Nicola Whitton is a Research Fellow at the Education and Social Research Institute at Manchester Metropolitan University, recently she shared again what she think will be the three big trends in games and learning in higher education in the near future. (details can be found in her paper : 3 Answers to The Problems of Game-Based Learning)
- Low cost gaming. The sector can’t afford high-end games costing tens – or even hundreds- of thousands of pounds. There are now lots of free (or inexpensive) game development tools available (GameMaker, Inform or Adventure Game Studio, for example) that don’t require vast amounts of technical knowledge or expertise. The proliferation of casual games also supports the use of low-budget games for learning, and games don’t even have to be digital as I think we’ll see a resurgence in traditional and mixed-media games. This is exciting as it puts the power to create educational games back in the hands of teachers.
- Gamification, that is, using game elements in non-game situations. There is masses of hype around this at the moment – particularly based around the PBL (points, badges, leaderboards) model – but I think it will peak then die-away and more sophisticated models will emerge that integrate ideas of curiosity and mystery, goal-setting, visible progression and rewards based on actions, set collection (as well as PB and L) but support deeper learning and more critical engagement.
- Student- centred gaming, where the boundary between game ‘player’ and game ‘builder’ becomes more and more blurred. There are already examples of using game-building to teach technical or employability skills, experienced players mentoring new players in online role playing games, ARG players creating their own mythologies and narratives around the game, and the development of game-support communities.
(“The Future of Games and Learning“, from “Play Think Learn”)
Caryn Swark just gave a session at the Global Education Conference, we think she demonstrates a way of facilitating game-based learning that resonants with the basic concepts from Nicola.
On the other hand, there are a lot of tools for building mini-games, many are free. And it’s possible that more options are coming out in future. Play My Code(still in beta) is a new blowser-based tool aiming to let you learn to make games and distribute browser games. Powered by HTML5, you can build within the browser and embed your games anywhere. Create and edit graphic assets for your game using SkyBrush, the built-in image editing application. A comprehensive toolset is provided including brushes, shapes, copying & pasting and more. This cloud-based game development toolkit is easy to learn even you’ve never coded before.
The evolution to HTML5 is allowing people to create more dynamic Web content, making it possible to write browser-accessible Web apps that are as appealing and interactive as the device-specific apps so popular now on smartphones and tablets. The newest versions of browsers, including Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari, can easily read HTML5 pages without using “plug ins” which can sometimes cause usability problems.
Game-based learning will stay as teachers and students find affordable ways to weave it into learning and enjoy the joy of creation. The future of game-based learning will evolve as more innovative tools provide better, cheaper and easier options. You might like to read one of these exciting stories : Stories of Learning with Portal 2, YoYo Games and Activate! for Education.
- Flipping The MOOC With An ARG (classroom-aid.com)
- Game-Based Learning Design White Paper (classroom-aid.com)
- How Will You Explain Game-Based Learning in The Simpliest Way? (classroom-aid.com)
- YoYo Games and Activate! for Education (classroom-aid.com)