December 19, 2014

Game-based and immersive courses in a community college system

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SimSprayBradley, P. (2014) Getting in the game: Colorado colleges develop game-based, immersive courses Community College Weekly, March 3

The Colorado Community College System (CCCS) is one of the leading community college systems in exploring new online technologies. I have already reported on their use of remote labs for teaching introductory science courses at a distance. This article looks at the extensive use of immersion and game-based learning in the CCCS:

CCCS set aside $3 million through its Faculty Challenge Grant Program to encourage the development of courses and curriculum focusing on immersion and game-based learning (IGBL). Grants were awarded to 15 projects. The intent was that they would be “lighthouse projects,” illuminating the way for others to follow. Each solution would be scalable, shared with other institutions throughout the 13-college system.

Some of the 15 projects

Projects from this investment include the following:

  • CSI Aurora (Aurora CC) teaches the reality of forensic work through an immersive learning exercise involving a mock crime scene and mock criminal trial, with student participation from the archaeology, forensic anthropology, criminal justice, paralegal and science departments.
  • the Auto Collision Repair program at Morgan Community College purchased a SimSpray immersive virtual reality painting simulation unit, designed to assist in the teaching of spray painting and coating fundamentals. Using SimSpray decreases the expense of paint used to teach spray painting and prevents exposure to potentially dangerous fumes. The 3D SimSpray experience allows students to practice painting before ever stepping into the paint bay (I think in this case the real thing would be more fun!)
  • At Front Range Community College, Project Outbreak is a series of augmented reality scenarios in which microbiology students track and follow a potential epidemic in their local area to its source across international borders. Students use their mobile devices, the TagWhat geolocation app, Google Hangout and Google maps. Scenarios are designed to meet core competencies, promote global connectedness and give students a global perspective in solving real-world problems
  • the Community College of Aurora’s film school is in the process of using a $100,000 grant to create a virtual economy designed to mirror the reality of the studio system, from writing scripts to luring investors to screening the film in front of a real-life audiences. Over the past seven years, the film school has developed proprietary software that allows students to experience — virtually — every aspect of the filmmaking experience. The cost of rental housing in Los Angeles, New York and Denver can be accessed with a few clicks of a mouse. The cost of obtaining equipment can easily be calculated. Students working within a set budget can see how much to devote to paying actors and directors, producers and key grips.
  • an instructor at the the Community College of Denver is using ACCESS, a web-based game modelled after the board game “Life”, whixh simulates a person’s travels through his or her life, from college to retirement, with jobs, marriage, and possible children along the way. ACCESS teaches the course in a flipped format, allowing students to receive information through videos, podcasts, downloadable lectures and social media, and then discuss the materials in class. The course is designed to help students successfully complete remedial coursework.

Results

The article offers the following results from a ‘consultant’s report’ but I couldn’t find any corroboration:

  • where the ACCESS game was used, scores on quizzes jumped 14 percent and 71 percent of students completed the course, compared to 60 percent enrolled without the gaming component
  • students exhibited nearly identical pass/fail rates as non-IGBL courses.
  • 69 percent of students across semesters indicated that they were either more or much more satisfied with their IGBL course, as compared to other courses; 85 percent of students indicated that they were either more or much more satisfied with their IGBL instructor, as compared to other instructors.
  • students indicated that their IGBL course did a better or much better job (as compared to non-IGBL courses) of helping them achieve a variety of learning outcomes, including: having fun while learning (83 percent/73 percent); applying learning to new situations (81 percent/72 percent); staying engaged in learning (79 percent/73 percent); feeling involved in the college (69 percent/60 percent); working well with other students (67 percent/61 percent).

Over to you

Contact North has descriptions of a number of immersive learning projects under its ‘Pockets of Innovation‘ such as Loyalist College’s Border Simulation in Second Life.

See also:

Games-and-learning-in-digital-worlds-en-francais/

More news of video games

Games to defeat obesity, Napoleon, and students’ learning, and other games’ news

I’d be interested to hear from others who are using game-based immersive learning in the two year college system.

Game-based learning: special edition of the ETS journal

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Forge FX's Heifer Village: Nepal

Forge FX’s Heifer Village: Nepal

Bellotti, F. et al. (2014) Guest editorial: Game-based learning for 21st century transferable skills: Challenges and Opportunities Educational Technology and Society, Vol. 17, No. 1

The Journal of Educational Technology and Society has a special issue on ‘Game-based learning for 21st century transferable skills: Challenges and Opportunities.

This special issue focuses on analysing how digital SGs [serious games] can contribute to the knowledge society’s higher demand towards acquiring transferable, transversal skills, that can be applied in different contexts, dealing with various scientific disciplines and subjects. Examples of such skills, often referred to as 21st century transferable skills, include, for example, collaboration, critical thinking, creative thinking, problem solving, reasoning abilities, learning to learn, decision taking, digital literacy (Voogt & Pareja Roblin, 2010).

Five papers have been selected covering the following topics:

  • a study that identifies a relationship between learning outcomes and physiological measurements of mental workload,
  • an evidence model for assessing persistence
  • two studies on pedagogical models …developed to support the effective use of serious games in formal education settings
  • an empirical investigation aimed at examining the interplay between learners’ motivation, engagement, and complex problem-solving outcomes in game-based learning
  • a large case-study of four formal education programs exploiting serious games based on multiuser virtual environments.

There is also a large number of papers on other topics in this edition. The focus is mainly on the k-12 sector, but the papers on serious games also have implications and potential for post-secondary education.

Online game to help self-management of finances

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AP (2012) NH launches online money management game Vanguard, February 12

Extracts

The U.S. Treasury Department recently awarded grants to five states to expand financial education and counseling services for prospective homebuyers. While the other states set up more traditional face-to-face counseling programs, the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority created an online program that includes an educational game aimed at making the process more enjoyable.

The game is set up as a “financial freedom island cruise.” Each island represents lessons on budgeting and credit management. Participants earn money by answering questions correctly or by “spinning” the cruise ship’s wheel for bonus prizes — “You won $400 at bingo!” — though it’s all just part of the game….

The idea for the program stemmed from a family self-sufficiency program the finance authority already offers for people trying to build their assets and get out of poverty.

While there are other websites dedicated to the same topic, they often feature advertising. About 100 people have signed up for the New Hampshire program so far, and the goal is to register at least 600 in the next year and a half.

Comment

This won’t of itself solve the US housing mess created by the banks, but it does provide an interesting way of helping people manage their money after they’ve been ripped off by the banks.

But will it also help Americans realise that they cannot get quality public services such as schools and universities if they don’t pay taxes? Now that would be a financial education.

Going to Online Educa Berlin

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Online Educa Berlin begins next week. I will be attending for the first time in many years. If you are also going, I hope to meet you.

There are many interesting sessions at the conference. Some of these are highlighted in the Online Educa news service:

The Saudi Arabian Digital Library. The National Center for E-Learning (NCeL) of the Saudi Ministry of Higher Education was launched five years ago. Of its many projects, the Saudi Digital Library (SDL) is perhaps the most impressive. Launched in November 2010, the SDL holds more than 114 000 e-Books and reference works spanning various academic disciplines. It also manages the Maknaz repository which provides interactive learning objects in different formats such as photos, instructional movies, illustrations and so forth. Dr Abdullah Almegren, Assistant Professor of Education at King Saud University and the general manager of NCeL, will be speaking at the conference.

Research on the effective of virtual patients in the teaching of medicine. Martin Riemer and his co-author Martin Abendroth have spent the past year studying the use of virtual patients by hundreds of students at the University Medical Centre Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany, and their findings shed light on how best virtual patients should be integrated into the curriculum.

OEB session CUL38, Learning Cultures: An International Perspective brings together speakers representing universities in Brazil, Russia and India in a panel discussion exploring theoretical discourse, technology implementation and factors supporting and hindering developments in open and distance learning.

In session VIR05, The Best Kept Secrets of Game-Based Learning, distinguished speakers will offer insight into how virtual environments and game-based learning can be integrated into school [and college] curricula seamlessly in order to increase learner motivation and enhance collaborative learning.

Lieve Van den Brande, a Principal Administrator at the Directorate-General for Education and Culture of the European Commission will present a paper entitled EU Policy for ICT in Education: A New Initiative on Creative Classrooms/Creative Learning Environments. The Europe 2020 strategy is an intricate ten-year plan to revive employment and stimulate the economy of the European Union. Such a plan requires educational goals that are simultaneously ambitious yet tenable. Lieve Van den Brande will discuss these in her presentation.

Pasi Vilpas, a biology teacher at the The Sotunki Distance Learning Centre in Vantaa, Finland, is presenting Teaching Genetics in The Second Life with a Large-Scale 3D-Model of DNA”. Pasi invited his pupils to enter the three-dimensional online virtual world of Second Life and walk and fly inside the crucial molecule.

These are just a tiny sample of the 400 presentations at the conference. The main challenge will be working out what I really must attend from all the range of options (and also to handle the bierkellers). Hope to see you on the Kurfurstendamm!

 


Games and learning in digital worlds – en français

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© David Deal, 2011

The latest edition of the Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology (Vol. 37. No. 2, 2011) has five articles on this topic, all in French (there are short English abstracts for each article.)

Emmanuel Duplàa Taktak writes an editorial Presentation: Games and Learning in Digital Worlds

Louise Sauvé, David Kaufman, and Lise Renaud’s article Creating an Educational Online Game, Asthma :1,2,3…Breath!, to Sensitize
Secondary School Students to the Problems of Asthma
is about a ‘game’ for secondary school students on asthma.

Marc-Antoine Dumont, Michael Thomas Power, and Sylvie Barma’s article GeoEduc3D: Evolution of Serious Gaming Towards Mobility and Augmented Reality in Science and Technology Education describes the development of a gaming prototype for senior high school students in science and technology studies, called Géoéduc 3D

Samuelle Ducrocq-Henry article Learning Together in Class Via Popular Video Games: A Pedagogical LAN Model reports on his PhD thesis “Tribes in Play” which puts forward a pedagogical LAN (PL) model that resulted from a local area network video game competition (LAN parties) study.

Vincent Berry’s article Playing to Learn: Are you Serious? A Theoretical Discussion of the Relationship Between (Video) Games and Learning offers a theoretical discussion of the relationship between video games and education based on both a literature review of this field and a study of players of Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games.

Etienne Armand Amato’s article The Uses of Serious Video Games: Purposes, Discourses, and Correlations argues that to overcome the rhetoric used by the actors in this quickly expanding sector, a new definition of serious video games is needed. This definition is based on how video games are utilized and comes to the conclusion that all serious games try to correlate effectively game and reality.

Comment

Far too often, language divides the world of anglophone and francophone speakers in Canada. As a result both communities suffer from missed opportunities to share knowledge and experience. As someone who reads French reasonably well, I welcome this francophone edition.

However, the  Canadian Network for Innovation in Education is the national organization for learning technologists and distance educators in Canada. It would increase knowledge transfer between the two language communities considerably if all articles in their journal were published in full in both languages. Ideally, all Canadians should be bi-lingual in English and French (which for many Canadians means being tri-lingual at least), and I realise there is a large cost in translation, but Canada is too small a country for such solitudes. We need to learn from each other.