Telling Stories with Digital Board Games: Narrative Game Worlds in Literacies Learning

Telling Stories with Digital Board Games: Narrative Game Worlds in Literacies Learning

Sanna-Mari Tikka (University of Jyväskylä, Finland), Marja Kankaanranta (University of Jyväskylä, Finland), Tuula Nousiainen (University of Jyväskylä, Finland) and Mari Hankala (University of Jyväskylä, Finland)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-360-9.ch011
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Abstract

In the context of computer games, learning is an inherent feature of computer game playing. Computer games can be seen as multimodal texts that connect separate means of expression and require new kinds of literacy skills from the readers. In this chapter, the authors consider how the computer-based learning tool Talarius, which enables students to make their own digital games and play them, lends itself to literacy learning. The learning subject is a children’s novel, and thus it is narrative by its nature. In addition, the learning tool provides the potential to interweave narrative contents into the games made by it. The focus of this chapter is on the relationship between narrativity and learning in computer games, in this case, digital board games. The research question is: How do the narrative functions of the learning tool support learning in game creation and game playing?
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Introduction

Computer games are a substantial part of the contemporary youth culture. Nowadays, games are seen from the perspective of contemporary entertainment, in which activity and social participation are essential characteristics. In the context of games, learning plays an important role. It is an inherent feature of game playing. That is why computer games seem to offer promising support for school learning in the future. At the same time, computer games can be seen as multimodal texts. These new kinds of texts connect separate means of expression and require new kinds of literacy skills from the readers. Computer games can include narrative contents but, in comparison with traditional storytelling, there are also notable differences. Altogether, we believe that computer games can be connected with literacies learning as effective learning tools, but also as learning objectives.

In this chapter, we discuss how the computer-based learning tool Talarius, which enables students to create their own digital games and play them, lends itself to literacy learning. The learning subject is a literary text, a children’s novel, and thus it is narrative by its nature. Additionally, the learning tool includes the potential to incorporate narrative contents into the games made within it. The focus of this chapter is on the relationship between narrativity and learning in computer games, in this case, digital board games. Thus, the most important research question is how the narrative functions of the learning tool support learning in game creation and game playing.

First we will briefly consider literacy learning with computer games, and connections between narratives and computer games. In the empirical part of this chapter, we will discuss a use experiment of Talarius within literature studies, as well as textual literacy and game literacy practicing. As one result of the experiment, we propose a classification of various possible relations between a story and a computer game. In the conclusion, we will highlight the successes, but also the considerations that should be taken into account during the use and design of this kind of a narrative learning environment in the future.

As such, the topic presented here is little discussed in the literature. Digital board game-formed learning games and environments are quite sparsely researched. There is already some research in the domain of the educational usage of computer game-making process. In this chapter, we are going to join in these discussions by uniting and extending them.

The discussion about game making and its effects for learning is in its early stages yet. The educational effects of game creation from the pedagogical perspective have been discussed by Kafai (2006). She reviewed the use of computer games for learning from two pedagogical perspectives, instructionist and constructionist. The first one, instructionism, deals with educational games that, in most cases, “integrate the game idea with the content to be learned” (Kafai, 2006, p. 37). On the contrary, the constructivist perspective has highlighted the value of a game creation approach, which allows students to learn and examine knowledge through a creative process. Researchers have also discussed what kind of motivational and learning affordances are inherent within the game creation process (Good & Robertson, 2006), how the game creation process can develop one’s narrative skills (Robertson & Good, 2004; Szafron et al, 2005), and what the model of game literacy could be when it is observed through the students’ creative authoring practices (Buckingham & Burn, 2007).

