WISEstarmap1 surge

CFP Special Issue On: SURGE, Physics Games, and the Role of Design

Submission Due Date
5/15/2017

Guest Editors
Douglas Clark, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, USA

Introduction
The purpose of this special issue is to investigate the role of design in the efficacy of physics games in terms of what is learned, by whom, and how. Importantly, studies should move beyond basic media comparisons (e.g., game versus non-game) to instead focus on the role of design and specifics about players’ learning processes. Thus, invoking the terminology proposed by Richard Mayer (2011), the focus should be on value-added and cognitive consequences approaches rather than media comparison approaches. Note that a broad range of research methodologies including a full gamut of qualitative, ethnographic, and microgenetic methodologies are encouraged as well as quantitative and data-mining perspectives. Furthermore, the focal outcomes and design qualities analyzed can span the range of functional, emotional, transformational, and social value elements outlined by Almquist, Senior, and Bloch (2016).

Recommended Topics
Authors are invited to submit manuscripts that

 

  • Focus on the role of design beyond simple medium (i.e., move beyond simple of tests of whether physics games can support learning to instead focus on how the design of the game, learning environment, and social setting influence what is learned, by whom, and how).
  • Explore learning in games from the SURGE constellation of physics games and other physics games using qualitative, mixed, design-based research, quantitative, data-mining, or other methodologies.
  • Focus on formal, recreational, and/or informal learning settings.
  • Focus on any combination of player, student, teacher, designer, and/or any of other participants.
  • Answer specific questions such as:
    • How do specific approaches to integrating learning constructs from educational psychology (e.g., work examples, signaling, self-explanation) impact the efficacy of these approaches within digital physics games for learning?
    • How do elements of design impact the value experienced by players in terms of the elements of functional, emotional, transformational, and social value outlined by Almquist, Senior, and Bloch (2016)?
    • What is the role of the teacher in interaction with students and the design of a game in terms of learning outcomes?
    • How does game design interact with gender in terms of what is learned, by whom, and how?
    • How can designers balance learning goals and game-play goals to best support a diverse range of players and learners?
    • How do specific sets of design features interact with players’ learning processes and game-play goals?

Submission Procedure
Potential authors are encouraged to contact Douglas Clark (clark@vanderbilt.edu) to ask about the appropriateness of their topic.
Authors should submit their manuscripts to the submission system using the link at the bottom of the call (Please note authors will need to create a member profile in order to upload a manuscript.).
Manuscripts should be submitted in APA format.
They will typically be 5000-12000 words in length.
Full submission guidelines can be found at: http://www.igi-global.com/publish/contributor-resources/before-you-write/

 

surgeblckbg

All submissions and inquiries should be directed to the attention of:
Douglas Clark
Guest Editor
International Journal of Gaming and Computer-Mediated Simulations (IJGCMS)
Email: clark@vanderbilt.edu

yet she persisted

CFP: Gaming, gender, and the female perspective

The purpose of this special issue is to investigate and explore female roles, participation, and representation in video games and the video games industry.

Authors are invited to submit manuscripts that

  • Examine the emergence and after effects of gamer gate
  • Traditions of games that support professional female players
  • Female fan perspectives
  • Representation of women in games
  • Market analysis
  • Meta-analyses of existing research on women in games
  • Female experiences of scholarship and industry
  • Answer specific questions such as:
    • How should feminist theory inform game user research?
    • What are the methodologies for conducting feminist games research, and the uses and design of games for gender issues?
  • Case studies, worked examples, empirical and phenomenological, application of psychological and humanist approaches?
  • Field research
  • Face to face interviewing
  • Creation of user tests
  • Gathering and organizing statistics
  • Define Audience
  • User scenarios
  • Creating Personas
  • Product design
  • Feature writing
  • Requirement writing
  • Content surveys
  • Graphic Arts
  • Interaction design
  • Information architecture
  • Process flows
  • Usability
  • Prototype development
  • Interface layout and design
  • Wire frames
  • Visual design
  • Taxonomy and terminology creation
  • Copywriting
  • Working with programmers and SMEs
  • Brainstorm and managing scope (requirement) creep
  • Design and UX culture

Potential authors are encouraged to contact Brock R. Dubbels (Dubbels@mcmaster.ca) to ask about the appropriateness of their topic.

