Irish Conference on Game Based Learning - IGBL 2018

IGBL 2018 - Cork

For this conference and subsequent journal paper ( International Journal of Game-Based Learning (IJGBL) which is still out for review) I had the pleasure to work with an IT Tallaght colleague, Roisin Faherty. This is the first of many collaborations (we have just submitted a Koli Calling paper aimed at the leaving certificate computer science introduction).  

This conference is always a great learning experience for me. It takes me out of my comfort zone as its really not my domain. This I think is the best way to learn. It really opened my eyes to what my domain usually incorrectly identifies as "gamification", and the science behind it. Anyone with an interest in using games in education, this conference is a must.  

Below is the abstract for our paper, and if accepted, we will add the like here!

Our presentation described a pilot project within a secondary school, which was led by the students of a coding club and facilitated by the presenter. The projects overall aim is to contribute to the reduction of anxiety during the transition between primary school and secondary school. The project developed a scaled 3D model of the school in blender, and then using the model an exploration style sandbox game of the student’s secondary school using Unity 3D was developed. Interestingly the game itself was designed and developed by secondary school students and this presentation discusses the initial process and early findings. The game is in its alpha iteration, but the iteration also included a pilot study. The pilot study consisted of a primary school group (n =115) who were exposed to the game, and then surveyed. The survey data recorded shows very interesting preliminary findings, which justifies further work in this space.

Similar to a buddy system, the overall goal of this work is that the game would be downloaded prior to entering second level, and the incoming students could freely discover the school layout and accustom themselves to the room locations on their timetable without the stress of live classes, busy corridors and time constraints. The game itself, perhaps, should not be labelled a game, but the student’s rationale for calling it a game and developing it as first person point of view is that students may relate to it more (which was anecdotal and requires additional research). Further work to identify game style, additional components suitability and selection criteria can now be conducted.

Previous research has shown that this single issue of “being lost early in secondary school”, contributes significantly to overall anxiety of the transition, thus this pilot research approach aims to reduce the levels of anxiety by using a sandbox discovery style of game. This research is in an early phase, but the findings suggest further work is warranted.