. It’s the character that is not very good at maths and it becomes the child’s job to But games in themselves also make great metaphors 1.4 competitive but A get their character better – the game de-personalises for learning. As a child my favourite board game non-threatening stimulus the experience. It removes the fear. was Mouse Trap7. If you think about Mouse Trap (or any board game) the best games offered a number As well as providing many components that help of things. This included challenge, progression and create a quality-learning environment, computer Relationships... reward. Reward was often in the form of ‘the feeling games also offer a stimulus for learning through of satisfaction’ rather than a physical prize. non-threatening competition. At my own school I observed a group of children Playful learning... playing an online maths game on the PC. The game involved completing simple sums against a timer - Challenge and an online opponent. What amazed me is when the children lost they would go to the practice area - Progression and practice their sums again and again and again. - Reward They never gave up, they helped each other and they weren’t frightened of failure. The interesting thing is - Personalised that I had seen the same group of children struggling real-time with an almost identical set of 20 maths problems through the medium of pencil and paper. When they didn’t do as well as they could, it was difficult to motivate them to try again – some just accepted failure, they were scared of exposing their lack of “Xxxx.” understanding of the subject matter.7 Why use computer games? education
  8. Computer Games Chapter 1 - Why use computer games? in Education 1.5 he common language T Most importantly, online gaming encourages of games conversation between young people across cultures and I strongly believe conversation in the long term I’ve seen lots of badly dubbed films but I have can reduce conflict. never seen a badly dubbed computer game. Yet children play the same games in different languages all over the world. In 2010 I took a group of young people from my school to Alaska8 and, amongst other things, we spent over two weeks canoeing above the Arctic Circle. We finished our canoe trip at the small Inuit village of Noatak. The people who lived at Noatak were the first people we had seen in weeks and naturally our young people talked and socialised with their young people. What did they talk about… computer games! The games talk established a common interest and the feeling of security followed by all sorts of wonderful conversations about culture, lifestyle and the environment. Xbox LIVE® ID’s were 1.6 ow can games be used H exchanged and relationships around this internet of in schools? games continue to be developed online between young people who live thousands of miles apart on There are a number of ways that games can be used different continents. in schools including supporting existing educational outcomes, as a stimulus for thematic learning and Games bring people together and they always have. also to get young people creating content rather than That is why the Olympic Games, the Commonwealth just consuming it through computer games design. Games and the World Cup are so important. Used in the right way, computer games can achieve a similar Some of these methodologies will be discussed in objective and I believe that global online games to the proceeding chapters. the current generation of young people will be as important as large sporting events are to mine.8 Why use computer games? education
  9. Computer GamesChapter 2 - Contextual hubs for learning in Education The ‘elephant in the room’ of educational gaming is that in the past many of games that have been developed for education aren’t actually very good! As a general rule they have either been built by educationalists and therefore lack the graphics and immersion of commercial games. Or they have been built by smaller commercial providers but then lack the education rigour that is required for gaming in the schools. Although children will often engage with and tolerate some of these games in schools. This is likely to be because these games present a different flow of work to their normal routine and that they are being entertained rather than engaging in a meaningful learning experience. Commercial off-the-shelf games (or COTS games) are different. They have often been constructed with large budgets and have a very high production value. They certainly haven’t been made with education in mind. Yet some of these games if used in the right way have huge education potential to be used as a contextual hub for learning. The Microsoft Brand Guidelines for Edu “Now what we are talking about here is computer games not just as games, but as a whole new learning form or platform of learning and one that has quite literally, unlimited learning potential.” Lord David Puttnam education
