A Typology of Players in the Game Physics Playground


Slater Stefan Bowers Alex Kai Shimin Shute Valerie
2017 DiGRA '17 - Proceedings of the 2017 DiGRA International Conference

Educators are increasingly using games as a method for enabling engagement and learning in students, but research has suggested potentially inconsistent outcomes for the use of these digital tools. One explanation for these mixed findings may be different preferred playstyles of game players, such as Bartle’s (1996) player taxonomies. This research uses latent class analysis (LCA) as a means of examining similarities across student play interactions, using log data obtained from student actions in a game environment. Our research identified at least three groups of players who play the educational physics game Physics Playground – achievers, who obtain a higher number of awards in the game; explorers, who focused on constructing and tinkering with elaborate machines and contraptions; and disengaged players, who seemed to find little content in the game that attracted their attention. Improvements to the existing research methodology and future directions for research are discussed.

 

BioGraphr: Science Games on a Biotic Computer


Gerber Lukas C. Doshi Michael C. Kim Honesty Riedel-Kruse Ingmar H.
2016 DiGRA/FDG '16 - Proceedings of the First International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG

The advancement of biotechnology enables novel types of interaction devices, alternative computers, and games. Design principles for effective human interactions on these technologies is still largely unexplored. Here we present the BioGraphr, an interactive tabletop gaming system that enables playful experience and interaction with millions of microorganisms at the millimeter scale: Light patterns (images) are projected into a miniaquarium containing phototactic (i.e. respond to light) Euglena cells, which then arrange into complex dynamic bioconvection patterns within seconds. We characterized the biocomputational properties of the BioGraphr, designed biotic games, and explored novel interactive scientific and artistic activities. Responses by test players indicate fun and meaningful gameplay and emphasize how learning about microscopic biology can be naturally coupled to a “bio-computational” substrate. We derived general humancomputer interaction design lessons for games on biological machines. The BioGraphr is accessible for DIY, museums as well as formal science education as its low-cost version is easy to reproduce, and Euglena cell cultures are long term stable.

 

Interactive Biotechnology: Design Rules for Integrating Biological Matter into Digital Games


Gerber Lukas C. Kim Honesty Riedel-Kruse Ingmar H.
2016 DiGRA/FDG '16 - Proceedings of the First International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG

In recent years, playful interactions with biological materials, including live organisms, have been increasingly explored and implemented. Such biotic games are motivated and enabled by biotechnological advances and their increasing presence in everyday life constitute a form of human-biology interactions (HBI). Here we systematically discuss the design space for “digital-biology hybrid” games, summarize current best-practice design rules based on recent works, and point to technologies that will enable others to design and utilize similar games to advance this field. In particular, we show how augmentation with overlaid digital objects provides a rich design space, we emphasize the advantages when working with microorganisms and light based stimuli, and we suggest using biotic processing units (BPUs) as the fundamental hardware architecture. In analogy to the history of digital games, we make some predictions on the future evolution of biotic games as the underlying core technologies become readily accessible to practitioners and consumers. We envision that broadening the development of playful interactive biotechnology will benefit game culture, education, citizen science, and arts.

 

Authentic Learning Experiences Through Play: Games, Simulations and the Construction of Knowledge


Galarneau Lisa
2005 DiGRA '05 - Proceedings of the 2005 DiGRA International Conference: Changing Views: Worlds in Play

A chorus of proclamations have arisen in recent years about the potential of games and simulations to facilitate learning. Yet few discussions focus on the fundamental issue surrounding the implementation of games and simulations: to what learning objectives and pedagogical strategies are they most relevant? Through an examination of perspectives on the suitability of games for learning, as well as recent examples of digital game-based training in two vocational settings, this paper examines the design of authentic learning experiences as a way of thinking about the appropriateness and unique potential of games and simulations in a range of educational and training settings.

 

OceanQuest: A University-Based Serious Game Project


Parker J. R. Chan Sonny
2005 DiGRA '05 - Proceedings of the 2005 DiGRA International Conference: Changing Views: Worlds in Play

A case study of a game design project is presented, in which both traditional game goals and educational goals exist. One way to create a design that respects both sets of goals is illustrated.

 

Understanding Empathy in Children through 3D Character Design


Chan Kah Easterly Douglas Thomassen Aukje
2009 DiGRA '09 - Proceedings of the 2009 DiGRA International Conference: Breaking New Ground: Innovation in Games, Play, Practice and Theory