Digital painting of a robot getting punched in the face

Digital painting of a robot getting punched in the face

Deadline for Submission June 15, 2017.

Authors should submit their manuscripts to the submission system using the following link:

http://www.igi-global.com/authorseditors/titlesubmission/newproject.aspx

(Please note authors will need to create a member profile in order to upload a manuscript.)

Manuscripts should be submitted in APA format.

They will typically be 5000-8000 words in length.

Full submission guidelines can be found at: http://www.igi-global.com/journals/guidelines-for-submission.aspx

Mission – IJGCMS is a peer-reviewed, international journal devoted to the theoretical and empirical understanding of electronic games and computer-mediated simulations. IJGCMS publishes research articles, theoretical critiques, and book reviews related to the development and evaluation of games and computer-mediated simulations. One main goal of this peer-reviewed, international journal is to promote a deep conceptual and empirical understanding of the roles of electronic games and computer-mediated simulations across multiple disciplines. A second goal is to help build a significant bridge between research and practice on electronic gaming and simulations, supporting the work of researchers, practitioners, and policymakers.

Screen Shot 2017-01-21 at 6.32.40 PM

Brock Dubbels Ph.D.

Dept. Psychology, Neuroscience, and Behaviour

McMaster University

Abstract

Gamification may provide new venues for offering customer experiences. The chapter compares three models of game play analyzed through user experience research. In section 1, the three models are presented: Grind Core, Freemium, and Immersion. These models are differentiated as value delivered, and user experience. Value and experience are defined across four categories: function, emotion, life change and social impact. In section 2, the role of emotion, value, and experience are described to inform how games can be transformative, providing the life change and social impact through the immersion experience model. This chapter is intended to help developers identify what kind of value experience they want to provide their customers, and provide a new view of gamification.

 

Three models are examined

gamification

Read more

9781522518174 (1)


Task_Force_eSports.svg

CFP: eSports and professional game play

The purpose of this second special issue is to investigate the rise of eSports.

Much has happened in the area of professional gaming since the Space Invaders Championship of 1980. We have seen live Internet streaming eclipse televised eSports events, such as on the American show Starcade.

Authors are invited to submit manuscripts that

  • Examine the emergence of eSports
  • The uses of streaming technology
  • Traditions of games that support professional players– chess, go, bridge, poker, league of legends, Dota 2, Starcraft
  • Fan perspectives
  • Professional player perspectives
  • Market analysis
  • Meta-analyses of existing research on eSports
  • Answer specific questions such as:
    • How should game user research examine the emergence of eSports? Should we differentiate pragmatic and hedonic aspects of the game?
  • Case studies, worked examples, empirical and phenomenological, application of psychological and humanist approaches?
  • Field research
  • Face to face interviewing
  • Creation of user tests
  • Gathering and organizing statistics
  • Define Audience
  • User scenarios
  • Creating Personas
  • Product design
  • Feature writing
  • Requirement writing
  • Content surveys
  • Graphic Arts
  • Interaction design
  • Information architecture
  • Process flows
  • Usability
  • Prototype development
  • Interface layout and design
  • Wire frames
  • Visual design
  • Taxonomy and terminology creation
  • Copywriting
  • Working with programmers and SMEs
  • Brainstorm and managing scope (requirement) creep
  • Design and UX culture

 

Potential authors are encouraged to contact Brock R. Dubbels (Dubbels@mcmaster.ca) to ask about the appropriateness of their topic.

Deadline for Submission February 15, 2017.

Authors should submit their manuscripts to the submission system using the following link:

http://www.igi-global.com/authorseditors/titlesubmission/newproject.aspx

(Please note authors will need to create a member profile in order to upload a manuscript.)

Manuscripts should be submitted in APA format.

They will typically be 5000-8000 words in length.

