Monday, 19 March 2012

Games in Learning

The Games in Learning project focuses on how game play, game study, game development and game innovation can be used to improve student learning outcomes.
The project includes workshops, practicums, a conference and research and development.

Why games in learning?

Digital games already play an important role in many students' lives. In the 2006 financial year, Australians spent more than $1 billion on digital game hardware and software.
Purposefully selected games blended with carefully constructed learning experiences can be used to improve student learning outcomes.
They can improve student learning because they:
  • open up opportunities that would be otherwise unavailable or too costly or too dangerous to make available to students
  • require students to exhibit behaviours such as self-monitoring, pattern recognition, problem recognition and problem solving at a deep level, principled decision-making, qualitative thinking and superior short-term and long-term memory
  • engage students.
The best games engage students by being:
  • challenging, complex and scaffolded
  • immersive - they provide an interactive virtual play environment
  • goal-oriented (eg. Make the world a better place, be a hero)
  • fast-paced
  • able to offer immediate feedback
  • story-based
  • customisable - students can make it their own
  • a way to connect with people.
Significant student learning can also take place through designing and developing games. Designing and developing games can:
  • build students' story telling skills
  • encourage cooperative learning
  • engage students in problem solving and higher order thinking
  • encourage planning and reflection
  • be a multi-disciplinary exercise - developing a good game can involve composing music, script writing, story development, physics, visual arts, spatial arts and much, much more
  • introduce students to programming (Programming is a key skill necessary for the 21st century. To prepare students for 21st century lives, we must extend their programming abilities)
  • encourage students to consider a career in the games development industry (The Australian games development industry is growing at a fast rate. It is amounting to revenues of $110 million. 37 per cent of Australia's digital games industry permanent employees are based in Queensland.)

Learning intentions

The program seeks to:
  • develop, guide and support networks of teachers around a number of games in learning focus areas
  • identify future (through research and best-practice) focus areas for digital game-based learning.
The focus areas for 2007-2008 are Machinima, using game-play and game-study in the middle school to increase student learning outcomes, building games and virtual worlds.

Program structure

Program elements include:
  • three-day games in learning practicums
  • games in learning email list
  • workshops
  • games in learning conference
  • games in learning reference group
  • games in learning web community.
  • research and development into virtual worlds.

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