Digital learning game praxis
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Authors: Wilkinson, P.
Journal: Proceedings of the European Conference on Games-based Learning
© The Authors, 2014. Research into the influential effects of digital games on children's thoughts, affects, and behaviours has become a popular pursuit in academia (Anderson 2013). Initially influenced by media attention surrounding violent video games and their impact (Anderson 2004), research in this area has moved towards potential positive impact such as pro-social behaviour (Gentile 2009). Predating and now paralleling this is the ongoing commercial development of - and academic research into - digital games-based learning. The meeting of these two axis has resulted in the origin of a new focal point for academic enquiry, commercial venture, and educational practice; the development of digital games for children's social and emotional learning (SEL). This paper will provide a contextual overview of current cross-domain games-based SEL praxis. Games-based learning provides multiple, intertwined, points of praxis - development, implementation, and assessment. This cross-domain endeavour requires integration of theoretical research, commercial and education bestpractice, and a contextual sensitivity. Progress is hindered by challenges in - and at the intersection of - the academic, educational and commercial domains. Academic discussion regarding the behavioural influence of digital games is increasingly polarised (Ferguson, 2013). National education systems prioritise standard curriculum subjects due to a culture of performance measurement. Subject to commercial pressures games-based learning companies often neglect formative and summative research, relying instead on unsubstantiated sales rhetoric. Intra-domain challenges to games-based SEL are exacerbated by inter-domain tensions, primarily caused by limited cross-contextual awareness. Endeavouring to inform games-based SEL praxis - drawing on the author's cross-domain experience - contextual differences and commonalities will be highlighted. This paper will culminate in a call for the fostering of deeper cross-domain endeavours through embedding researchers.
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Authors: Wilkinson, P.
Journal: PROCEEDINGS OF THE 8TH EUROPEAN CONFERENCE ON GAMES BASED LEARNING (ECGBL 2014), VOLS 1 AND 2