Full submission guidelines can be found at: http://www.igi-global.com/journals/guidelines-for-submission.aspx

Mission – IJGCMS is a peer-reviewed, international journal devoted to the theoretical and empirical understanding of electronic games and computer-mediated simulations. IJGCMS publishes research articles, theoretical critiques, and book reviews related to the development and evaluation of games and computer-mediated simulations. One main goal of this peer-reviewed, international journal is to promote a deep conceptual and empirical understanding of the roles of electronic games and computer-mediated simulations across multiple disciplines. A second goal is to help build a significant bridge between research and practice on electronic gaming and simulations, supporting the work of researchers, practitioners, and policymakers.

 

Task_Force_eSports.svg

rightsize

 

Good research is about knowing which questions to ask, when to ask them, and how to answer them.

In this presentation, Brock Dubbels, UXPA-MN board member and from Senior Omnichannel Rsearcher at American Family Insurance will present on the role of UX research when framing up your apps and webpages to reduce the unknowns and build a solid foundation of data to build the right experience in the the most effective way. 

You will learn about generative, formative and summative assessments and methods for data collection and the creation of a style guide. 

The presenter will present a case study on how UX research was gathered to inform the style guide for a customer facing insurance company website for desktop and their mobile site. 

 

Speaker:

brock brainBrock Dubbels, Phd has over 15 years of experience in User Research with usability testing, user-centered design, and customer experience principles. He Is currently an Senior UX Researcher at American Family Insurance.

Schedule: 

6:30 pm to 7:00 pm – Networking with Food & Beverages 

7:00 pm to 8:00 pm – Presentation, Q&A

Sponsor and Location: 


Celarity, Southtown Office Park8120 Penn Ave S.,  Bloomington, MN 5543, First Floor Conf. Room 135 & 145

Google Map

 

logo

 

 

 

Sign up at UXPA-MN — link


pubethics

The creation of a scientific article can prepare you for expert consumption of science, and even the expert peer review of science. Participate in this hands-on workshop. Learn the tricks of the trade. Learn the difference between a literature for a class paper as compared to a literature review for publication. Learn the role of the annotated review for the creation of methods, variables, and analysis know as a nomological network. This network would include the theoretical framework for what you are trying to measure, an empirical framework for how you are going to measure it, and specification of the linkages among and between these two frameworks. Join this workshop, play the game, and learn annotated literature for publication and peer reviewed editorial work.

Presented 10/22/2016

 

What is in an article?

 

  • What are the structural elements of a scientific article?
  • How do you read a scientific article?

Open this link

In reviewing an article for operationalizing, what should you do?

 

  • Summary/Abstract/ Key words
  • Problem statement
  • Literature review
  • Methods
  • Analysis
  • Outcomes
  • Discussion

Summary/ Abstract/ Key words

  • Note the highlights in the summary/ abstract
  • Do the key words in the summary align? What is missing? Is there jargon? Do the words seem to align with your knowledge and experience?

Problem statement

  • Is the problem statement clear, concise and jargon free?
  • Does the literature review provide a focused review to lead into and support the research questions and methods?
  • Review the ideas

Literature review

  • Check the citations and sources
  • Does the article provide a foundation towards describing work in service to the problem statement?
  • Is the article is a citation dump: that there so many citations, that there is a lack of focus?
  • Are the articles summarized to provide support to extend a question/ investigation?
    • Is the review well-organized?
    • Do they provide a table?

screen-shot-2016-10-22-at-11-03-38-am

  • Are the articles summarized with a clear link to the target variables, sampling, data collection,  and analysis method?

 (NOMOLOGICAL NETWORK)?

Methods

  • How do the methods support the research question / hypothesis test?
    • Are the methods capable of answering the question?
  • Are there gaps in the methods?
  • What are the key assumptions in these methodological approaches?
  • Do you have a good example of what these different methodological approaches should include?
    • Are they using grounded theory, are they using a parametric test, are they offering effect sizes, are they using trim and fill (meta analysis).
    • What are the requirements/expectations for the method?

Analysis

  • Does the analysis methods answer the question being asked?
  • Is the necessary information present to verify the analysis?
  • Does the analysis have the correct formatting based upon the analysis testing?
    • Are tables, figures and data presented according to APA?

Outcomes

  • Are the outcomes/ interpretations supported by the data?
  • Do the outcomes answer the research question?

