Serious Games on the Move 1st Edition

by Otto Petrovic, Anthony Brand

Serious Games on the Move 1st Edition The proceedings to Serious Games on the Move 08 contains all results of this conference on game software applications that are designed to do more than entertain The focus is on research results and developments in this rapidly moving field

Publisher : Springer

Author : Otto Petrovic, Anthony Brand

ISBN : 9783211094174

Year : 2009

Language: en

File Size : 2.6 MB

Category : Business Money

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank the following people from INSPIRE, Anglia
Ruskin University, UK: Mark Warnes and Jaki Lilly for editing submitted
papers for language and structure, and Michelle Bernard for editing and
preparing the papers for publication. Thanks also to Christian Kittl,
evolaris next level Privatstiftung, for his significant contribution to the
editing and reviewing of papers in this book.
Special thanks to Alice Mitchell for her clear vision, organisation,
design and tireless dedication to the project.
Thanks also to the mGBL Project Consortium partners and contributors
to the Serious Games on the Move ’08 Conference and this publication.

Preface

Dr Anthony Brand
Director of Learning and Teaching Development
INSPIRE
Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK
0845 196 2636
[email protected]
My academic career has spanned four decades, a variety of institutions and
a period in which humankind has moved through the largest number, by
range and type, of technological changes than in previous millennia. Upon
taking up a new post I habitually spend time in the early weeks opening
cupboards. Therein, with the accumulation over time of varying amounts
of dust, I would find a range of interesting boxes and apparatus of
seemingly alien design. What I was, in fact, finding were the educational
equivalents of dinosaurs. They were the remains of ‘teaching machines’
designed to transform the processes of education. Brave attempts at
producing a revolution – but sadly and clearly very rapidly dispatched to
be hidden in the cupboard and neglected until I cast the cold light of day
upon them once more.
What does this tell us? It speaks of many false dawns and dead ends;
valiant attempts at using prevailing and emerging tools and technologies to
support and enable learning. Many reasons may have contributed to the
short life span of these devices. However, I suspect the primary one may
lie in them being top-down devices, developed in a paradigm of the teacher
being the centre of the learning process and an implicit, but inaccurate,
belief that student engagement would automatically follow. With the
technologies and approaches reported on in this publication, my sense is
that we have moved into a new paradigm. Engagement with the tools
started with the potential users and the (educational) developers have
followed on later, clinging, as it were, to the fast moving virtual wreckage.
The education potential for mobile games-based learning (mGBL)
approaches is only limited by the scope of our human imagination. Enter
this virtual wonderland and we are able to grasp the ability to construct
learning opportunity which transcends previous attempts. We are now free

VII

from previous limiting constraints. We can replicate existing worlds and
go beyond in regard to analogue and digital modelling. An interesting
observation to make about this digital revolution is that it was not driven
by desires such as artificial intelligence but rather parallel processing
culminates from the gamers. My sense is that in future as I now inspect
virtual cupboards I will not so readily find evidence of virtual dinosaurs.
This publication is the culmination of many years of hard and dedicated
work by an inspired international group of participants. The more recent
dissemination was at the mGBL conference in Cambridge, UK, in the
summer of 2008 and this can be sourced at:
http://www.inspire.anglia.ac.uk/serious/index.html. The overall successful
completion of the project, including the conference and this publication,
results from many inputs – here, however, I wish to personally
acknowledge the contributions made by two colleagues at Anglia Ruskin
University: Alice Mitchell and Jaki Lilly – each providing individual and
critically important inputs.

Preface

Doing Justice to the New Realities
Professor Otto Petrovic
Professor of the Institute for Information Science and Information Systems
University of Graz
Universitätsstraße 15
8010 Graz, Austria
Phone: +43 (0) 316 380-7184
Fax: +43 (0) 316 380-9575
[email protected]
wi.uni-graz.at
www.mg-bl.com
No other technology in recent decades has transformed the economy and
society as much as mobile communication. Even though the phenomenon
had only just become noticeable 10 years ago, 80% of people living in
Europe now own a mobile phone – and the equivalent figure for Japan and
Korea has already reached over 90%. Despite having been around for
longer, PC-based Internet hasn’t even begun to reach such levels of
penetration. Currently, it has settled down around the 60% mark in Europe.
While the use of mobile phones is largely independent of social status,
gender or age, the notion of the mobile phone is probably misleading.
Unlike the classic landline phone, calling people is only one of the options
available when using this personal companion, which is switched on 24
hours a day somewhere within two metres’ reach of 80% of all users.
Alarm calls, the built-in camera or the integrated and constantly updated
calendar of events are some of the other functions which have also proved
highly popular. Yet the real strength of the mobile phone resides in
information and communication. In Europe some 190 billion Short
Message Service messages (SMS) were sent in 2007, which equates to 520
million short messages per day. In Japan, 40% of sales are concluded using