  10. Computer Games Chapter 2 - Contextual hubs for learning in Education What are contextual hubs? The important thing is that the game provides the engagement and the ‘hook for learning’ but the I like science fiction but I have to admit never teacher provides the direction, the coaching and the really been into Star Trek. However, I do once structure where required. In a similar way that the remember watching a television program on the original series of Star Trek ‘hooked’ many with the history of the original Star Trek series. I found it romance of space travel but the actual learning was really interesting because the program inferred provided by the scriptwriter and producer. that although it was a Star Trek series about space travel its equal purpose was to help its viewers Professor James Paul Gee’s explanation on Learning understand moral issues. For example, I found it in Semiotic Domains9 provides a more academically fascinating that the first ever-televised inter-racial robust description as to why this type of learning is kiss took place on an original episode of Star Trek. so powerful. You’re probably wondering what my point is here. But I think that this basic idea of the ‘Star Trek Principle,’ which I often refer to when working with teachers is an important one. Basically, you are watching / doing one thing but learning about something else. Computer games can be used in the classroom with similar principles. The learning does not come from the game itself but the game becomes a context for what the learning will be about. The gaming The Microsoft Brand Guidelines for Edu environment becomes a stimulating contextual hub. Contextual hubs are sometimes described as types “ he game becomes T of thematic learning tasks. While this is true in part, contextual hub learning activities normally involve Above: Children learn about Robots and Space using Wall-E for the Xbox 360® at Athelstaneford recurring game play throughout the unit of work Primary School in East Lothian. a context for what the and the learners often adopt roles as the characters of the game to create a more immersive and learning will be about.” contextual experience.10 Contextual hubs for learning education
  11. Computer Games Chapter 2 - Contextual hubs for learning in Education Kinect™ Adventures! The secret of contextual hub projects is that there should be no specific pathway through the learning Kinect Adventures is a good example of a game for Kinect for Xbox 360® that can be used as a contextual activities. Although, obviously, some activities and hub. The key here is thinking about what the game is about, rather than what the game does. The game tasks will be progressive. is about adventure, exploration, teamwork and discovery. Teachers in collaboration with their students can Your class project / unit of work will therefore be about adventure, exploration, teamwork and discovery. decide on the content of the scheme of work by Remember, when using games in this context, the game is the ‘hook’ and provides the stimulus for the learning. picking from lists of possible activities and adding How could you link your standardised curriculum to these four words? their own ideas to create a rich learning experience The diagram below shows some of the possible ways that Kinect Adventures (adventure, exploration, teamwork that is unique and appropriate for their individual and discovery) could be linked to some curriculum activities. needs, class and school. For more ideas on using Kinect Adventures in the Write the story of the game Design a new adventures uniform classroom, have a look at Xbox 360 in Education: Kinect Adventures in the Classroom10. Carry out factual research into the marine life you see in 20,000 leaks Use the sequences in Reflex Ridge to improve dance movement Write an acceptance speech for your living statue Expressive Arts Literacy English Learn about 3D shapes in Rally Ball How are bubbles made? (SpacePop) Collect and process Design a project game data Numeracy on Space Use the date from the game The Microsoft Brand Guidelines for Edu How would the levers to create simple sums Remember, think exploration and motors work on and adventure! Science Reflex Ridge? Social Subjects “ ames provide the G Research the climatic zones of the game Modern Languages How does the River Rush Waterfall form? What key phrases would you need to learn What is the history behind a Middle Ages Gauntlet? to go on an adventure in a foreign country? stimulus for learning.”11 Contextual hubs for learning education
  12. Computer Games Chapter 2 - Contextual hubs for learning in Education Possible Xbox 360® COTS games projects An example of this in practice might be the use of the data generated from a hurdles race in The use of commercial games in the classroom has grown in popularity in the UK over the last few years Kinect Sports to drive questions around adding, and their potential impact is well documented in the Futurelab report, ‘The impact of console games in subtraction, distances, speed and averages. the classroom’11. The findings of this particular report suggest that well structured and planned game- based approaches to learning can provide excellent opportunities to engage students in activities which can enhance learning and produce a wider range of educational benefits. As well as Kinect™ Adventures, some other Xbox 360 game titles and their broad themes that could be used as contextual hubs for learning are shown in the table below. There are also lots of other games that could be used... you just need to use your imagination! Xbox 360 Broad curriculum themes linked to this game Age range game Kinectimals Pets, care, endangered species, adventure Nursery/primary For more ideas on using Kinect Sports in the London 2012 The Olympics Primary/secondary classroom, see the Xbox 360 in Education: Kinect Sports in the Classroom12. Guitar Hero/ Rock music, music culture, world tour Upper primary/ Rock Band secondary The use of Kinect Sports to ‘gamify’ a simple Wall-E Friendship, environment, recycling, robots, space Primary maths lesson is one example of the ‘gamification of learning’ in the next chapter we will explore this Carnival Game Carnival, celebration, festivals, engineering Primary/secondary concept in more detail. The Microsoft Brand Guidelines for Edu Other uses for COTS games in the classroom Projects that use games as contextual hubs tend to span several weeks or even terms of work. It is important that playing the game is not seen as a reward but that it is part of the learning experience. Another use for COTS games is to compliment and reinforce existing education outcomes. For example, games produce data in the form of high scores, leader boards and times. The challenge for the classroom teacher is to use the data generated from the game as a stimulus to reinforce mathematical concepts. Many young people buy into this methodology as they have generated the data themselves by playing the game. This means that it is authentic and not contrived like in many traditional settings.12 Contextual hubs for learning education