Discussion

  • Does the discussion offer
    • Insight?
    • Limitations?
    • Next steps?

Example Method

  • Have highlighter, pen, and paper
    • Take them out of your hands, and place them on the table
  • Simply give it a quick read for gist, and overall feel.
  • Now pick up the pen, highlighter, and paper.
    • This is where begin to annotate the article for my citation software/ peer review,
    • Read for logic and flow
    • operationalizing research questions and variables.
    • What are my thoughts on each section?
    • What is the thesis of each paragraph?
      • I write down my gist feeling and examine this feeling with reasoning.
      • Look for evidence for and against my feeling about how the parts serve the whole
  • Research / annotated lit review
    • What is my overall thought as a potential reader of the journal?
    • How does this relate to the questions in my study?
  • Imagine the author as a hardworking person that cares alot about what they wrote
    • Have the authors done well?
    • If the author/s have done a good job, I commend them — do this early, and maintain a positive tone
      • do not attack or insult the author
    • If they have not done well, I suggest the major issues that might be improved with a suggestion for how to do it, and perhaps where to look.

Use the online scoring system, and provide summaries of reasoning/evidence

  • Use page numbers quotes, suggest examples, new ideas, and resources.
  • I combine my notes based upon each of the online scoring system scores.
  • I examine the relationship between the literature review, methods, analysis, and outcomes as an overall evaluation – is it good, it needs revision, the paper needs major revision, the paper needs to be resubmitted.
  • I transfer those notes into the submission system with the message to the author/s, including general suggestion for fit in the journal, and helpful suggestions for next steps.
  • I review my analysis for tone.

–Is what I am saying helpful?

 

reject

 

  • I am not the gatekeeper, my role is to encourage, and help people get better
  • I try to use empathy, build community, and be inclusive

Reviewer specific issue:

  • does the article meet the aims and scope of the journal?

ijgcms

Scope and Aims

  • To promote a deep conceptual and empirical understanding of the roles of electronic games and computer-mediated simulations across multiple disciplines.
  • To help build a significant bridge between research and practice on electronic gaming and simulations, supporting the work of researchers, practitioners, and policymakers.

Audience appeal

  • Scientific papers typically have two audiences:
    • Journal readers themselves, who may be more or less knowledgeable about the topic addressed in the pape
    • Referees, who help the journal editor decide whether a paper is suitable for publication
    • Your mom or dad, or spouse –if they doing this, you probably don’t deserve them :)

pubethics

 

Become a reviewer

Submit an article

The Evolution of Insights at Riot Games

YouTube Preview Image

 

Brandon discusses the embedded model of Riot Games research, including some of the evolutionary steps, such as the Center of Excellence Model. Riot’s Insights team has grown from a disparate collection of 23 Rioters spread across small service teams, to a 70+ Rioters unified within an Insights discipline that’s involved in all aspects of product development.

Brandon Hsiung

Bio:Brandon Hsiung leads the Insights Discipline at Riot Games, the studio behind League of brandinhsiung-920x1152
Legends.Insights is a 70+ Rioter team with the mission of wrestling large amounts of information and translating user experiences into actionable insight and machine-driven product experiences. Insights uses a wide variety of tools across Analytics, Data Science, Strategy and Research to solve problems and develop products for everything from Game Design to Organizational Design. Prior to seeing the gaming light and working at Riot, Brandon was lost for 8 years in the wilderness of strategy consulting and financial services.

Join us at the next GURsig, submit a talk!

Game User Research Summit 2017 call for papers

Learn more about Game User Research Special interest Group (GURsig):

About the Game User Research sig at IGDA

Jakob Nielson says:

The Games User Research Summit was a great conference

 

 

 

 

Live Test Experience on Rainbow Six Siege

Olivier Guedon
YouTube Preview Image

In order to insure the best user experience for Rainbow Six: Siege, the Montreal User Research Lab had to re think the way they tested the game, bringing playtests and analytics to a whole new level: the live test experience.
Using their knowledge and experience on the Rainbow Six Siege production, the speakers will:
• Present succinctly the Rainbow Six franchise and its history
• Describe user research challenges of a multiplayer focused game
• Discuss the limitations of classic user tests
• Introduce live tests – Closed Alpha, Closed Beta, and Open Beta
o The impacts on the user research, analytics, and production pipelines
o The impacts on reporting and how user research analytics helped improve the game
• Show the changes in terms of communication to all parties
• Give insights on the first months post launch, and potentially how post launch data is or can be used as live test data.

