Designing and Analyzing Social Dynamics for Sustainable Educational Development

Designing and Analyzing Social Dynamics for Sustainable Educational Development

Gilbert Ahamer (Graz University, Austria)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 27
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5673-2.ch004


This chapter details the basic design of the social processes involved in the five-level negotiation game “Surfing Global Change” (SGC). Through its communicational design, this web-based game elicits characteristic collaborative behavior in student groups, which is then statistically analyzed by using several sets of university students. The architecture of SGC has already been explained in other articles and gives a framework for “game-based learning” along five interactive game levels. The web-based arena of interaction induces student collaboration; the quality of which is assessed here. The statistical analyses suggest that the SGC game rules didactically enhance anticipated processes of social self-organization. Motivation for a good grade (function of collected rewards) in this sense impacts team size, attitude towards work, and individual affinity for sticking to personal convictions. The rules trigger two distinct processes: social dynamics in the class and the striving for course grades; these targets do not necessarily match.
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1. Procedures And Developments Along The Five Levels Of Sgc

1.1. A Symbolic Time Plan for the Game SGC

Implementation of the game SGC (see Öttl, et al., 2014; Vogler, et al., 2013; Ahamer, 2004a, b, 2005, 2013a, b, c, d; e, 2017a, b, c; Ahamer & Schrei, 2006) in dozens of courses to date have followed the timescale of the scheme as notated in Figure 1 (Ahamer, 2019). The shape of the different symbols explained in the legend describes the dramatic characteristic of the single activities involved. Each phase starts with its preparation (triangle). The reason for the overlapping of the five phases is to enhance understanding of the interconnections between the levels and to allow students to ponder about their future tasks at an early stage.

Figure 1.

Graph of student activities and time dynamics of SGC’s five phases (image from Ahamer, 2019).

Legend: Solid symbols vs. dashed symbols = compulsory vs. optional activities.Dotted lines = students are informed about the phaseTriangles of increasing thickness = preparation phases;Looped arrows up/down = feedback to trainer/students for debriefingDiamond = quiz at level 1;Stars = postings with standpoints/reviews/updates at level 2;Matrix = convene on 2 themes & develop 2 discussion matrices for level 3Flash = controversial discussion at level 3;Sun = consensus-oriented discussion at level 4Document = integrative interpretation of global trends

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