Health, particularly diet and everyday nutrition, as the ultimate causal factor in life is an important aspect of every child’s education. Meanwhile, computer generated (CG) 3- dimensional (3-D) graphics is a medium often used by entertainment and advertising. Educational intervention to help children make appropriate dietary choices can be designed by employing similar methods used by entertainment and advertising, such as 3-D characters aimed at children. The question that this research asked is: can creating an empathic bond between 3-D characters and children communicate a healthy nutrition message effectively? This thesis is based on qualitative research founded on the constructionist theory that focuses on exploring the perspective of children via focus groups. Educational designs based on familiar computer-generated graphics will help equip children to deal with nutritional and dietary choices, ultimately initiating behavioural change as their relationship with food matures earlier. Empathy on the children’s and adult’s sides of the healthy nutrition conversation is important to establish this relationship in children’s nutritional decisions. The main challenge for nutrition education is not in shortterm diversions, but long-term changes in behavioural responses in media literacy. A constructionist approach of helping children work through advertising by improving their media vocabulary would be a more sustainable approach to enhancing their ability to decode advertising rhetoric and in turn forming their own informed opinion and responses. Industry referenced educational content intent on healthy lifestyles can balance the prevalent advertising messages leading to a more balanced overall media that children are exposed to.

 

From Simulation to Imitation: New Controllers, New Forms of Play


Jenson Jennifer Castell Suzanne de
2009 DiGRA '09 - Proceedings of the 2009 DiGRA International Conference: Breaking New Ground: Innovation in Games, Play, Practice and Theory

In this paper, we briefly outline some of the early research in the field of digital games and education that attempted to answer the question of what and how people learn from playing games. We then turn to the recent revolution in gameplay controllers (from the classic controller to the touch screen, Wii wand, plastic guitars, microphones, minitennis racquets and plastic drums) to argue that gameplay has only just undergone a significant epistemological shift, one that no longer sees gameplay as the simulation of actions on a screen, but instead enables imitation as the central element of gameplay, perhaps effectively for the first time giving players access to a form of play-based learning relegated to the very young. This radical modification of the way games are played, from simulation to imitation, has already attracted new audiences: in Japan, female players exceed male players on the handheld Nintendo DS, in the U.S. and in Canada and elsewhere seniors’ homes are purchasing the Nintendo Wii (with its suite of sports and fitness games) to encourage residents to exercise, and since December 2007, when Rock Band deftly beat out Guitar Hero as everyone’s favourite game in which players form a band and play using a “guitar”, drums and a microphone as controllers. It has never been so obvious that playing games is not a “solo” act: the player is both acting and acted upon by the technology, and his/her play is very much situated within a broader network of actions, actors and activities which are community-based and supported. The question of what and how players are learning in games has been at the forefront of research on education and gameplay in the last several years when we began to ask what and how people learned from playing commercial entertainment-oriented digital games. Long viewed as artifacts of an “unpopular culture,” particularly by educators and educational theorists, commercial videogames are now recognized as highly effective learning environments where player (as learner) agency is paramount, and where the acquisition of knowledge and competency is infused in engaging and pleasurable play, not a prescribed task (de Castell and Jenson, 2003, 2005; Gee 2003, 2005; Prensky, 2006; Squire, 2002). As such, the primary argument for the paper will be to examine new controllers not as simulative experiences, but as technologies of imitation that support players’ embodied competence, rather than players’ ability to simulate such competence. This hitherto neglected distinction appears to lie at the heart of ubiquitous claims for the power of learning through game-based simulations, and propose that framing inquiry in the terms of what are distinctively meant and offered by simulation and imitation to be a critical conceptual tool for developing theories and practices of digital game-based learning. Whose conflation is at the heart of ubiquitous claims for the power of learning through game-based simulations.

 

What Videogame Making Can Teach Us About Literacy and Learning: Alternative Pathways into Participatory Culture


Peppler Kylier A. Kafai Yasmin B.
2007 DiGRA '07 - Proceedings of the 2007 DiGRA International Conference: Situated Play

In this paper we articulate an alternative approach to look at video games and learning to become a creator and contributor in the digital culture. Previous discussions have focused mostly on playing games and learning. Here, we discuss game making approaches and their benefits for illuminating game preferences and learning both software design and other academic content. We report on an ongoing ethnographic study that documents youth producing video games in a community design studio. We illustrate how video game making can provide a context for addressing issues of participation, transparency and ethics.

 

Gender in Play: Mapping a Girls’ Gaming Club


Taylor Nicholas Jenson Jennifer de Castell Suzanne
2007 DiGRA '07 - Proceedings of the 2007 DiGRA International Conference: Situated Play

To better understand boys’ privilege and girls’ educational disadvantage with regard to video games, this presentation aims to challenge the ways girl gamers are rendered invisible by gaming communities, researchers, and designers. Drawing from audiovisual research of a girls’ gaming club at an elementary school in Toronto, this paper explores the micro-interactions of a gaming session between five girls which is interrupted when two boys enter the scene and try to hijack their play. Using the MAP (Multimodal Application Program, developed by Suzanne de Castell and Jennifer Jenson) tool to visually chart and analyze the co-ordinated reactions of the girls as they put down their controllers and hold their bodies immobile during the boys’ disruption, this paper explores the tenuous relationship to video games these girls enjoy, even within a space ostensibly devoted to their play.