Synopsis of Keynotes

"Competitive Analysis of Role Play Simulation Games to the Value and Meaning of UE Learning and Edutainment Study"

CHANG Shih-Tsung  張世宗

To play is a basic sense of all living creatures; one would discover much of its survival skills through playing. It is an interactive, initiative and enjoyable process for learning. During the rural era, most toys and games that children played were self-created and self-made; these experiences represent the early childhood culture and also the beginning of childhood wisdom development.

Games and toys were never considered as an important educational tool, but its value is actually greater than what it has been perceived to be. It is observed that RPG (role play game) and action/adventure games play an important part in early childhood development. By comparing gaming methods from different era and lifestyle, this study points out that the value or the fun of high tech and high priced toys may not match what was traditional. Therefore we propose a new mode of evaluation on the development of gaming, and suggest a new direction for research –Study of “UE- The Art of Play”.

"Game-based Learning: Opportunities and Challenges for 21st Century Education"
CHEE Yam San

There is widespread interest in using computer games to support student learning today, both in school as well as out of school. Some educators believe that the use of games will enhance student engagement in learning. Other educators are motivated by the argument that digital natives require a different medium to interact with in order to learn effectively. Regardless of motivation, the fact is that educational games have had minimal impact on the practice of education. In this talk, I shall critically examine why this is so. Drawing upon computer games that we have developed and done research with at the Learning Sciences Lab, I shall argue that effective game-based learning requires that we fundamentally re-conceive our notions of knowledge and human learning. I shall explain how this re-conceptualization opens up compelling opportunities for transformative learning in the context of 21st century education. I shall also highlight the challenges that game-based learning faces in finding a place in mainstream educational practice.

"Learn to Game, Game to Learn: Designers and Role-Players"

Results from two experiments reported by Druckman and Ebner (2008) in a recent issue of Simulation & Gaming showed that scenario designers learned more about three negotiation concepts than those who role-played the designs. Designers in the experiments, conducted in Australia and Israel, showed better understanding of the way the concepts are related and retained the learning gains over time better than role-players and controls. They were also more motivated to perform and expressed more satisfaction with their performance than the role-players. Further improvements in what was learned by designers occurred when relationships between the three concepts were emphasized (primed) in follow-on experiments. Working with colleagues in Australia and Israel, I am replicating the designer-role-player conditions in an asynchronous on-line communication mode. Preliminary findings will be reported along with more general implications of the research completed to date. These implications address the conference theme, learn to game (designing scenarios), game to learn (role-playing scenarios designed by others).

"The Power of Immersive Experiences: Using serious games and virtual worlds to enrich social interactions and create new spaces"

The presentation will explore how living, learning and working are changing in the face of new technologies that allow for more immersive experiences. The impact of games and virtual worlds is only beginning to be touched upon with new applications from health, education to business training emerging. However questions remain as to how different the twenty-first century will become in the face of new spaces emerging for undertaking all kinds of human interactions. Step into the world of the immersive and the social and envisage how far these new forms may transform our everyday lives.

"What game are you really playing? - How culture changes the rules"
Prof Gert Jan HOFSTEDT

Experienced gamers have observed that the same game can become a different experience in different cultures because the players bring different unwritten rules. Whatever simulation game they are playing, they cannot avoid applying the hidden rules of the culture in which they were brought up. The lecture will explain how and why this happens, using Hofstede's dimensions of culture, as well as experiences from various games.

This implies that game designers need to be careful about the effects of cross-cultural differences when they create games. Participants from various countries might be obliged by a game design to do things that they do not wish to - with potentially damaging results. And players might learn very different lessons from the ones intended by the game facilitators.
But it also offers opportunities for creating games to uncover and learn about the very unwritten rules of culture that players draw upon during simulation gaming sessions. Simulation games can be laboratories of culture.

"Wisdom by Gaming vs Knowledge by Learning"

Classroom education gives knowledge but we know that knowledge alone is not enough for human life. Shifting from simple school environment to complex social environment, we need wisdom to manage holistic approach to deal with multidisciplinary problems. There has been searches for new modes of education for centuries, but wisdom seems to be always falling beyond limits of formal education goals. With exercises and demonstrations in this talk, we shall explore questions such as, "Could wisdom be a subject of teaching?" "Are there rules to obtain wisdom?" "How to test wisdom?" "Wisdom is not transportable in direct ways. But can it be indirectly transportable, perhaps, through games?" and "What is the balance between formal education and simulation games?"

"Digital & Interactive Media and Their Future"

We live surrounded by such media as PCs, mobile phones, and game machines. These media have changed and still are changing our society rapidly. Future media that would come after these media would be realized based on the integration of media technologies, robotics and art/design. As such media would have strong impacts to us and our society, we, researchers working in the area of digital & interactive media, would bear a great responsibility for the future of people. In my presentation, I will discuss the direction of the research and the research topics we have to pursue based on my experiences in the area of telecommunication, multimedia and robotics.

"Sneak Preview in the next decade"
Vincent PETERS

After having reached the honourable age of 40 years, we may wonder what lies ahead for ISAGA. What will the next 10 or 20 years bring us in terms of opportunities, new applications, technological development, gaming methodology? And are we ready for that? Is ISAGA preparing for a quiet retirement or is it just at the threshold of its second youth? Or do we have to fear a mid-life crisis? In this keynote we will take a sneak preview in the future of simulation & gaming and of ISAGA.