Complete Chapter List

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Table of Contents
Foreword
Kurt Squire
Preface
Thomas Connolly, Mark Stansfield, Liz Boyle
Chapter 1
Stephen Tang, Martin Hanneghan, Abdennour El Rhalibi
Games-based learning takes advantage of gaming technologies to create a fun, motivating, and interactive virtual learning environment that promotes... Sample PDF
Introduction to Games-Based Learning
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Chapter 2
Nicola Whitton
This chapter examines the rationale for the use of computer games in learning, teaching, and assessment in Higher Education. It considers their... Sample PDF
Learning and Teaching with Computer Games in Higher Education
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Chapter 3
Daniel Livingstone, Jeremy Kemp, Edmund Edgar, Chris Surridge, Peter Bloomfield
Alongside the growth of interest in Games-Based Learning, there has been a notable explosion of interest in the use of 3D graphical multi-user... Sample PDF
Multi-User Virtual Environments for Learning Meet Learning Management
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Chapter 4
Jean-Charles Marty, Thibault Carron, Jean-Mathias Heraud
In this chapter, the authors propose a Game-Based LMS called the pedagogical dungeon equipped with cooperation abilities for particular activities.... Sample PDF
Observation as a Requisite for Game-Based Learning Environments
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Chapter 5
Marco A. Gómez-Martín, Pedro P. Gómez-Martín, Pedro A. González-Calero
A key challenge to move forward the state of the art in games-based learning systems is to facilitate instructional content creation by the domain... Sample PDF
Content Integration in Games-Based Learning Systems
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Chapter 6
Matt Seeney, Helen Routledge
One of the most important differentiators between Commercial Games and Serious Games is content; delivered in a way that is successfully integrated... Sample PDF
Drawing Circles in the Sand: Integrating Content into Serious Games
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Chapter 7
Mark McMahon
This chapter proposes a document-oriented instructional design model to inform the development of serious games. The model has key features in that... Sample PDF
The DODDEL Model: A Flexible Document-Oriented Model for the Design of Serious Games
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Chapter 8
Daniel Burgos, Christof van Nimwegen
Serious games are suitable for learning. They are a good environment for improving the learning experience. As a key part of this setting, feedback... Sample PDF
Games-Based Learning, Destination Feedback and Adaptation: A Case Study of an Educational Planning Simulation
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Chapter 9
Patrick Felicia, Ian Pitt
For a long time, users’ emotions and behaviours have been considered to obstruct rather than to help the cognitive process. Educational systems have... Sample PDF
Profiling Users in Educational Games
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Chapter 10
Marco Greco
The use of Role-Playing is becoming prominent in Serious Games due to its positive effects on learning. In this chapter the author will provide a... Sample PDF
The Use of Role–Playing in Learning
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Chapter 11
Sanna-Mari Tikka, Marja Kankaanranta, Tuula Nousiainen, Mari Hankala
In the context of computer games, learning is an inherent feature of computer game playing. Computer games can be seen as multimodal texts that... Sample PDF
Telling Stories with Digital Board Games: Narrative Game Worlds in Literacies Learning
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Chapter 12
Colin Price
The power of computer game technology is currently being harnessed to produce “serious games”. These “games” are targeted at the education and... Sample PDF
The Path between Pedagogy and Technology: Establishing a Theoretical Basis for the Development of Educational Game Environments
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Chapter 13
Sara de Freitas, Steve Jarvis
This chapter reviews some of the key research supporting the use of serious games for training in work contexts. The review indicates why serious... Sample PDF
Towards a Development Approach to Serious Games
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Chapter 14
Pieter Wouters, Erik D. van der Spek, Herre van Oostendorp
Despite scant empirical substantiation, serious games are in widespread use. The authors review 28 studies with empirical data from a learning... Sample PDF
Current Practices in Serious Game Research: A Review from a Learning Outcomes Perspective
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Chapter 15
Thomas Connolly, Mark Stansfield, Thomas Hainey
The field of games-based learning (GBL) has a dearth of empirical evidence supporting the validity of the approach (Connolly, Stansfield, & Hainey... Sample PDF
Towards the Development of a Games-Based Learning Evaluation Framework
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Chapter 16
Helen Routledge
Based on real-world experiences using a variety of digital games, this chapter presents a guide for teachers on how to use games-based learning in... Sample PDF
Games-Based Learning in the Classroom and How it can Work!
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Chapter 17
Elizabeth A. Boyle, Thomas Connolly
Developing educational computer games that will appeal to both males and females adds an additional level of complexity to an already complicated... Sample PDF
Games for Learning: Does Gender Make a Difference?
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Chapter 18
Maria Saridaki, Dimitris Gouscos, Michael G. Meimaris
Students with Intellectual Disability (ID) are often described as “slow learners” and cannot easily integrate to the normal curriculum. Still, the... Sample PDF
Digital Games-Based Learning for Students with Intellectual Disability
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About the Contributors