Games Based Learning Research
In 2011 the Victorian Dept of Education and Early Childhood Development invited 40 schools to participate in games based learning research trials to investigate the impact that serious games, virtual worlds and game development can have when incorporated into target areas of the curriculum.
They have prepared a great video which can be seen here.
The research findings are also published on their website. Overall the results were extrememly positive suggesting that game-based activity is effective when embedded in the curriculum and supported. They found game-based learning allows students to build essential skills such as problem solving, decision making, communication, collaboration, negotiation, team work, creativity, leadership and critical thinking.
The majority of teachers were naturally impressed with the outcomes and hope to continue rolling out the program within their schools.
A great initiative overall by the Victorian DEECD and
Stephanie Brantz asks if video games have a place in the classroom
Our ambassador Stephanie Brantz recently wrote this piece on games in learning. It also appeard on ABC Tech.
I know many parents question video games, but I wonder if they have ever stopped to consider their educational value? With the increasing variety of titles being custom made for the classroom such as Mathletics or Study Ladder it’s getting harder to ignore the benefits. Imagine how many factoids your 8 year old comes out with each week – how many might be gathered from the games they play? Possibly quite a lot more than you think!
Games in their traditional form have long been a significant part of every school playground – I remember having great fun playing countless hours of bull rush and soccer with my classmates when I was at school. Using video games as a teaching tool is only an extension of something we’ve all been doing for a very long time. Whether the game has been created specifically for use in a learning environment, or whether the educational value is secondary, I believe video games can play a positive role in a child’s development.
The very appeal of video games feeds into our innate need to seek a reward for our good work and this begins early on in life. Just think, the first steps a baby takes is usually in an effort to walk to mummy or daddy, or pick up a new toy – and this continues throughout a child’s development. With my own three kids, they are at the stage now where I can’t even get them to do their homework without having to offer some sort of reward! In much the same way, most video games are designed to offer a reward – whether it’s gold stars or access to a new level – every time a student learns something new. In short, video games provide a real interactive element to learning and can help make otherwise tedious topics fun.
It is well documented that video games teach problem solving skills as they challenge players to reach a certain goal. I’ve watched my children countless times work out the quickest way to reach a flag by running across moving platforms whilst jumping for rings and avoiding what I thought were cute little animals. Similarly through trial and error they work out the most effective way to take down an enemy.
Some of the RPG’s and online games my kids have played in the past have even contributed to their reading skills as the games have required them to read (and retain) the details about a certain character and their particular powers for use in the game. For obvious reasons I also love it when they (or we) play the word scramble and vocab games, I even win occasionally.
That said, I believe video games have a place in education much in the same way video games have a place in the home – it is a great tool that needs to be balanced with other activities. At home, I am very strict about ensuring my children get a healthy dose of outdoor activities as well as time to play video games or watch television.
In the classroom, I think learning through video games needs to sit comfortably alongside reading books, taking spelling tests, solving maths equations and conducting science experiments. As I’m sure many other parents are, I am an advocate of balancing theory and practice in order for my children to learn effectively. Although both theory and practice are valuable, they are not beneficial in isolation – and I think video games can help children gain and apply the practical knowledge they need to succeed in learning and for success later on in life.
Video games not only help kids learn facts but can help them gain the important fine motor skills and problem-solving skills that are an important part of growth. Surprisingly, I’ve also found video games have helped teach my children about what constitutes good sportsmanship, how to reason and how to distinguish right from wrong. No parent can argue that developing these traits isn’t beneficial!
I see how my kids respond to the educational elements in a wide range of games – they often have no idea they’re doing any learning as they’re too busy having fun! Other parents are also seeing this and making choices accordingly – a report conducted by Bond University, Digital Australia 2012, found that four in five parents with children under 18 years old play games together and of these parents, 90 per cent use games as an educational tool.
I want my kids to be playing games, both inside our home and at school. I hope they continue playing these through high school and into university and encourage educators to embrace interactivity in the classroom. I might even be able to find some I can play with them – and learn something along the way myself!
MCV Pacific Awards 2011
MCV Pacific has announced a series of awards for entities from all walks of life in the Australian / New Zealand games industry for 2011! For details click here or to submit a company, game or person for nomination, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject heading ‘Award Nomination’
Jeff Brand Discusses DANZ12
Jeff Brand discusses DANZ12 – the latest research into video games which was released in October 2011. In this video, Jeff briefly highlights the differences in methodology and results from our previous research reports.
Digital New Zealand 2012 (DNZ12)
Digital New Zealand 2012 (DNZ12) is iGEA’s latest research report into video games. DNZ12 is the 5th report in a series conducted by Bond University, the 2nd in NZ, and is based on a random sample of over 800 New Zealand households . DNZ12 provides data on video and computer game use and attitudes, as well as the broader consumption of digital media.
To read the report click here
To view the Key Findings for New Zealand, click here
To read the presentation prepared by Jeff Brand, click here
Digital Australia 2012 (DA12)
Digital Australia 2012 is the latest study in our series of research reports that provides information on the digital media ecology in Australian households with a focus on computer game use and attitudes. The place of all digital media in the lives of everyday Australians of all ages was the secondary focus of this research.
You can download a copy of the full report here.
You can download the key findings from this link
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Health Beyond Conference – alternative and surprising uses for video games
Last week the Health Beyond conference in Brisbane, illustrated some alternative and suprising uses for video games.
The ABC interviewed Stuart Smith of Neuroscience Research Australia about some of the work he is doing with the elderly in using video games for rehabilitation. To watch the segment click here.
Radio ABC 612 interviewed him on a smiliar topic and you can listen to the interview here
Digital Breezes Podcast – R18+ Games for Australia after 10 years.
Leonie Smith of Digital Breezes has interviewed Ron about the recent agreement at SCAG to introduce R18+ in principle last week. To hear the podcast, click here.
Computer Games keep the elderly on their toes
Jeanne-Vida Douglas over at brw.com.au has written a fantastic story on how Neuroscience Research Australia is carrying out some research on a fall prevention program with the elderly using dance mats and a modified dancing game. What’s more – the participants love it. To read the article, click here.
Video Games Industry Welcomes In-Principle Agreement for R18+ Classification
Video Games Industry Welcomes In-Principle Agreement for R18+ Classification for Computer and Video Games
Sydney, Australia – Friday, 22nd July 2011 – An announcement today by the Home Affairs Minister that the Standing Committee of Attorneys General (SCAG) has reached an in-principle agreement to introduce an R18+ classification for video games is a welcomed step forward.
Ron Curry, CEO of the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (iGEA), says that today’s outcome is a positive step for the video games industry which has been awaiting an R18+ classification for almost a decade.
“An in-principle agreement for an R18+ classification is a big step towards a robust ratings system that best equips parents to manage their children’s access to appropriate content, as well as enables adults the ability to play games of their choice within the confines of the law,” said Curry.
With eight out of the nine Attorneys-General coming to an in-principle agreement, Curry says he looks forward to discussing the R18+ classification issue with NSW’s Attorney-General Greg Smith who abstained from making a vote today and will consider the issue out of session.
“It is entirely reasonable that each Minister should have taken the necessary time to fully understand the underlying issues and to grasp why Australia so desperately needs an adult classification for video game, and we look forward to entering into a dialogue with NSWAttorney-General Greg Smith.”
“This is the first step in the legislative process and until we can review the final guidelines, we can’t fully assess the impact of an adult rating for games in Australia. We can be confident however that all content will be subjected to stringent classification guidelines and games which exceed an R18+ classification rating will still be refused classification and banned in Australia,” said Curry.
“With an adult rating finally on the horizon, we can now better focus our energy on more relevant discussions around content classification as entertainment formats and content continue to blur.”
The positive news comes off the back of a government-commissioned survey released by Minister of Home Affairs Brendan O’Connor in December last year which found 80 per cent of the 2,226 respondents interviewed support an R18+ rating and that 91 per cent of adults would clearly know that game classified R18+ would be unsuitable for children.
About the iGEA
The Interactive Gaming & Entertainment Association proactively represents companies that publish, market and/or distribute interactive games and entertainment content. The iGEA aims to further advance the industry and the business interests of its members through informing and fostering relationships with the public, the business community, government and other industry stakeholders. The iGEA is administered by a Board of Directors and supported by the CEO, Ron Curry. The iGEA was formerly known as the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia (IEAA).
For more information, please visit www.igea.net.
Mob: 0419 526 848
Mob: 0431 528 127
Stephanie Brantz and Kate Palmer show how easy it is to set up Parental Controls on Consoles and PC’s
Don’t tamper with the NZ Classification System
29 June 2011
Don’t tamper with classification system, says iGEA
Tampering with the ‘perfectly adequate’ existing system of classifying video games could become problematic for the NZ market place. It could lead to a black market of illicitly-imported games over which there is no censorship, and games that fail to work with the parental control systems for consoles sold in NZ, says the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (iGEA).
A recently released report by the Office of Film and Literature Classification1 states that 71 per cent of New Zealanders want all games to have specific-to-New Zealand classification labels. Under current law, specific-to-New Zealand labels are only affixed to restricted games (e.g. R13, 16, 18). Games that are not deemed offensive can be sold in New Zealand with Australian classification labels.
iGEA chief executive, Ron Curry, said the current system, whereby New Zealand shares a perfectly adequate Australian labelling system, is working satisfactorily.The research by the Office of Film and Literature Classification confirms this, with 69 per cent of respondents agreeing the current system is ‘about right’ (up from 64 per cent in 2006).
Mr Curry says that shows there is no real problem with the existing system and there is no need for change, especially change that may be counter-productive. He is concerned that moves to introduce specific-to-New Zealand classification labelling for all games will make many games too costly to import into New Zealand. One result is likely to be that global manufacturers, for whom New Zealand is a tiny market, will opt not to bother sending games to this country because of the greatly increased cost associated with classifying titles and providing New Zealand classification labels.
