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Gamers versus the Index
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Computer and Systems Sciences.
2012 (English)In: Creative Education, ISSN 2151-4755, E-ISSN 2151-4771, Vol. 3, no 8B, 25-30 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper presents an ethnographic study of pupils within a trial programme (P2), aimed at developing an upper secondary education for so-called ‘gamers’ who had ‘dropped out’ of school. It was done to fol-low up a previous trial programme (P1), since many young persons have problems with school. The main question examined here is: If we found situations where the learning worked, by means of social respon-sitivity, what components were active? How were meaningful affordances created? The trials may be un-derstood from a historical perspective on orality and literacy. Print enabled words to be embedded in space as indexes (tables, lists etc) rather than in time (as orality implies). The index is practiced at the core of traditional school today, with attendance lists and schedules (controlling time and space) and school-books (finalizing the word). Digital culture challenges these structures where the word is not as finalized, and literacy may include other modalities than writing. School is a culture conservative context, which fights back this transformation with more control, through the use of indexes and constraints on digital culture. As contrast, P2 replaced the schedule with full workdays. This enabled the use of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) computer games, especially massively multiplayer online (MMO) games, as re-placement for schoolbooks (not all books). The study is based on interviews with the pupils as well as daily participatory observations for two years. Further, data about attendance over two years and grades at the start and end of P2 are presented. The results show that most of the pupils returned to school, became interested in learning again and got grades. They expressed a sense of freedom, which is closely related to the voluntary aspect of playing a game. In other words, to do things for the sake of the actitivity itself, ra-ther than some external learning goal. The paper concludes with a comparison between P2 and traditional school, based upon the study and suggests future research. A review of related research is also included.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 3, no 8B, 25-30 p.
Keyword [en]
Education, Knowledge, Learning, Culture, Games
Keyword [sv]
utbildning, kunskap, lärande, kultur, spel
National Category
Information Systems
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-85419DOI: 10.4236/ce.2012.38B006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-85419DiVA: diva2:583681
Available from: 2013-01-08 Created: 2013-01-08 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Inclusion in digital culture: Issues of formal education and computer games
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Inclusion in digital culture: Issues of formal education and computer games
2014 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Education is a human right but many pupils in Sweden, especially boys, have trouble of grading in school. Formal education exists to socialise young people in society, which today is characterised by a digital culture, where playing computer games is one of the most common youth activities. However, previous research has shown: barriers of using games in school; different views of games in school (e.g. as tools or culture); and that the potential for social inclusion through games should be investigated further. Related to this, there are also issues of accessibility in games. As the games in this study are commercial products and guidelines exist for how to achieve game accessibility, one issue of game accessibility concerns investment. Thus, the problem in this study is: The barriers of the formal education system related to games as well as the issues of games related to accessibility are obstacles, which have to be addressed from the perspective of inclusion.

Based on the problem, two questions were investigated. The first question was: -When situations were found where the learning worked, how were meaningful affordances created by the pupils? This was studied with ethnography in an upper secondary education designed for gamers (P2) between 2010 and 2012. P2 was aimed at youth who have had different but significant issues in traditional school, and a strong interest in games. Data was collected with semi-structured interviews, participatory observation and various media files and game environments created by the pupils. Analysis was made iteratively with both abductive and retroductive approaches, where tentative hypotheses were created and rejected along the way. The results show that the pupils’ affordances made them interested in attending formal education, in contrast to their previous school experiences. However, when P2 was transformed into traditional education, the affordances broke down.

The second question was: - Can implementation of solutions for increased accessibility with focus on cognitive impairments give return on investment for game developers? A web-based survey was conducted, sent to ~100 game producers in Sweden and the USA. Based upon previous research with census data of people with disabilities, it was calculated that ~4% of the population (those with cognitive impairments) would benefit from following available game accessibility guidelines. The questions concerned the number of man-hours each of the basic guidelines. The results showed that it would require ~3% of the total budget. As this is less than the number of potential gamers who would benefit from the guidelines, it indicates that return on investment can be achieved. The return on investment is also discussed from goal rational and value rational points of view. Finally, further research is presented.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Stockholm University, 2014
Series
Report Series / Department of Computer & Systems Sciences, ISSN 1101-8526 ; 14-013
National Category
Learning
Research subject
Computer and Systems Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-103410 (URN)
Available from: 2014-10-31 Created: 2014-05-14 Last updated: 2014-10-31Bibliographically approved

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