As part of the Distance Education Week, Maude Bonenfant, professor in the Department of Social and Public Communication at the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM) and doctor of semiotics, presented different ways of thinking about games in a distance learning context. She also couldn’t help but talk about the metaverse, which is occupying a growing place in this universe.
There are different definitions of the game depending on the academic fields or other contexts in which it is used. Maude Bonenfant confirms that the game is “a set of rules that we put in place to create an area of freedom”. It is this whole idea of balance between rules and freedom in the game that, according to Maude Bonenfant, makes for a successful game. Moreover, thinking about the game is essential, and all the more so from the theory of self-determination. The elements of this theory are very similar to the needs that players seek while playing, namely the need autonomythe need to skill and the need for social link†
Gambling studies are relatively new and date back to the 2000s when they were more commonly referred to as: game studies† To understand how games are differentiated and how they are used on a daily basis, Maude Bonenfant was inspired by the typology of Margarida Romero. Indeed, the academic has produced a typology according to four pedagogical strategies for using digital games in the classroom (2016). Maude Bonenfant gives examples for each game.
- The educational use of digital games (not designed) for learning
– Minecraft where it is possible to build, spatialize, math, physics, etc.;
– Civilization focused on history but where it is also possible to do activities around the themes of the environment, ecology, sustainable development;
– Assassin’s Creed – Discovery Tour with a complete module on Ancient Egypt, ideal for learning about or simply discovering this historical period.
- The educational use of educational serious games designed for learning
- Learning by making digital games
- Youth Fusion provides a video game creation module. It is about making games in which students develop skills, develop autonomy and work in groups.
- Roblox where students can go as far as building mini-games and inviting others to come and play as a team or solo.
- Educational gamification
Gamification refers to the use of game strategies and mechanics in non-game contexts.
Let’s take the example, outside the school world, of Foursquare, a platform where users can find businesses to socialize and consume. This reference platform has created a whole gamification of travel through cities and places of consumption. Foursquare pioneered gamification by using reward systems such as badges and bonus points to encourage users to consume more.
In the school world, we can think of Classcraft (developed in Quebec) which offers a gamification of classroom management through three main strategies, namely the grade converter, quests and boss battles.
As for gamification, here are two files from the École branchée to read or reread:
In addition :
- A file from the Academic Success Information Network (RIRE) on learning through play.
Metaverses are the topic of the moment. Though they were considered a revolution in the digital game world, metaverses first saw life in the late 1990s. Multiplayer games such as Neverwinter Nights, Ultima Online, and EverQuest pioneered what we call the metaverse today. These are game worlds where people meet and create a social bond. It includes processes of identification, identity construction, belonging, socialization and recognition. These games seem to have contributed to the emergence of complete and complex universes that are today called metaverses.
The elderly will also remember Second Life, which was literally considered a second place in life for players. It was a commercial universe where people bought and sold goods for hard money. The biggest luxury brands like Louis Vuitton have paid dearly for their brands to appear in the game. There is even political life in Second Life, parties have been formed and there have even been protests.
The metaverses are mainly based on virtual reality, but also on relatively new technologies such as holograms, virtual glasses and even jackets that allow to create very real sensations.
Tech giants like Google, Microsoft and even Facebook now see the metaverse as an opportunity to mobilize more people (more specifically video game enthusiasts) in a virtual world they have created, where every possible and imaginable activity will be present. Activities such as financial speculation, buying goods from virtual lots are already possible in some metaverses. The world of education is interested in it.
Watch Maude Bonenfant’s conference here: