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.
Stockholm: Stockholm University, 2014.