Wednesday, October 13, 2010

EU In Readiness For Mainstreaming Serious Games In Education

We know more about how games work and how to apply them to teaching and learning than we ever have



 Following on my post 2010 Horizon Report: Educational Serious Games Adoption - 2 To 3 Years dated April 2010, and revisiting some of the “Serious Games in Education” ongoing projects for institutional transformation, it seems that the European Union is in readiness for mainstreaming Serious Games in education according to the referred timeline.

Here is anecdotal evidence.

Project: GaLA - Games and Learning Alliance

Countries: The GaLA Consortium involves 31 partners, coming from 14 countries all over the EU: Italy, Germany, Austria, Finland, UK, Spain, Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, The Netherlands, Portugal, France, Romania and Ireland.

Scope: GaLA motivation stems from the acknowledgment of the potentiality of Serious Games for education and training and the need to address the challenges of the main stakeholders of the Serious Games European landscape.

GaLA aims to shape the scientific community and build a European Virtual Research Centre aimed at gathering, integrating, harmonizing and coordinating research on Serious Games and disseminating knowledge, best practices and tools as a reference point at an international level.

The other key focuses of the project are the support to deployment in the actual educational and training settings; the fostering of innovation and knowledge transfer through research-business dialogue; and the development high-quality didactics on Serious Games by promoting and supporting courses at Master and PhD level.

Timeline: Started in October 2010 and will last 4 years

Funding/Sponsorship: Funded by the European Union in FP7 – IST ICT, Technology Enhanced Learning with a budget of 5.65m Euros.


----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Project: Increasing Mainstreaming of Games in Learning Policies (IMAGINE) project

Countries: EU - The outcome will be a substantial community of policy makers with a high level of commitment to pursue the implementation of games based learning across a large number of countries and all three levels of education covered.

Scope: There is now a large amount of evidence available to suggest that the use of Serious Games for Learning (SGL) can make a positive impact on learning outcomes at all levels of education.

However, adoption of SGL by policy makers as a mainstream learning remains limited.

The IMAGINE Project has brought together and evaluated results from initiatives to-date, in order to launch a powerful effort to persuade policy makers in school-based, adult and vocational education to mainstream SGL in their strategies.

IMAGINE will produce a series of recommendations to policy makers on the use of SGL. The recommendations will cover multiple dimensions of policy making concerning the introduction of games in education.

Timeline: Started in January 2009, as a 2 year project. A final project conference will be hosted and organized in Brussels for policy makers and representatives of national and European associations in the learning sector.

Funding/Sponsorship: Funded by the European Commission under the Lifelong Learning Program

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Project: Serious Games on a Global Market Place

Countries: Denmark

Scope: By unifying the forces of researchers, game developers and educationalists, the aim of this project is to create global serious games based on Danish traditions of play and learning.

Approximately 15 researchers in this project explore, build and implement prototypes of learning games and games for promoting play in collaboration with companies, using their products and experience to develop knowledge about game challenges, didactic design, methodologies, play and learning.

Timeline: Started in 2007.

Funding/Sponsorship: Funded by The Danish Council for Strategic Research (KINO)

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Project: The Consolarium

Countries: Scotland

Scope: The Consolarium is the Scottish Centre for Games and Learning, established by Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS) to explore the world of computer games and how they can impact on teaching and learning in Scottish schools, and, more recently, to encourage pupils to become creators - not just consumers - of games with the game design initiative.

Timeline: Since 2006 Learning and Teaching Scotland’s game-based learning initiative, The Consolarium, has been working with teachers across Scotland.

Funding/Sponsorship: Learning and Teaching Scotland has developed partnerships with local authorities and established links with many Teacher Education Institutes and where appropriate, with industry partners.


-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Project: Futurelab - Serious Games In Education

Countries: UK

Scope: This project aims to identify and document the usage, definition, and as far as possible pedagogy of serious games. That is, games where the educational goal takes precendence in training outside of the school education system.

By identifying and documenting the usage of serious games in schools the project will analyze the benefits and risks of these games, and look at how they are being used and assessed effectively.

Timeline: Ongoing research project.

Funding/Sponsorship: Becta - UK government agency leading the national drive to ensure the effective and innovative use of technology throughout learning.

Blog Post: Futurelab: Challenges In Embedding Serious Games Into Formal Education

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Project: Futurelab - Games-Based Experiences for Learning

Countries: UK

Scope: The project aims to develop an overview of what makes a game a motivating and engaging learning experience. It will examine the narrative elements of gaming; game mechanics; technological aspects; game play; social and collaborative aspects; social and digital cultures related to games; and the language of games.

A guide for teachers on designing games-based experiences for classes including a set of design principles, activities, materials and templates to facilitate active participation will be developed based on research outcomes.

Timeline: Ongoing research project.

Funding/Sponsorship: Becta - UK government agency leading the national drive to ensure the effective and innovative use of technology throughout learning.