October 2016, Jyväskylä: Play Cultures

Website: www.jyu.fi/hum/laitokset/taiku/play-cultures/cfp

10 October 2016, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland.

Abstracts are accepted in English or Finnish. Extended abstract should be 500 words, excluding the bibliography. In addition to the abstract, submit a 50 word biography. The deadline for submissions is 7th August 2016.

From the conference website: “The increased visibility of play and games in society has affected areas outside the core areas of videogames and toys. Videogames are one of the biggest sectors of commercial media. Playing with and collecting toys is increasingly acceptable for adults. Gamification and different kinds of playful approaches are becoming part of everyday life and work.

How are gamer/player cultures changing? What kind of new play cultures are emerging? How is the growing economic significance of games and related media affecting the cultural meanings attached to games and play? What kind of roles are play and games being given in education? Can playing and gaming improve and maintain well-being? Has gaming become more culturally accepted?

The conference will address themes such as:

  • videogames and gaming in media
  • subcultures of play
  • streaming and Let’s Plays
  • gamification in different cultural contexts
  • ludification and playfulness
  • eSports cultures
  • playfulness in learning and well-being”

Digital Games, Design, and Learning: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

In the April 2015 edition of Review of Educational Research can be found:

Digital Games, Design, and Learning: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.

Authors: Douglas B. Clark, Emily E. Tanner-Smith, and Stephen S. Killingsworth.

Abstract: In this meta-analysis, we systematically reviewed research on digital games and learning for K–16 students. We synthesized comparisons of game versus nongame conditions (i.e., media comparisons) and comparisons of augmented games versus standard game designs (i.e., value-added comparisons). We used random-effects meta-regression models with robust variance estimates to summarize overall effects and explore potential moderator effects. Results from media comparisons indicated that digital games significantly enhanced student learning relative to nongame conditions (g = 0.33, 95% confidence interval [0.19, 0.48], k = 57, n = 209). Results from value added comparisons indicated significant learning benefits associated with augmented game designs (g = 0.34, 95% confidence interval [0.17, 0.51], k = 20, n = 40). Moderator analyses demonstrated that effects varied across various game mechanics characteristics, visual and narrative characteristics, and research quality characteristics. Taken together, the results highlight the affordances of games for learning as well as the key role of design beyond medium.

My notes: One swallow doesn’t make a summer, and one paper doesn’t “prove” that digital games are jolly useful things to use in education, learning and teaching. However, every so often an article, paper or report of the thousands (yes, thousands) published on games in learning every year comes along that does show something significant, has some persuasive analysis in it, and is definitely worth a read. This recent paper is one. The work looks at research published between 2000 and 2012 and was funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. There’s a brief, and far less technical, summary document which introduces the various hypotheses. It’s a long text; the statistics within are somewhat hardcore (and my first degree was in statistics), and it’s a good few hours of concentrated reading. The reference section is also pretty good.

More information at:

n.b. Thanks to Doug for a copy of a version of the paper.