  13. Computer GamesChapter 3 - Learning from games in Education In the last chapter we discussed how commercially available games could be used as context for learning. In this chapter we will take some of the things that we have learnt from good game play and the construction of successful computer games and think about how a games based approach could be used to develop traditional teaching methodology. This approach is sometimes referred to as the ‘gamification of learning’. To help us explore this in more detail we will showcase a number of free tools from Microsoft® the Learning Suite and Kinect™ Playful Learning Titles. “50% of all innovation, and 70% of Global 2000’s apps will be gamified by 2015.” Brian Burke, Gartner Group education
  14. Computer Games Chapter 3 - Learning from games in Education Learning about Microsoft® Office Again, like all great games, Ribbon Hero gives you feedback as you progress through the levels. You can with Ribbon Hero® also share your achievements and scores with friends Microsoft Office is a powerful business productivity on popular social networking sites such as Facebook. suite with lots of useful features and functionality. Finally, freeplay mode allows you to play the tutorials The 2007 version of Microsoft Office introduced a in any order to help you improve and practice your new graphical user interface called ‘the Ribbon’ in skills on specific Office applications and tasks. the first significant change of design since Office was introduced in 1990. To help you get the most out of Office 2007 and 2010, Microsoft Office Labs have ‘gamified’ traditional tutorials to make them more engaging, real and relevant for new users of Office. The game is called If you select a tutorial to play, the game play takes ‘Ribbon Hero’ (www.ribbonhero.com), which is a free place within Microsoft Office. Again, just like in all plug in for Office 2007 and 2010 and is now in its good games, help is built into Ribbon Hero so there second generation. is no need to consult a large instruction manual. Like all good games you play a character and Ribbon The amount of help you ask for may have an impact Hero resurrects ‘Clippy’ the office assistant that you on the points that you score for each level. If you want to progress to play the harder more complicated might remember from Office 1997. In game mode tutorials you have to ‘unlock’ achievements first. Clippy moves from place to place on a world tour and you have the choice of playing a variety of tutorials on the way. Each game is worth a certain amount of points and you have an opportunity to see how many Ribbon Hero has been very successful in schools points are available before you select the tutorial to play. that teach the use of Microsoft Office as part of ICT, Business Education, Accounting and Administration. “ icrosoft Office Labs have M ‘gamified’ traditional tutorials to make them more engaging, real and relevant.”14 Learning from games education
  15. Computer Games Chapter 3 - Learning from games in Education Mouse Mischief • Participating in the Shout Programme One key feature of modern digital game play • Becoming a Microsoft Teacher Trainer is ‘real-time’ collaboration and ‘real-time’ competition. Technologies such as Microsoft® Mouse Mischief allow you to ‘gamify’ traditional You can also earn team badges for: PowerPoint® quizzes and presentations to allow more than one user to collaborate at any time. • Becoming a Partners in Learning Educator • Being part of a Partners in Learning School The Partners in Learning Network The Microsoft Partners in Learning (PiL) Network has helped over 4 million educators and school leaders in over 100 countries connect, collaborate, create and share so that they can deliver the best possible outcomes for learners. A key part of the network is the online portal that has been upgraded and ‘gamified’ in 2012. For more information of Microsoft Partners in With Mouse Mischief you can insert questions, learning see www.microsoft.com/education/pil and to polls and drawing activity slides into your lesson Participants in the programme can now earn join the New Partners in Learning network sign up presentations. Learners can then actively participate ‘badges’ and gain rewards for sharing resources, for free at www.pil-network.com. in these lessons by using their own mice to click, collaborating with others and participating in events. circle, cross out or draw answers on the screen. Badges and rewards are one of the most popular For example you can earn individual badges for: types of gamification and there is huge scope for Microsoft Mouse Mischeif for Windows® 7 can be them to be used to encourage and provide feedback downloaded for free from microsoft.com/multipoint/ • Being a Worldwide Innovative Teacher Award for learners. For example, it is possible for learners to mouse-mischief. It has been very successful in Winner receive badges for writing blog posts, participating schools who want to develop a cost effective whole- • Participating in the Microsoft Schools Research in discussion forums and digitally commenting on class interactive voting system. other peoples work.15 Learning from games education
