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Online Communities of Learning lessons from the world of games and play Angela McFarlane.

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1 Online Communities of Learning lessons from the world of games and play Angela McFarlane

2 Why is gaming important?

3 US$ 7bn industry worldwide –film is US$ 9bn (ESA) Average of age of gamer is rising –30 in 2004 (ESA) Average US learner will have spent 10,000 hours gaming by the time they finish compulsory schooling (Carrington 2004) Engagement with games is legendary

4 Teaching with Games MORI poll results: 59% of teachers would consider using games in the classroom for educational purposes. Almost one third have already used them in their classroom.

5 Research Reviews including Kirriemuir, J and McFarlane, A (2004) A literature review on Computer Games and Learning, Development Projects including Teaching with Games

6 John Kirriemuir John keeps a log of examples of teacher use of COTS games in the classroom

7 Game play is part of a wider cultural activity –and highly social McFarlane, A., Sparrowhawk, A. and Heald, Y (2002) The role of games in education, A research report to the DfES

8 Why is learning important to gaming?

9 In-game learning Communities of learning form around game play

10 Looking at models of learning in communities that form in and around games

11 Learning in game related online communities In-game communities eg MMORGs Informal web communities eg Apolyton Fan production communities eg PAL Union

12 The Context Research by Chen Cheng Game - Chinese Paladin Series now going for 12 years Large following Based on Wuxia literature

13 Jingtian is a 19-year-old boy. Thousands of years ago he was called Feipeng in deity circle fighting with Chonglou all the time. Now he is a normal human being working as a salesman in the biggest pawnshop in Yuzhou (a place name). He not only has a talent for recognising antiques and jewellery but is also good at trading and accounting. Everyday he dreams of becoming a rich man or a respectable knight-errant of Shushan (the name of a group of people famous for their extreme skills in martial arts)

14 Xuejian is a granddaughter of Kun Tang, who is the head of the most powerful family in Yuzhou. Indulged by her grandfather from her childhood, she has gained all the skills in martial arts except theTang’s malicious skill, which is limited to the males of Tang family. Unfortunately one year ago Tang Kun got seriously ill. Because of the fight among her family members to gain power, Xuejian is gradually being squeezed and bullied.

15 Longkui now is a 1000-year-old ghost. She was the Princess of Ginger Country. Because the country was besieged by enemies, she wanted to cast a powerful sword. Before the sword had been cast the country was invaded. Longkui jumped into the stove casting the sword to commit suicide. With the virgin blood the sword was made. After that Longkui became a ghost coexisting with the sword. In the course of 1000-year of practice, she has developed two opposite personalities: a red one with a cunning personality and a blue one with a tender and considerate personality.

16 Jingtian: Then let me take you home. O.K.? Xuejian: No, no. I don’t want to go back. I’ve learnt of their conspiracy and my grandfather is seriously ill now. They will no longer let me live my peaceful life. Jingtian: 1) Don’t worry. I’ll protect you. (5 points) 2) Really? Is it that bad? (0 points) 3) What kind of conspiracy are they actually planning? (3 points) The ending of the game is determined by the female characters’ different levels of favour towards Jingtian. Therefore it might be said that the ending is partly decided by players’ empathy for female characters in the game.

17 Fan production PAL union Established by fans in 2001, is one of the most successful PAL fan sites Sept 2005 –over 44,000 registered users –42,791 topics –646,708 postings. An online survey by moderators of PAL union revealed that the majority of users are between 15 and 30 years old.

18 Signature images

19 Ci poetry that a participant has created as one of the endings of PAL III to express his feelings towards a particular character named Zixuan in PAL III. Zixuan’s loneliness as well as her helplessness to give up Changqing’s love is expressed through beautiful lines. One reader has commented, ‘While I read this poem the scene of this ending reappears in front of me. It makes me feel so sad again.’


