Learning History by Playing a Mobile City Game

Abstract : Digital games seem to be excellent tools for facilitating and supporting situated learning. This unbinding of knowledge from a specific context fosters its transfer to new problems and new domains. Additionally, children's attitude towards computer games is the very attitude we would like all our learners to have. Therefore, it makes sense to try to merge the content of learning and the motivation of games. The objectives of this paper are to generate insights into the practicalities and the effects of mobile game-based learning in secondary education on the development of pupils' engagement in learning (more specifically their motivation for the subject history), historical knowledge and collaborative skills. For this purpose we investigated a game called Frequency 1550. Frequency 1550 is a mobile city game in which pupils playfully acquire historical knowledge about the medieval city of Amsterdam. There have been two pilots concerning this game, one in 2005 and one in 2007. The first pilot was carried out with one class and evaluated on the usability of the game. For the second pilot the game has been redesigned, tested, implemented and evaluated. A quasi-experimental design is followed in which data have been gathered on the process of gaming and learning. Twenty classes of some 25 pupils have participated in the pilot. Pupils from ten classes played the mobile history game while the other pupils were in the control condition and followed regular project-based lesson series. Learning effects, motivation and collaboration have been studied and analyzed in both quantitative and qualitative ways. The preliminary results show high motivated pupils playing, learning and working on the subject of medieval Amsterdam, even though there were problems with the technique and the assignments and pupils level did not always match.
Keywords : game-based learning
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Conference papers
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Jantina Huizenga, Wilfried Admiraal, Sanne Akkerman, Geert ten Dam. Learning History by Playing a Mobile City Game. Young researchers furthering development of TEL research in Central and Eastern Europe, 2007, Sofia, Bulgaria. ⟨hal-00190051⟩

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