  16. Computer Games Chapter 3 - Learning from games in Education Playful learning titles Assessment The new Playful Learning titles from Microsoft® In his 2011 Learning without Frontiers Talk Derek with a variety of partners such as Sesame Workshop, Robertson from the Consolarium13 in Scotland Disney and National Geographic represent the next discusses games and the wider assessment paradigm shift in education gaming. agenda. A highlight of his talk is how Xbox LIVE® rewards could be applied to learning14. The unique natural user interface of Kinect™ for Xbox 360®, combined with the cultural relevance of The Higher Education sector in the USA is already the Xbox and the education research methodology ahead of the UK in this particular aspect of the behind all of the playful learning titles means that gamification of education. For example, in 2010 ‘gamification’ of learning is coming directly though Associate Professor Lee Sheldon of Indiana University the Xbox to classrooms and living rooms. replaced the traditional grading system in two of his game design classes with a system that was based on For example, within Kinect Sesame Street TV, experience points (XP), which were typically used to children can interact with their favourite Sesame track progress in role-playing games. Street characters on screen to help them with tasks, play in their world and learn together. The game uses Students commenced the program as avatars at level full-body gestures and voice recognition to move one, which corresponded to zero XP and a grade of from experience to experience, and go from passive ‘F’. They gained XP by completing ‘quests’, ‘fighting watching to active participation. monsters’ and ‘crafting’ – in other words, giving presentations, sitting quizzes and exams, and handing For more information on the Xbox 360 Kinect Playful Learning titles see www.xbox.com/KinectforKids. in projects. “ he ‘gamification’ T Like in the popular online game World of Warcraft, the students were grouped into ‘guilds’ and had to complete quests solo, as guilds, or as ‘pick up groups’ of learning is coming with members of other guilds15. In the next chapter of this book we will move to directly though the discuss how children and young people can make their own computer games and why this is important Xbox to classrooms and living rooms.” to secure a future digital economy.16 Learning from games education
  17. Computer GamesChapter 4 - Making games in Education Visual effects is the fastest growing component of the UK’s film The problem originates in how we teach computing in schools where industry and the video games industry is the largest entertainment ICT skills (the use of software applications) have almost entirely replaced industry in the world, with global software revenues exceeding $50bn computing skills (the building of software application) in many areas of the (£32bn) per annum. Unfortunately, in a growing market, the UK is UK. There is of course a place for both areas in education but the balance slipping down the global games development league table and the UK’s needs to be re-addressed. Most economies in the world have developed visual effects industry is reported to turn down millions of pounds in though building things. In the 21st century the building of digital assets is business each year16. just as important as the ability to build physical ones. Ian Livingston, author of the UK Governments NetGen Report, states that, As games are so culturally relevant to young people, games design offers ‘A very big part of the problem, common to both industries, lies in their skills one possible way to re-energise and reinvent computing education. Getting gaps and shortages. We simply cannot hire enough computer scientists and young people to digitally build things will also ensure that we develop a this seems madness at a time of such high youth unemployment’. generation of creators of content rather than the passive consumers of content who have been growing in numbers over the past decade. “Children need to be given digital building blocks to inspire them to build digital content.” Ian Livingstone, Life president, Eidos education
  18. Computer Games Chapter 4 - Making games in Education Games design in a cross- What makes a good Rewards – not just game points, but also the ability curricular context computer game? to do new things in the game or to unlock new levels. The immediacy of rewards is important as Before I talk more about some of the games I touched on some of these things in chapter they are also a form of feedback and will encourage design tools that are available to schools it is one but it is useful to re-cap some of them here players to keep going. Remember the role of a worth mentioning that the production of a in more detail. It is also important to remember successful games designer is not to help people win video game makes a powerful cross-curricular that not all games need all of these things and the game but to ensure they keep playing it. This project. Projects like this can help break down some games have a lot more. is why many modern games can be completed in a the subject silos that exist in many secondary number of different ways. Continuous Challenges – A challenge that leads schools and develop the 21st century skills of to challenges are the best as this keeps a player The above information is useful because games collaboration, communication and teamwork. ‘hooked’ on the game. Challenges do not have to design should be seen as a process and planning The production of any blockbuster computer game be big and when solved may form part of a larger is a very important part of this. In examples where needs market researchers, storywriters, graphic solution to a larger problem. Examples of challenges young people are just told to ‘get on with it’ the artists, character designers, programmers, marketers, might include answering a question, finding an final product often has no real depth, imagination communication teams and even people to design object or unlocking a puzzle. or game play. When teaching games design it can and make the packaging. Then you need to work be useful to have a session where the students ‘play’ Progressive – this can be achieved through the out how much you will sell the game for and how with the technology to satisfy their curiosity and to introduction of levels that get increasingly difficult, you will distribute and possibly translate it into gain an understanding of what it can do before the progression through a story or a bit of both. Not all different languages. proper planning and building commences. games need a story but it certainly helps liven it up There is no reason why a holistic computer games and provides a great context to teach literacy. All We will now have a look at some technologies that design project can not be successful linked to almost good stories have strong characters. can be used to create games. every subject on the curriculum. The project will also provide a real and relevant stimulus for students. “ he production of a video game makes a T powerful cross-curricular project.”18 Making games education
  19. Computer Games Chapter 4 - Making games in Education Microsoft® Office PowerPoint® Finally, a nice twist to this activity is to create a game based story about your local area. This might Do you remember those adventure books you include pictures children have taken, videos they used to read as a child? The ones where at the have recorded and sounds they have collected. end of every page you had the choice of which The UK Partners in Learning InnoVID YouTube direction to take the story? You might turn to Channel has a quick example of how this type of page 16 to open the door, or to activity is used to develop language teaching17. page 24 to go though the gate? These were some of the first handheld narrative driven games and the games console was a book! Microsoft Office PowerPoint provides a modern twist to get children to write and build their own stories that have games based element. Each slide becomes a page of your story. You can insert action buttons and triggers in Office PowerPoint 2007 and 2010 to navigate through your story and direct readers to different story lines and endings. Unlike a traditional paper based version of this activity PowerPoint allows you to embed other media, including video and sound, into the story as well. The slide animation features can also be used to get some impressive results. “PowerPoint provides a modern twist to get children to write and build their own stories that have games based element.”19 Making games education
  20. Computer Games Chapter 4 - Making games in Education Microsoft® Kodu® The most recent version of Kodu (version 1.2) adds a What does Kodu help you teach? new story telling feature (ideal for supporting literacy) Kodu is exciting, easy to use and a free games and also a new web-based support community. • Kodu introduces the logic and problem solving design and programming software. You can use it to of programming without complex syntax and create elaborate 3D landscapes, build complicated shows that programming is a creative medium. immersive games while remaining in control of the characters, lighting and camera angles. • Kodu is object-orientated and introduces conditions and sequence. • Kodu is a great tool for narrative creation and storytelling – providing an interesting environment to create stories. Kodu allows you to change the in-world • variables making it easy to introduce scientific and mathematical concepts. Kodu programming involves selecting visual tiles for • Kodu builds real world, 21st century skills by a condition (WHEN) and an action (DO). It is very challenging users to analyse a problem deeply simple and intuitive to use. and structure their solution. Kodu is available for the PC and for the Xbox 360®. The PC version of the game allows you to use the keyboard to programme the characters and How to get started with Kodu? landscape. You can also plug an Xbox controller into Kodu (version 1.2) can be downloaded for free the PC version of the game which is very popular from: fuse.microsoft.com/kodu. There are also with young people. a number of Kodu tutorials on the same site. Kodu in the Classroom is a set of resources that have ” odu provides an end-to-end creative environment K been developed for education to help you introduce Kodu as either a one off experience or as a sequence for designing, building, and playing your own of lessons. The UK Kodu in the classroom series is available new games in the classroom.” to download from: http://www.microsoft.com/ download/en/details.aspx?displaylang=enid=10056.20 Making games education