21 New Wuxia Novels Typically over 10,000 words Written in chapters over a period eg 12 months Large following Comments constructive and positive Reader input determines final form of novel

22 ‘I have said a lot today. I don’t think XXX would mind anyway. It is a really good fiction, otherwise I wouldn’t read it so carefully. The more I like it, the better I want it to be.’ Purely hostile and negative reviews are seldom seen as they are strongly discouraged within the community. Robison (2004) also found an emphasis on constructive criticism and collaboration between writers and audience. Purely hostile and negative feedback is strongly discouraged within the community.

23 ‘ The reason why I’ve chosen Pal union to post my ongoing fiction is that I like the atmosphere of it. Sometimes when I delay updating my fiction, some participants will be very impolite to me. However, if this happens e-moderators will immediately criticize those persons. Thus the general atmosphere is quite good

24 …When I encounter a problem in writing, a lot of people would be more than willing to offer advice. Now my fiction has got more than 700 comments, totally beyond my expectation. I’m really grateful for all the readers of my fiction. Without them I don’t think I would be able to finish my fiction.’

25 ‘Yes. I learnt drawing by myself. But when I had problems I would ask him (her teacher within Pal union) and other friends. I really like Pal union. I upload my work onto it. Then I would get approval or critique from people there. In this way I’m encouraged to develop my skills and create more drawings.’

26 ‘You know I only know a little about music- composing. After I posted my first piece of works, I got to know that there were many people much more skilful than me within Pal union. And also I’m not good at creating lyrics. We just helped each other to create songs belonging to fans of PAL.’

27 Pal union PalFan Production Pal Culture Influenced by Chinese culture, PAL, along with its fan production and ‘affinity groups’ of which Pal union is typical, actually creates a new culture, which could be regarded as PAL culture. It is a culture that inherits from and represents traditional Chinese culture and is shared by all the fans of PAL. This culture has become so influential that many other commercial artefacts such as a TV series have emerged. Chinese Culture

28 Andrews, R. and Haythornthwaite, C. (2007), Handbook of Elearning Research, London: Sage Cheng, C. and McFarlane, A.: "Gaming Culture and Digital Literacy: Inspiration and Audience", in Nordic Journal of Digital Literacy, 2006, 02 (1). Universitetsforlaget, Oslo

29 Policy Context A UK government e-Strategy ambition: "encouraging the development of highly interactive software, drawing on the experience of the creative media industries."

30 Policy Context This with a view to: · stimulating the development of innovative e- learning resources and services that tackle difficult curriculum areas; · and, stimulating innovation, especially where there is proven impact on inclusion, hard to reach groups and participation.

31 Research questions Simulation -- what do we know about the ways in which simulation experiences in games and adult training (eg. Flight simulators) can add value to the traditional teaching/learning models currently applied in grasping difficult concepts -- identifying key areas of challenge in terms of design, tutor support/moderation and assessment

32 Research questions Collaboration -- what do we know about the effects and experiences of learners who participate in online collaborative games which could support new ways of working outside the known "school based" learning environment -- what levels of support and access/communications devices are utilised and what related support infrastructure might be required

33 Research questions Problem solving -- what do we know about the user-engagement techniques, design methodology / approaches and navigation of successful digital games -- and what learning opportunities have been identified in terms of the "hard to reach" students which could be supported in a wider context -- how is success portrayed to the user and what design / navigation techniques can be identified which could support improved assessment and/or more reflective learners

34 The Croquet Project Croquet is a computer software architecture built from the ground up with a focus on deep collaboration between teams of users. It is a totally open, totally free, highly portable extension to the Squeak programming system. Croquet is a complete development and delivery platform for doing real collaborative work. There is no distinction between the user environment and the development environment. Croquet is focused on interactions inside of a 3D shared space that is used for context based collaboration, where each user can see all of the others and what their current focus is. This allows for an extremely compelling shared experience. A new collaboration architecture/protocol called TeaTime has been developed to enable this functionality. The rendering architecture is built on top of OpenGL. Smith et al 2003

35 Research questions Skills development -- what do we know about the impact of all games play in terms of skills development -- whether any key ICT interventions could support skills transfer -- and how we could support the application of such skills to other learning

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