IX

data services, i.e. functions above and beyond voice telephony.
Incidentally, the integration of another mass medium is also worthy of
note: over half of all Japanese mobile phones, and almost all of the latest
models, feature an integrated TV receiver. And all this started off with
people finally being able to do what they have always wanted to do: to call
a person, not a place.
The impacts on the economy and society, although clearly discernible,
have barely been studied and are barely understood as yet. Mobile phone
network operators are among the fastest growing and most profitable
sectors of industry. Companies are already organising their
communications with customers and staff members in ways that differ
radically from just a few years ago. And the social impacts are clearly
evident, in the truest sense of the word. A quick look at the Tokyo metro,
the Main Square in Graz or the huge audiences at Madonna’s most recent
concert proves the point. One aspect is the increasing tendency of central
social coordination processes to shift from ex ante to ad hoc forms of
communication. People no longer arrange to meet up on a Friday evening
at a certain place and time. Instead, they casually suggest that they’ll
probably also be somewhere close by on that date and can always phone
each other to agree where to meet.
The nature of this development has little to do with Huxley’s Brave New
World or Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. Rather, this increasingly dense
and ubiquitous communications network is more like a ball of wool, the
strands of which are being wound up tighter and tighter. At the same time,
it’s worth remembering that you can only knit a pullover by unwinding a
ball of wool, not by winding it up. So the question arises: Isn’t there a
genuine risk that all this permanent, omnipresent information and
communication will at some stage squeeze the primary creative force of
people ever more tightly, even to the point of crushing it completely? That
such strands will smother the creative part of humanity by no longer giving
it enough air to breathe? Here, one frequently heard piece of advice is
simply to switch off the phone. But Watzlawick was probably right when
he said that it is not possible not to communicate. Even if you go offline
and even if you switch off your mobile phone you are still communicating
and sending out signals – in this case, that you are offline and have
switched off your ‘mobe’. And there’s probably a good reason for this, too.
Even if you’re sitting among regulars down the local pub you are still
saying something even if you remain silent. And once you really start
living in the communication society you are still saying something even if
you no longer communicate.
These are probably just a few aspects of the new realities. But learners
and teachers in the present day also move around in such aspects. And that

X

Preface

is precisely the core idea behind mGBL – mobile game-based learning: to
use these new realities in order to do justice to them. In other words, to use
young people’s form of communication, one used routinely by them, to
support their learning processes. This is not a replacement for classic
forms of teaching (also – or precisely because – the notion of ‘teaching’
probably constitutes the antipode on modernity’s scale of concepts
surrounding learning), but a complementary form in order to make the
content of teaching something which can be felt and experienced by them
in the long term.
The kind of systems that have been developed in this context, the way
they have been embedded in learning programmes and the sort of
technologies that underpin this development form the subject of this book.

mGBL: Project Introduction

Professor Otto Petrovic
Professor of the Institute for Information Science and Information Systems
University of Graz
Universitätsstraße 15
8010 Graz, Austria
Phone: +43 (0) 316 380-7184
Fax: +43 (0) 316 380-9575
[email protected]
wi.uni-graz.at
www.mg-bl.com

Abstract
This introduction provides an overview of the mGBL project (mobile
Game-Based Learning). The first section contains a general project
description with coordinator contact details and a description of the project
consortium. Section 2 includes an overview of the project goals. Section 3
provides an overview of all relevant project results followed by a
description of the potential impact of the mGBL project, as well as a
summary.
Project Consortium
Around 30 researchers from 11 different project partners from 5 European
countries (UK, Italy, Croatia, Austria and Slovenia) joined forces to
research and develop new forms of emotionally engaging and playful
methods of learning using mobile phones.

XII

mGBL: Project Introduction

Participant name (acronym)
evolaris next level Privatstiftung
(evolaris)
Verein Schul- und
Ausbildungsberatung (SAB)
Research Studios Austria
Forschungsgesellschaft mbH (ARC)
spoon next level technology GmbH
(spoon)
Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) –
INSPIRE
University of Rijeka – Faculty of
Maritime Studies (PFRI)
University of Rijeka – Faculty of Arts
and Sciences (FFRI)
University of Trieste – Faculty of
Electrical and Electronics Engineering
(TRIESTE)
ASTER – Societa Consortile per
Azioni (ASTER)
University of Marburg – Faculty of
Organizational Sciences (UM)
Andragoski zavod Maribor – Ljudska
univerza (AZM-LU)

Country Project role
Austria Coordinator + developer
Austria
Austria

Educational and vocational
advice expertise
Developer

Austria

Developer

UK

Pedagogy and learning model
expertise
Pedagogy and learning model
expertise
Pedagogy and learning model
expertise
Developer

Croatia
Croatia
Italy

Italy

Educational and vocational
advice expertise
Slovenia Developer
Slovenia Educational and vocational
advice expertise

Table 1. mGBL project consortium

Project Goals
The overall goal of the project was to improve the effectiveness and
efficiency of learning in the target group of young people (aged 16-24)
through the development of innovative learning models based on mobile
games. As the mobile phone is a highly personal communication channel,
it was used to establish the link between learners and teachers. This
communication channel was also the one most widely used by the target
group. The biggest challenge in this project was to communicate content
from different fields in a motivational, inclusive and emotional way.
The specific aim of the project was to design, develop and pilot a
prototype game platform that might be used to efficiently develop games
for m-learning. The focus was on providing support for decision-making in
critical situations. Such games are intended firstly to directly support
learning via opportunities to develop knowledge and cognitive skills in an