  21. Computer Games Chapter 4 - Making games in Education Kinect™ SDK Microsoft XNA® Game Studio Unlike Kodu®, to get started with XNA Game Studio, you’ll need to have a basic working knowledge of One recent development from Microsoft® Microsoft XNA Game Studio is an integrated C# and object-oriented programming (OOP). XNA is that has huge potential for schools and development environment (IDE) that includes ideal for older students who want to develop for education is the release of the Kinect tools and code development libraries that real platforms. Software Development Kit (SDK) for Windows®. programmers can use to create computer games for Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360® The XNA Development centre can be found at A number of educators have already started to http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/aa937791 and and Windows® Phone 7. collaborate globally on projects to help bring from here you can download code, watch tutorials Kinect for Windows technology to the classroom and upload your projects for a wider audience. environment. For example, Ray Chambers a computing teacher from Lodge Park Technology College in Northampton has developed and shared the code for a Kinect Quiz18 and a Kinect eBook19 – both of which have huge classroom potential. Elsewhere on the web Johnny Kissko from Texas, USA has started to develop a Kinect Education20 online community which includes an area for educators to share their Kinect Apps Code. More information about the Kinect for Windows SDK can be found at http://kinectforwindows.org. “ ducators have started to collaborate globally E on projects to help bring Kinect for Windows technology to the classroom environment.”21 Making games education
  22. Computer GamesChapter 5 - Why is it important to teach about games? in Education Gaming is very popular with young people in the UK but it is different to most other types of recreation as we often just let young people, ‘get on with it’ and they find out what happens for themselves through trial and error. Although there is nothing wrong with this in principle, we wouldn’t consider this appropriate for some other forms of recreation, for example learning to swim or to ride a bike. With the look, feel and sound of games becoming more realistic, an explosion in online gaming and an increase of in-game micro- finance. It has become increasing important to make sure that young people (particularly young children) understand how to use and play games responsibly. However, in order for educators and other responsible adults to be able to do this requires a basic understanding of computer games and most importantly a willingness to discuss potential issues with young people. This chapter explores some of the facts about UK gaming culture and some basic information to help young people use games responsibly. “Technologies always diverge, economies always converge. Facebook credits will become an international currency as important (or more important?) than the dollar, euro, or yen.” Jesse Schell, Carnegie Mellon University education
  23. Computer Games Chapter 5 - Why is it important to teach about games? in Education Do many young people Do computer games Luckily, over time systems have been put in place to help protect children from coming into contact in the UK play games? make children violent? will content that they may not be emotionally ready The short answer is yes; computer games are very This is a question that needs to be addressed up for. Some of these systems are technological, for popular with young people in the UK. front and the simple answer to this is no. There example the Xbox 360® Parent Controls (see next is absolutely no conclusive research evidence page), some are information systems designed to According to 2011 Ofcom, ‘Children and parents: help consumers make informed choices, for example to suggest that violent computer games make media use and attitudes,’ report gaming is hugely PEGI and some are legal, for example the British children more violent. popular in the UK. Of the three age groups surveyed Board of Film Classification (BBFC) Age Restrictions (5-7 year olds, 8-10 year olds and 12-15 years olds) However, as Gabe Ziichermann suggests in his that are found on some games. most children in each of the groups use at least one of June 2011 TEDxKids Brussels talk22, ‘we must also the gaming devices that Ofcom asked about to play acknowledge that if you have a child pre-disposed Despite all these tools, we still need to understand games. This accounted for close to nine in ten 5-7 to violence, violent games may help make them that some children will still come into contact and years olds (86%), nine in ten 8-11 year olds (93%) and become a better violent child. If games train kids actively engage with content that they are not 12-15 year olds (90%)21. to do other things they also train kids to do that. emotionally ready for. Perhaps, for example, they are We need to accept this and we need to better forced to play an age inappropriate game due to The same report found that, ‘one quarter of boys who peer pressure or they play a game at a friends house understand the relationship between games and play games online do so against people that are not without parental knowledge. These experiences a form of training.’ known to them’. have the potential to be traumatic for some young We also need to acknowledge that some games are children and combined with the fact that they These figures are important for two reasons. Firstly, completely inappropriate for some children (in the probably know they shouldn’t have played the game it is important for adults to understand that gaming same way that some television programmes and in the first place means they are unlikely to discuss is not a fad or something that the minority of young movies are also inappropriate for young people). their experience with an adult. people take part in. The use of computer games, The difference between games and television is in particularly console games, is firmly embedded in This is why the most important rule of Internet the experience. Television is very much a passive 21st century youth culture. Secondly, increasingly Safety and Responsible Use in a connected world viewing experience while advances in gaming more and more young people are playing online is talking to children and young people about their technology to include photo realistic 3D graphics, games through the PC and environments such as online gaming experiences. Only by discussing their stereo sound, peripherals (such as body armour) Xbox LIVE®. While experiences like this offer massive likes, dislikes, fears and aspirations will we help and natural user interface controls makes this a very rewards and enriched experiences we must also make young people play games responsibly. active experience. sure that our Internet Safety and Responsible Use messages stretch to the online gaming environment. ” he use of computer games is firmly embedded in 21st century youth culture.” T23 Why is it important to teach about games? education
  24. Computer Games Chapter 5 - Why is it important to teach about games? in Education Parent controls PEGI The descriptors on the back of the games packaging indicate the main reasons why a game has All major games consoles have sophisticated PEGI stands for Pan European Games received a particular age rating. There are eight parental controls that are important to Information. PEGI is an age rating system, such descriptors: violence, bad language, fear, know about. established to help European parents make drugs, sexual, discrimination, gambling and online informed decisions on buying computer games. gameplay with other people. For example, the Xbox 360® console lets you It was launched in spring 2003 and replaced a customise and manage your family’s access to number of national age rating systems with a games, movies and television content. The parental single system which is now used throughout controls can be used to control the console itself most of Europe. and access to Xbox LIVE®. PEGI is supported by all the major console Parental controls allow you to control things such as: manufacturers, including Microsoft®. The age rating system was developed by the Interactive Software • Which games can be played. Federation of Europe (ISFE). • Which movies and TV shows can be watched. Having an understanding of PEGI is important as it allows you to quickly assess the suitability of a game • How long each family member can use the What are PEGI ratings? for a young person. As an adult working with young console on a daily or weekly basis. people you can also quickly assess to see if a game a The PEGI labels appear on the front and back of young person is talking about is also appropriate for • Whether or not someone can access Xbox LIVE. games packaging and indicate one of the following them at their current age and stage. age levels: 3, 7, 12, 16 and 18. They provide a reliable Schools and organisations who work with young indication of the suitability of the game content in More information on PEGI can be found at people should consider reminding parents about terms of protection of minors. The age rating does www.pegi.info or you might like to download the things like parental controls. This is a particularly not take into account the difficulty level or skills PEGI Mobile App that is available for Window® good idea around festive times when families often required to play a game. Phone 7 and other mobile platforms23. get a games console for the first time. Schools and organisations might also consider linking to online advice from their own websites or newsletters. For more information on Xbox parental controls see www.xbox.com/familysettings.24 Why is it important to teach about games? education
  25. Computer Games Chapter 5 - Why is it important to teach about games? in Education Managing your online presence Play some games It is important that children, young people and adults realise that online games are a further extension of Teaching about and understanding games is their online presence. an important skill for educators, but the only way that you be able to do this is by talking to Online environments like Xbox LIVE® offer a variety of online safety and privacy settings so you can stay in control gamers (particularly children and young people) of your user experience. For example, The Xbox LIVE default online safety and privacy settings are divided into and by playing some games (particularly if you three age groups: child, teen, and adult. The default safety and privacy settings are based on the users birthdate are shown how to play them by children and that was entered when the Xbox LIVE account was created. young people). Just like with any online or real place young people If you really want to understand gaming then you should be careful how much personal information they need to get inside a few games, look outwards and give away to other players. The use of an avatar is also play, rather than trying to understand the culture of recommended on most social networking spaces for games just by looking in. young people under the age of 16. Your Xbox LIVE avatar is useful here as it is likely to be highly culturally relevant to young people. For more information on creating Xbox LIVE avatars see: www.xbox.com/live/avatars. ” eaching about and understanding games T is an important skill for educators.” Above: Staff Guitar Hero Training session in East Lothian, Scotland.25 Why is it important to teach about games? education