Olivier Guedon

olivier_guedon-920x613

Olivier Guédon is a Game Intelligence Analyst with Ubisoft’s Montreal User Research Lab. His experience in the video game industry started at Ubisoft Montreal in 2007 in information risk managementfor the production teams of brands like Assassin’s Creed or Far Cry. He went to risk analytics to come back to Ubisoft at the User Research Lab in 2014 to lead the analytics efforts for the Rainbow Six Siege production.

Join us at the next GURsig, submit a talk!

Game User Research Summit 2017 call for papers

Learn more about Game User Research Special interest Group (GURsig):

About the Game User Research sig at IGDA

 

Jakob Nielson says:

The Games User Research Summit was a great conference

with many insightful talks by top professionals.

According to Jakob Nielson, of Nielson Norman Group, Nick Yee provided the best (but very data-dense) presentation at GamesUR.

Gamers are not a monolithic group; gaming preferences and motivationsNickYee among gamers in important ways. Using survey data from over 140,000 gamers worldwide, we used factor analysis to develop an empirical framework of gaming motivations and a validated tool to measure those motivations. We’ll present the gaming motivations we identified, how they are related to each other and group together in 3 high-level clusters, how they vary by gender and age, and how they correlate with personality traits. This is a data-driven talk where we focus on the surprising findings that emerged from the large data set.

Watch the the GURsig presentation by Nick Yee:

YouTube Preview Image

 

 

Join us at the next GURsig, submit a talk!

Game User Research Summit 2017 call for papers

Learn more about Game User Research Special interest Group (GURsig):

About the Game User Research sig at IGDA

 

Jakob Nielson says:

The Games User Research Summit was a great conference

with many insightful talks by top professionals.

 

Nick Yee

Nick Yee is the co-founder and analytics lead of Quantic Foundry. For over a decade, he has conducted research on the psychology of gaming and virtual worlds using a wide variety of methods. At Stanford University, he used immersive virtual reality to explore how avatars can change the way people think and behave. At the Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), he applied social network analysis and predictive analytics to examine large-scale World of Warcraft data. He was also a senior research scientist in Ubisoft’s Gamer Behavior Research group. He is the author of “The Proteus Paradox”.

shut up frog

Play has been removed from schools by non-educators

Brock Dubbels, Ph.D.

Dept. Psychology, Neuroscience, & Behaviour

McMaster University

It was not psychologists, educators, or child development researchers that removed play from schools. According to McCombs & Miller (2007), the emphasis on performance testing and standardization was led by a campaign of politicians and corporate interests to influence what happened in the classroom. With government reports such as Nation At Risk (1983), the National Governors Association (1989) worked to create Goals 2000 (1994) and called for greater levels of accountability for student achievement and rigorous academic standards. They called for more focus on standardized content, standardized content delivery, and standardized tests. This campaign to standardize schools worked to change classroom curriculum, but it contradicted and ignored 100 years of psychological research about human learning (McCombs & Miller, 2007).

The new standards and assessments became mandated performance indicators on how schools were evaluated. For a school to be rated as competent, their students had to meet federal and state performance guidelines, and school funding was tied to student performance on standardized assessments. This situation became so desperate for some schools, that entire school districts (superintendents, principals, and teachers) committed fraud by falsifying assessment data (Dayen, 2015).

Political reasons for standardization over play

Elected officials and journalists reported that American students had fallen behind other industrialized nations in math and science, and the proof was in American student performance on international testing tests called PISA and TIMMS. They warned that without improvements in student performance in math and science, the USA would no longer be competitive on the world stage (US Committee on Prospering in the Global Economy of the 21st Century, Science, & (US), 2007).