“That opens the door to black market suppliers who will move quickly to fill the gap.”They will bring in games regardless of content, and sell them to any and everyone, regardless of age. Without appropriate labelling the ability for parents to make informed decisions about their children’s entertainment choices is compromised.
“We are already seeing that in Australia where they have a similar issue with an absence of R18 classifications.” Mr Curry said other than the concern over the probable consequences of introducing domestic classifications, the iGEA is generally happy with the report. “We support the notion of a robust and informative classification system that ensures all appropriate protections and public safeguards are in place.
“Having said that, there does need to be a careful balance between ensuring the public is properly informed about game content and not inhibiting the public’s legitimate access to a wide range of media which is available to the rest of the world.” Mr Curry said while it might be nice for Kiwis to see specific-to-New Zealand labels on games they might not think so if it restricts their access to those same games.
1 Understanding the Classification System: New Zealanders’ views.
For further information please contact Mr Ron Curry on 09 889 2177.
Game Developers Association Welcomes R&D Tax Credit Support
GAME DEVELOPERS ASSOCIATION WELCOMES R&D TAX CREDIT SUPPORT
MELBOURNE – 16 June, 2011 – The Game Developers’ Association of Australia (GDAA) welcomes the announcement of crossbench support for the $1.8 billion R&D Tax Bill.
Antony Reed, Chief Executive of the GDAA, supports the announcement as a demonstration of the Government’s strong commitment to the development of Australia’s knowledge economy.
“Since the first announcement of the R&D Tax reform and in our own discussions with the Department, it became very clear that the government has confidence in the abilities of Australian SMEs to deliver ground-breaking innovations for the global market,” said Reed. “Innovation is at the heart of game development and the introduction of the new legislation not only assists in levelling the global competitive playing field, but also affords the local industry the opportunity to challenge traditional gameplay conventions.” (more…)
Video Games Help Lift NZ Economy and Depressed Teens
As reported over at the NZ Herald, video games are helping to lift the Auckland economy out of recession.
Fourteen of the city’s fledgling game development companies, which employ 160 fulltime workers, say they plan to create a further 135 fulltime high-tech creative jobs in Auckland by next April.
Further to that, collaborators at Auckland University have just won an international award for a new computer game called Sparx which helps depressed teenagers.
To read the article, click here
News from the ESA – Video game play increases as the breadth of game content grows
Report Finds More Women, Adults Play Games
June 7, 2011 – Washington, DC – 72 percent of American households play video games and 82 percent of gamers are adults according to new research released today by the Entertainment Software Association (ESA). In a report released at E3, the world’s leading video game event, the data presented a consumer base that is increasingly diverse and receiving interactive game content on myriad platforms.
The report, 2011 Essential Facts About the Computer and Video Game Industry, also found 42 percent of gamers are women and that women age 18 or older represent more than one third of the game-playing population. In addition, purchases of digital full games, digital add-on content, mobile apps, subscriptions and social network gaming accounted for 24 percent of game sales in 2010, generating $5.9 billion in revenue. (more…)
Stephanie Brantz on how to choose the right video game for your children
A dedicated game store is a bit intimidating for the parent who has little understanding of the ways of ‘button mashing’ or ‘pwning noobs'(see below for translation). Often parents, uncomfortable with entering these alien worlds, watch with eyes wide as their children whirl through the aisles. No relief can be found from the wall to wall interactive entertainment; the ceilings too adorned by posters of digital characters.
In these stores, a game about raising cute creatures in a world of rainbows often sits shoulder-to-shoulder with the latest and greatest war title. Unlike your corner video shop, there are no clear distinctions between video game genres to help you choose the right game for your child. So, it falls to parents – and as I believe it rightly should – to decipher the age-appropriateness code of a game.
There are a few rules I’ve set in place when buying video games for my three children – some I’ve learned the hard way! Naturally, the classification ratings G, PG, M and MA15+ – which you’re already familiar with from films – are a good indicator if a game is age appropriate but I use it only as starting point as no one knows my children better than I do. For example, whilst a game may be rated G, if one of the levels has a haunted house theme, I might not let my youngest play it as she’s terrified of ghosts at the moment. Also, our lack of adult rating for video games (a debate which I’ll resist going into here and leave for another post) means MA15+ is the top rating for games and that’s something else parents need to consider when choosing between the latest titles.
Video Games can be good for children
As reported on the TVNZ website, a study by the University of Auckland has been looking into how sustained use of games which have an active element, like dance mats or motion sensors, can be good for overweight children.
More than 300 children took part in study and results showed a positive effect on the body mass index of the active gamers aged between 10 and 14, compared to the control group of children who were not regularly playing the games. Whilst the effects were small, it did show that gaming could certainly play a role in helping children stay active, and be used to develop rehab programs. To read more, click here