We presented at the International Council for Educational Media (ICEM 2013) conference this week

The ICEM 2013 conference is being held at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore this year, and it is Playware’s first time participating by presenting a paper. This year’s conference theme is ‘we-Learning: Content, Community and Collaboration’ and recognises the rapid changes in education that are having a profound impact on education and society. The paper being presented was completed by researcher Richard Sanford with the title: Teachers as Game Designers: Two case Studies from Singapore.

Here’s the abstract of the paper:

Researchers have offered, in recent years, compelling reasons for considering the potential of digital games to support learning (Klopfer et al., 2009; Pelletier, 2009; Mitchell & Savill-Smith, 2004; Gee, 2008), and in response policymakers and educators around the world have demonstrated a commitment to exploring their practical use in school (Ulicsak, 2010; Koh et al. 2009). There remain, however, many questions about how games can best support learning, particularly in formal education. For teachers, the use of games in a formal curriculum setting can present practical and operational issues, as well as surfacing more fundamental tensions: between generational expectations of games and technology, between home and school identities, and between pedagogies associated with accounts of games as learning tools and those more commonly embraced within the context of formal schooling (Sandford et al., 2011; Felicia, 2009; Ito et al., 2009; Sandford et al. 2006). In managing these tensions, teachers are increasingly asked to construct themselves as ‘designers’ (Towndrow, 2005; Foo, et al., 2006; Carlgren, 1999), mobilising their professional knowledge in the creation of new strategies and practices that enable them to negotiate these practical and pedagogical challenges.

In this study we examine the implications of formal game-based learning for teachers developing their own digital learning games, focussing on three overarching research questions. What strategies are employed by teachers to manage intergenerational, technological, operational and pedagogic tensions in the classroom? How are teachers able to incorporate the notion of being a ‘designer’ into their professional identity? And how do teachers develop the design skills and sensibilities necessary to create meaningful learning games?

Employing a participatory design research perspective (Winters & Mor, 2008; Cobb et al., 2003; Edelson, 2002), recognising the importance of situating research within an authentic context and aiming to make a meaningful contribution to teachers’ practice, researchers worked closely with teachers from two Singapore primary schools in an iterative series of design workshops and playtests over several months, producing prototype learning games and developing wider activities to support their use in formal classroom teaching. These activities generated ‘design narratives’ (Winters & Mor, 2008; Klopfer & Squire, 2008; Hoadley, 2002), contextually-situated accounts of the process through which the games and supporting artefacts were developed. Drawing on these narratives, alongside qualitative data gathered through semi-structured interviews with teachers and video data obtained from implementation in lessons, this paper describes two case studies of teachers developing game-based lessons in each school, sharing learning outcomes, and exploring the implications for teachers’ professional development and the possible ways in which other actors working within the education system (technology developers, policy-makers, researchers, school leaders) might collaborate in supporting teachers to develop new teaching practices.



Mr Siddharth JAIN presenting on Mr Richard SANDFORD’s behalf

You can check out more information about the conference here.


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