Reports such as these were political in nature. When American student scores are compared to students of the same income level, students in the United States did significantly better than all other countries:

For every administration of PISA and TIMSS, when controlling for

poverty, U.S. public school students are not only competitive, they

downright lead the world. Even at home nationally, when controlling

for poverty, public school students compete with private school

students in Lutheran, Catholic, and Christian schools when analyzing

NAEP data (Ravitch, 2013).

Poverty plays a central role in student performance. Schools serving lower-income students tend to be organized and operated differently than those serving more affluent students. Poverty is the most significant impact on academic performance. It does not matter if these schools are big or small, private, or religious. Poverty is the most significant predictor of poor academic performance (McNeil & Valenzuela, 2000; Rumberger & Palardy, 2005). Students in poverty often come to school without the social and economic benefits held by many middle-to-high SES students, such as access to books, food, parental support with schoolwork, and financial stability (Sirin, 2005).

In wealthy schools, students are more likely experience playful activities and learner centered pedagogy (Anyon, 1980). Schools that serve children in poverty, not only struggle the most, but are also often the first to get the standardized education, reduction in play, and elimination of electives such as music, arts, and training. We may be compounding the problem, rather than offering a solution by removing these things from children in poverty.

Children in poverty also experience greater exposure to threat and violence, which contributes to play deprivation. Play deprivation has arisen as a medical diagnosis. It means that children do not experience the essential cognitive, social, and affective benefits of learning through play (Milteer, Ginsburg, Health, & Mulligan, 2012). Play is an essential element of learning and development. Removing play in favor of standardization is a mistake.

Standardization is profit-centered, not student-centered

If anything was learned from the standardization campaign, it was that the creation of standards and content has proven to be very financially lucrative to testing companies, and very destructive for school districts (Dayen, 2015). These policies have led to change of control, where classrooms are now legislated through national education standards, and this legislation is often influenced, if not written by, lobbyists that work for the companies that profit from selling tests and curriculum, rather than the people who have experience working with children and child development research (Leistyna, 2007).

The shift to standardized assessment and curriculum has also led to instability. It is very profitable to have standards change. When standards change, schools are required to meet those new standards, and this is often accomplished by paying for new tests and new curriculum. State-based initiatives on Common Core—the standards and assessments—change every 4 years (Porter, McMaken, Hwang, & Yang, 2011). Each shift in standards constitutes a form of educational whack-a-mole, where districts are forced to purchase new curriculum, and states must create new assessments. This is a lucrative market, over $2 billion annually (Strauss, 2015).

To cultivate financial opportunity, educational publishers have been very involved in this process; Pearson Education, ETS (Educational Testing Service), Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and McGraw-Hill collectively spent more than $20 million lobbying in states and on Capitol Hill from 2009 to 2014 (ibid). In many ways, standardization and accountability initiatives have exacerbated the “problems” they set out to solve, and instead, created a lucrative market for pre-packaged curriculum and tests, the deprofessionalization of teachers, and significant cost to American taxpayers.

Standardized methods of assessment often lack the long view, and do not pass the tests of time, retention, and adaptation. According to Atkinson & Mayo, (2010) focus on subject matter and facts only serve to limit student motivation, learning and choice, and reduce the potential for innovation. Additionally, high stakes tests, and the practice of evaluation during instruction is an unreliable index of whether the long-term changes, which constitute learning, have actually taken place (for review, read Soderstrom & Bjork, 2015).

Parents opt-out of standardization

Interestingly, many parents and stakeholders have begun to embrace the long view, and begun to doubt the value of testing; they have begun to “opt-out”, which is now called the “opt-out parents movement” (Layton, 2013). The opt-out movement indicates a trend towards more play-based and learner-centered practices, advocated for by the American Psychological Association (APA) (Alexander & Murphy, 1998; Barbara, 2004; Cornelius-White, 2007; McCombs, 2001; McCombs & Miller, 2007; Weimer, 2013).

The benefits of play

kids play as doctorPlay is not only an imaginative activity of amusement. Play and games serve important roles in cognitive, social, and affective development (Dubbels, 2014; Fisher, 1992; Frost, 1998; Garvey, 1990). In pre-industrial times, pastoral and foraging societies, children did not learn sequestered away from adult contexts (Thomas, 1964). Instead, children participated in playful variations of adult activities, where they could observe adults at work, and were able to imitate and emulate these activities through play without the danger of failure and consequence (Bock, 2005; Rogoff, 1994).

