The “Mobile Game Based Learning” Project
Thomas Putz, Project manager at Evolaris Next Level, Austria
The project project aims at improving the effectiveness and efficiency of learning in the target group of people in the age of 16-24. To do so, games were put into the equation by means of a free software platform called mGBL – mobile Game-Based Learning.
The main idea was not to port some PC-style gaming platform into mobile phones (neither PDAs, nor gaming devices). Games should be geared around real life communication, intertwined in daily lives. The learning concept had to be mapped to the game style, embedded naturally in the game.
Game 1: Fastest First!
The game had two different parts: a first one where knowledge was checked, a second one where the game took the approach of a simulation where that knowledge had to be practically applied.
Game 2: MOGABAL
This game has a multiuser version where several players can play the same game. The game has also quizzes, but is much more visual and the various choices have no immediate reward but a link to a subsequent level.
Game 3: Get Real!
This was a server side game where collaboration was a key issue. Indeed, a planning part was also included in the game, so it was not only about “doing” but also about “wanting to do”. Communication was really enhanced and was enabled by texting, with MMS, etc. The game had also a very interesting online-offline combination of activities, including QR codes that could be transmitted via the mobile phone to the game, and there enrich the information about e.g. a building by means of other sources.
Game 4: Digital Economy
The game consisted in finding and mapping e-business initiatives in the city.
The students actually learnt the contents related to the syllabus/curriculum, with a stress on cross-curricular competences; they got new digital skills; teamwork and cooperation skills were also improved, including social skills, self-confidence, etc.
Q: Is it true that first the game was developed and then the it was decided what its applications would be? A: Absolutely. The reason was that the game applied different pedagogical theories or methodologies, and these actually came before the games themselves. The practical application, though, of such methodologies did come later.
Q: How many people participated in this project? What is the best way to reach everyone? A: It is definitely not a way to reach everyone to focus on the state-of-the-art devices that are the latest to come to the market. It is preferable to target less powerful but more popular devices that everybody has access to and, more important, whose usage has become widespread in terms of mastering their technical possibilities.