XIII

exciting and inspiring, and therefore a highly emotionally engaging, way,
and secondly to indirectly motivate users to refer to other media (e.g.
‘classic’ libraries, scripts, and so on) for learning purposes.
The Vision
The challenge within this project was to relay content from different fields
in an involving and emotionally engaging way to younger people aged 1624. The basic idea was to use the mobile phone to develop games which
bridge the real and virtual worlds.
Contribution to European Union (EU) Needs
The mGBL project addressed a two-fold need in the EU. Firstly, it
addressed the need to support decision-making in critical situations, both
cognitively and emotionally. The examples used in the mGBL project
included career-related decisions, business-related decisions, and decisions
in the context of a health environment (i.e. epidemics, disasters and so on).
Secondly, the project addressed the need to build on cutting edge work in
the new field of m-learning with research-based development on
interactive game-based learning using mobile devices.
Sub-Goals
The main goals of the project were divided into a number of sub-goals.
One of these was to carry out an in-depth user requirement analysis to
determine the detailed requirements of all stakeholders (students, teachers,
and IT staff, for example) to successfully implement mobile game-based
learning. It was also necessary to develop a classification system relating
different types of mobile games to the various learning goals, content and
target groups. Building upon this classification, a software application was
developed which supports the selection of various types of mobile games
suited for learning based on these attributes.
Another sub-goal was the development of a platform, which consists of
an authoring tool, a module for measuring utilisation and learning success,
and a deployment module. This platform enables game authors to develop
individual mobile games from existing content (i.e. scripts, books and so
on), to use predefined game templates fast and easily, and to distribute
them to students.

XIV

mGBL: Project Introduction

Once the platform was in place, it was necessary to design, develop and
pilot a minimum of two different prototype multimedia learning games and
templates, for use via mobile technologies, and to deliver aspects of
lifelong learning in the target fields of e-health, e-commerce and career
guidance.
Iterative development was facilitated by conducting user trials at
different universities and also at institutions providing educational advice
services. This yielded both qualitative and quantitative data enabling the
measurement of goal achievement.
Finally, the project results needed to be disseminated, both within the
m-learning community and the mGBL project consortium, as well as to the
general public. The mGBL project has established and maintained a
website and an online community of practice, and has developed and
applied various other means of communication, including conference
papers and poster presentations. The focus of the dissemination strategy
was the implementation of mechanisms drawn from marketing and
psychology, which trigger an emotionally engaging learning process.
Primary Objectives
The primary objectives of the mGBL project were:
x
x
x

The development of an easy-to-use and cost effective method
for embedding different types of content into games which run
on and through mobile phones
The development of a game-based m-learning platform
The development of at least two example games for each of the
game models, and learning models to transfer different types of
content in an emotionally engaging and playful way to different
types of target groups

The results of the mGBL project add new learning models to the market
that will use mobile phones as a tool for triggering social interaction
between learners and their peers.

XV

The mGBL Platform
Fig. 1. The mGBL platform.

The mGBL platform offers different ways of connecting the real world
with the virtual world (see Figure 1).
The mobile phone is the central gateway between user groups, the mGBL
platform, and the real world. It is both the medium for, and a part of, the
mobile game.
The mGBL platform handles the planning, control and administration of
games itself. It contains game templates and a tool that suggests
appropriate games depending on the target group, content and learning
goals defined by the game author.
The platform also includes reporting modules for the evaluation of user
acceptance and the measurement of individual learning success.
Main Target Groups
The mGBL project focuses on a wide target group which, on the one hand,
is diverse, as it involves young people from different social groups, regions
and countries. On the other hand, however, the target group is homogenous
in its preferred mode of communication and affinity with new
technologies.
The mGBL project mainly addresses the following target groups and
stakeholders:

XVI

mGBL: Project Introduction

x
x
x
x
x
x
x

Scientific communities in the fields of education, pedagogy, elearning, and m-learning
The formal education sector (i.e. professors, teachers, students,
pupils)
Vocational and IT staff (i.e. IT administrative personnel)
Software developers (i.e. open source communities)
European projects
National and international funding programmes
Commercial marketers

Work Packages and Their Connections
The following figure provides a graphical overview of all work packages
and their connections. Work Package 1 (WP1) (Project Management) and
WP8 (Dissemination and Exploitation) are work packages which have
strong connections to all other work packages. WP1 ensures the overall
project management. WP8 ensured the dissemination of all public project
results, and that all project results will be used and exploited for future
requirements, both commercial and research-oriented.

Fig. 2. Work packages and their connections

WP2 (User Requirements) provided definitions of user needs and
requirements for WP3 (Mobile Learning and Game Models), which were
used by WP3 for the development of the learning and game models. The
user requirements and user needs, along with the learning and game
models, were used as a basis for WP4 (System Specifications). The
research teams used the inputs from WP2 and WP3 to develop the system
specifications. The system specifications from WP4 were the basis for the

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