Serious Games at the JTEL Summer School

The topic of Serious Games (SG) became quite popular among PhD students in recent years, which has been reflected also in the program of the Joint European Summer School on Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL). Its 8th issue (http://www.prolearn-academy.org/Events/summer-school-2012) took place in May 2012 in Estoril, Portugal and included a track on Serious Games, consisting of 2 lectures and 3 workshops. They dealt with SG methodology, design, and evaluation, but also with related topics like simulation or augmented reality. The other sessions provided an overview of TEL trends, challenges, and theories. As usually, the program has been organized both by experienced experts and advanced PhD students.

In the first lecture Igor Mayer discussed methodological and practical issues associated with researching serious games and simulation-gaming, as well as the less familiar use of gaming as an academic research method. Its follow-up by Kostas Karpouzis introduced games as a research medium, considering user behaviour and expressivity when playing games.

The introductory workshop by Carolina A. Islas Sedano identified basic terminology and encouraged participants to discover their personal expertise, in order to design and develop games in teams. At the skills workshop by Igor Mayer attendees played a number of shorter complexity games to demonstrate their efficacy for learning, organization, management, teams, leadership, policy making and politics. In the third workshop Victor Alvarez and Sebastian Kelle engaged participants in the design and development of their own “augmented reality for learning” games, and gave clues on how to best exploit this in experimental scenarios.

All in all, the event highlighted an interdisciplinary spectrum of topics, including pedagogy, educational technology, psychology, and social media. The PhD students provided a very positive evaluation feedback and also for the next year recommended SG and gamification of learning for the program, among others.

The 9th JTEL Summer School (http://www.prolearn-academy.org/Events/summer-school-2013) will take place on May 27th-31st in Limassol, Cyprus. The organizers invite lecturers and PhD students for their participation and ask them to submit their proposals and applications by February 1st.

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