Games in Innovation Education: Simulated vs. Authentic Gamified Participation

Games in Innovation Education: Simulated vs. Authentic Gamified Participation

Rikke Magnussen (Aalborg University Copenhagen, Denmark)
Copyright: © 2019 |Pages: 13
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7987-8.ch008


This chapter examines the methodological challenges and perspectives of designing game-like scenarios for the implementation of innovation processes in school science education. It presents a design-based research study of a game-like innovation scenario designed for technology education for Danish public school students aged 13-15. Students play the role of company heads who develop intelligent music technology. This game-like learning environment was designed to develop innovation competencies through the simulation of a practical learning situation. The focus of the design was to include practices and tools from innovative professions and use game principles and elements to create a meaningful frame around the creative and innovative practices. This chapter describes the results of this design and discusses the perspective of games in innovation education in relation to the more recent trends in research of games designed for citizen science.
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One key-adage of our time is that Western countries will only survive based on their populations’ abilities to be innovative, flexible and creative in a world of global warming and foreign industries that exploit cheap labour (Drucker, 1993). To meet these challenges, the primary task of educators has been defined as preparing learners to participate creatively in the knowledge economies that most Western countries have become (OECD, 2000). In spite of this being one of the main educational challenges of the 21st century, schools still teach students that knowledge is static, and as a result, students are being taught to become experts at consuming knowledge rather than producing new knowledge (Sawyer, 2006). Past science and technology studies of actors in the field have led to a discussion of what is meant by “authentic science” in school education (McGinn & Roth, 1999). Rather than the traditional picture of the scientist as the isolated genius endowed with superior mental abilities, scientific knowledge in the field of science and technology studies is seen as emerging from disciplined ways of organising and making sense of the natural world, as well as being a construction of visual representations (Latour, 1999; Lynch & Woolgar, 1990; Latour & Woolgar, 1986). Visual representations such as graphs, x-ray images, maps, models, diagrams and hybrids of these are central in creating and communicating science, and it has been argued that this view of scientific practice should have implications for how science is taught (diSessa, 2000; McGinn & Roth, 1999). Games that simulate scientific practice have been mentioned as an approach for implementing innovation in school education (Shaffer, 2007). The game media is well suited for simulating complex rule systems and real-life settings. Game scenarios offer a medium equipped for complex simulations integrating many different aspects of real-life learning environments and framing them in a simulation a player can identify with and relate to. Access to a wide range of professional tools and representations supports authenticity and allows for players to tackle complex problems from professional contexts (Magnussen, 2008). Though the potentials of game media in technology innovation education are clear, how innovative practices in game-based environments occur has yet to be fully understood. In this paper, the design of a game-like technology innovation scenario is presented. The scenario was developed as part of a design-based research study of how to implement innovative learning environments into cross-disciplinary science education in schools. The design, results and methodological discussions that arose from the first application of the design are discussed in relation to the more recent focus in the serious games field on development of citizen science games.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Profession Simulation Games: Games that simulates the practices of a specific profession including values and perspectives of the members of the community.

Innovation: A new idea or development in form of a device or a method that creates value.

Scenario: A description or plan of possible actions or events in the future involving specific actors.

Scientific Discovery Games: Games designed to involve gamers in scientific discoveries as part of playing the game.

Innovation Education: Education designed for learners to develop competences in developing new ideas and concepts.

Citizen Science Games: Games designed to facilitate collaboration between researchers and citizens in solving authentic scientific challenges such as protein folding.

Gamification: The application of game elements such as missions and scores to a non-game context.

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