Rubin, Fein, and Vandenberg provided a thorough psychological overview of the early role of play in their chapter in volume four of the Manual of Child Psychology (1983). They observed that humans play longer relative to other mammals that play. Lancaster and Lancaster (1987) built upon this position and state that this extended period of play is essential for development. Bjorklund, (2006) expands upon this view, and states that humans play longer because they are adaptive organisms, and, that extended play is essential, allowing humans the skills and knowledge to become independent in complex environments.

When children engage in complex peer play, they exhibit greater gains in levels of symbolic functional and oral language production, as compared to if they are interacting with an adult (Pellegrini, 1983). Additionally, when a learner experiences learning through play, where they can experience and role-play adult work, they report the activities are more meaningful, and that the activity did not feel like learning (Dubbels, 2010). This aligns with Winkielman & Cacioppo, (2001), who found that when learning new information is experienced as easy, processing is experienced as pleasant and effective.

Learning generated in the context of play, especially social play, can lead to greater engagement, improved recall, comprehension, and be more innovative. Juveniles can observe behaviors and strategies performed by adults but then recombine elements of these behaviors in novel routines in play (Bateson, 2005; Bruner, 1972; Fagen, 1981; Sutton-Smith, 1966). For example, the levels of children’s symbolic functional and oral language production are more varied and complex in peer play, relative to when they are interacting with an adult (Pellegrini, 1983). More importantly, play is a low-cost and low-risk way to learn new behaviors and acquire new skills and knowledge (ibid). Conversely, one could suggest that a limitation of direction instruction, observation, and imitating adults is that this kind of instruction will only transmit existing practices.

Offering activities to children in a playful mood can increase a willingness to take direction, and on-task behavior (Moore, Underwood, & Rosenhan, 1973; Rosenhan, Underwood, & Moore, 1974; Underwood, Froming, & Moore, 1977). To create a more playful mood, participants engage in playful communication, with emphasis on reducing or eliminating all commands, questions, and criticisms.

Play acts as an important organizing principle during developmental growth (Brown, 1998). Play is not only an imaginative activity; play also allows children to imitate and emulate adult work activities without the danger of failure. Children role-play activities from the adult world, and learn to use the tools, rules, and language of adult work. Play is an important part of academic learning. When children play, they develop new strategies and behaviors with minimal costs (Bateson, 2005; Burghardt, 2005; Spinka, Newbury, and Bekoff, 2001).

joyUsing a playful approach in the classroom represents a fundamental change in assessment, offering a philosophy of playful and data-informed assessment, as compared to standardized, data-driven assessment. To be data-informed, assessments are used to guide the way, not to indicate that learning is accomplished. In play-based assessment, one can inform and improve student learning, increase motivation and engagement, and improve our school’s programs by learning from our challenges, progress, and performance.

 

A playful structuring of assessment allows one to integrate play, and utilize assessment as a form of instructional communication, reducing threat, and emphasizing play. The value of such an approach is that it provides support for a range of students, including specialized support to educationally disadvantaged populations, including economically disadvantaged students, English Language Learners, students with disabilities, and students who are at risk of not meeting state academic standards.

References

Alexander, P. A., & Murphy, P. K. (1998). The research base for APA’s learner-centered psychological principles. Retrieved from http://psycnet.apa.org/books/10258/001

Anyon, J. (1980). Social class and the hidden curriculum of work. Sociology of Education: Major Themes, 162, 1250.

Atkinson, R. D., & Mayo, M. J. (2010). Refueling the US innovation economy: Fresh approaches to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education. The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, Forthcoming. Retrieved from http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1722822

Banks, J., Carson, J. S., Nelson, B. L., & Nicol, D. M. (2001). Verification and validation of simulation models. Discrete-Event System Simulation, 3rd Edition, Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle River (NJ), 367–397.

Barbara, L. (2004). The learner-centered psychological principles: A framework for balancing academic achievement and social-emotional learning outcomes. Building Academic Success on Social and Emotional Learning: What Does the Research Say?, 23.

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