  26. Computer GamesChapter 6 - Overcoming the challenges and getting started in Education In this final chapter of Playful Learning: Computer Games in Education we will examine some of the challenges that you may encounter when trying to integrate the use of computer game in the classroom. To help you tackle these challenges we have provided some answers to frequently asked questions. “People love to learn, people love to play. It should not have taken quite so long to make progress towards putting those two together seamlessly.” Professor Stephen Heppell education
  27. Computer Games Chapter 6 - Overcoming the challenges and getting started in Education Does Games Based Learning work? Don’t forget that lesson plans for using Kodu, Kinect™ Adventures and Kinect Sports in the Yes. There is a growing body of research24 to classroom can all be downloaded as part of suggest that Games Based Learning has a real Microsoft® Learning Suite25. pace in the 21st Century Education Systems. However, Games Based Learning has the most transformational impact when it is combined Will the children with good learning and teaching. In a classroom setting games should not be just used as misuse technology rewards or for entertainment but as a whole Children have always misused technology. new approach to learning. That’s why the number 5318008 was so popular when calculators were first introduced to schools26 and why you still get graffiti Will my staff need professional on school desk. The important thing here development / training? is trust, establishing rules, good classroom management and necessary sanctions. Although some training might be necessary the reality is the teacher is only required to drive Any misuse of gaming technology in the classroom the pedagogy and to assess the learning. needs to be seen as a learning opportunity where the responsible use of technology is emphasised. The technical aspects of any Games Based Learning project, such as setting up a games console or plugging an Xbox 360® controller into a PC to use Kodu® can be done by the young people in your class. Much of the technology required for Games Based Learning in education has a low skills threshold. This means the main thing that is required when embracing Games Based Learning in schools is a change of mindset and culture. Of course, some of the best Games Based Learning Professional Development might just involve playing some games – sometimes adults forget how to play!27 Overcoming the challenges and getting started education
  28. Computer Games Chapter 6 - Overcoming the challenges and getting started in Education Will the computers be powerful How do I get staff motivated? enough for games design? Strong leadership is important here and you need to They should be. But if not you need to take this start with little steps and encourage staff to take risks into consideration when procuring your next set of in the classroom. Projects like Kinect™ Adventures PC’s. Young people expect a media rich experience as a contextual hub works well because all staff can these days where they can manipulate images, edit understand and visualise a project on adventures and video and design games. exploring. They might then need some support to help them understand that a project on Kinect Adventures is exactly the same thing - the game is secondary to the learning. It is your job to help them join the dots. Are games consoles good value for money? Playing games in a safe environment is also a good way to get staff motivated about games based learning – The use of games consoles such as the Xbox 360® it is important that adults don’t forget how to play. can offer incredible value for money for games based learning projects. Remember that an Xbox is not just for playing games. It is an entertainment system that can connect to the Internet and other classrooms. You can use your Xbox 360 to listen to music, send messages, watch YouTube videos and Above: Kodu® for Windows® Training Session for staff in Ayrshire. make video calls to other Xbox 360’s. The good news is that lots of schools all over the UK have already tried and used games successfully Kinect Adventures gameplay. in the classroom27 and there is no reason why your school could not be next. ”Young people expect a media rich experience these days.”28 Overcoming the challenges and getting started education
  29. Computer Games Conclusion in Education The main aim of this short eBook was to help people understand that computer games and games consoles such as the Xbox 360® and Kinect™ have massive potential in education. If used in the right way they can help engage learners and can be powerful contexts for learning. Computer games design can also be used to get children and young people introduced and excited about programming as well as the creation of content. Surrounding all of these themes must be the notion of responsible technology use and as educators it is our job to help young people use technology safely. In the last five years we have seen more advances The Microsoft Brand G in games technology than we had seen in the previous 25 years. It really is an exciting time for gaming and with the right thought and consideration it will bring with it an even more exciting time for learning. The game is well and truly on…29 Conclusion education