Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Editing a manuscript (4): It’s time to play a game

One of the nice articles in the manuscript is an article by Maja Pivec from Austria. Maja wrote an article on innovative learning by games.

Although games are part of children grow up and formal education, digital game-based learning is a novel approach in the area of Universities and Lifelong learning. In search for new positioning of the universities in the changing setting of lifelong learning, gaming is becoming a new form of interactive content, worthy of exploration. One of the European Projects, exploring this topic is Minerva project UniGame: Game-based Learning in Universities and Lifelong Learning. Goals of the UniGame project were as follows: to promote digital game-based learning in Europe, to test different educational games within different subjects in various European countries and to focus on social game forms that include virtual communities and collaborative learning.

Digital game-based learning can be applied as additional option to classroom lecturing. Intention of digital game-based learning is to address new and ICT based didactical approaches to learning and at the same time to provide learners the possibility to acquire skills and competencies later required in the business world. By means of educational games learners should be able to apply factual knowledge, learn on demand, gain experiences in the virtual world that can later shape their behavioral patterns and directly influence their reflection, etc. More details on aspects on game-based learning and educational games are provided in[Dondi et al. 03], [Pivec et al. 03], [Prensky 01].

To illustrate possible applications, we present two examples of the game usage. A teacher, who wants his /her students to reflect actively upon interdisciplinary consequences and ethical behaviour of engineers, defines a game-theme called Tunnel building. The aim of the game is that 4 teams are competing to make the best offer and technical solution to build a tunnel on the defined location. The solution should consider different parameters like financial frame, time deadlines, technology applied, ecological acceptance, etc. During the game teams can “buy” knowledge from other experts. Teams are also expected to be able to react on unexpected new conditions e.g. new emission law, or the law regarding an area near the tunnel location, that was declared a natural park, etc. Teams use the preparation time of the game to elaborate their solution. During general discussion different important subjects should be discussed and a consensus on which solution is the most appropriate should be achieved.

To experience Multicultural differences another game-theme could be defined. In this game students worldwide can form teams. There are various possibilities: multinational teams or each nationality builds own team. Teams should work on the same task e.g. to design a multicultural website. Within the team session teams should work on their proposition, research similar web-pages in different cultural environments. Teams should publish their ideas and propositions about functionality and design of a page. Within the general discussion teams have to discuss the subjects and to reach a consensus (e.g. about features of a web page, which design would be the best, which parameters should be considered for cultural adaptation, etc.).

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Blog Posting Number: 380

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