Although this article is short, it investigates plenty of useful pieces of information and considerations about game-based learning. The article compactly summarises how game-based learning benefits players and why game-based learning and inquiry naturally integrate to create positive learning experiences. Shih, Squire and Lau (2010) explain the various benefits from inquiry gameplay include collaboration, deep learning, greater motivation, improved performance and flexible designs that can be adapted to suit the learning needs of an individual. From reading this article my understanding of what types of games can be used in learning expanded due to the discussion of multiple game types/genres (rather than just exploring one game time such as only discussing role play or narrative-based games).
Bitter, Puglisi, George and Kaur Uppal (2016) illustrate in this article how a game underpinned by inquiry-based learning can be utilised in mathematics to improve elementary students’ achievement, attitude and motivation towards maths. Throughout these American study a group of students in Years 3-5 participated in a game trial of Sokikom, a game that emerges its players into mathematical games. Within the Sokikom games students are actively involved through solving various authentic and contextualised problems individually or collaboratively in team games. Various affordances of Sokikom mentioned by the authors included the opportunities for students to work independently or collaboratively (in real time in team games), the flexibility of the game allowing students to work at their own pace and the capacity to receive immediate feedback and assistance in the forms of hints, instructional videos and access to virtual manipulatives. Overall, this article strongly advocates the use of quality inquiry-based games in mathematics in order to motivate students’ learning and to improve student achievements.
Mad City Mystery is an inquiry -based game with a fictional narrative about a man who is found dead in Lake Mendota, his death is a mystery through taking on the roles of an environmental scientist, a doctor and a government official students attempt to uncover what really happened to the dead man. Students uncover clues about the man's mysterious death by working as a team to collect data from different locations on the map and through interacting with each other and with characters in the narrative. This video demonstrates how games can provide inquiry experiences that motivating and engaging students in problem solving, collaboration, exploration and role play. As observed within this video the special roles students are given presents opportunity for students to undertake behaviours and practices of professionals in the field (the environmental scientist collects samples and conducts scientific tests or the doctor considers a patient's symptoms to provide an informed diagnosis). Additionally, experiences of narrative problem driven games such as Mad City murder encourage students to practice using specialised and contextual language in order to communicate their understandings and conclusions with other members of their group. I believe that this video is a valuable resource as through watching the three boys’ journey in parts of their gameplay showcases the positive impacts inquiry based games can have on student understanding, motivation and engagement in learning.
This write-up by Shute (2015) explains a possible strategy of assessment that can be used to assess students' learning whilst undertaking inquiry learning through game play. To explain the stealth method of assessment Shute (2015) provides an example of a physical science game called the Physics playground (an engaging game involving drawing coloured objects to apply Newtonian principles in order to get a ball to hit a balloon). The write up further argues that due to the creation of digital games that promote learning through participating a new type of assessment is necessary ,an assessment that allows students to continue their learning through game play uninterrupted. The solution Shute (2015) suggests is an assessment called stealth assessment an assessment tool that is woven invisibly into the game assessing the student in real time. Shute's(2015) argument is logical as interrupting learning to assess does not make sense when using inquiry and games, and causes me to reflect on the importance of considering all elements of the inquiry and game experience. In order to effectively use stealth assessment as an educator you would need to find a game that possibly has stealth assessment within the game, therefore how we assess may impact which games we choose.
This article was the first and the only article I could find on using game-based learning within an inquiry learning framework in the discipline of English, the way inquiry and gaming was used was creative and clever. Trekles (2012) shares her experience of using a virtual world environment in a creative writing class to inspire students and to give them a hands on and sensory experience related to a problem. All of the students in this study used a game from the Heritage Key Foundation, the game was set in Egypt with the beginning of the narrative presenting the problem of the who archaeologists were in the story mysteriously go missing. The English students were given time to experience the setting (through sound and sight) and could choose to start writing a solution to the problem whenever they were ready. As discussed by Treckle (2012) the use of game and inquiry within creative writing provided students with the opportunity to see part of the plot (the beginning) and visual connections to the place and story. This paper's a unique example of how Inquiry learning and games can be used as a stimulus to develop a creative piece of writing through creating resolution to a complex problem.
Within the inquiry game-based learning the name of the game Quest Atlantis appear frequently. The version of Quest Atlantis presented in this article discusses a quest-based game whereby students explore virtual worlds, meet with people, participate in activities and solve quests (related to social or environmental problems presented in the virtual reality world). Barab, Thomas, Dodge, Carteaux and Tuzun (2005) explain how the game facilitates inquiry through students practicing their inquiry learning skills by exploring problems and devise solutions to the problems faced in their virtual environment. This article is useful as it provides suggestions around how Quest Atlantis could be used to implement inquiry units on various topics (world fairs to literature on diversity). An important message I gained from reading this article was that games are a powerful vessel for students to develop their own sense of identity through making their own choices about what their avatar will look like, what quests they chose to accept or skip and how they are going to go about finding solutions to issues in the environment and social world. Gaming gives student independence to practice inquiry learning and to explore different issues, perspectives and a virtual environment.
This is a quick video about an Australian grade 3/4 class's experience of an inquiry based learning unit around the topic of games and game developing. Within this video Mel Cashen (the classroom teacher) explains how the students formed their own research questions about gaming, designed their own games, conducted surveys, met experts in the field of gaming and researched gaming by looking at gaming platforms, game structures, different game types and gaming reviews. The students concluded their inquiry unit by having a showcase for their parents and families sharing their creations and providing workshops about game construction. The students games are retrievable by the public on a website the class created. I think that this is an important resource for this collection first due to the fact that it is a local example of a successful inquiry based project centred around gaming. Secondly, this video is valuable as it explains how inquiry learning can be used as the pedagogy and gaming as the content knowledge to blend together creating a personalised and rich learning experience for students.
In majority of my searching efforts looking for resources about experiences involving game-based learning and inquiry-based learning I came across many papers looking at the benefits of using games in inquiry learning, but only a small few author's touch on issues that may be concerning of limitations . This article by Tan and Chee (2014) was one of the article's I admired due to its balance of examining of both the benefits and challenges students in their trial faced when participating the chemistry game Alkhimia. The article discusses how the game was implemented into the chemistry classroom and how it was received by students and teachers. The game Alkhimia involves the students playing as a chemist completing missions for the master chemist and fighting monsters with chemical mixtures the students create in a virtual lab, if students perform the lab quests correctly their potion will kill the monsters if there is error in the mixture the potion will have little to no effect it will take a longer time to kill the monsters. Various challenges faced in this experience included the students focusing too much on the game play and little focus on the chemistry concepts, relying too much on trial and error not basing their decision on chemistry knowledge and having difficulty understanding the relevance of the game. Benefits included providing students with a safe environment to experiment with chemical and equipment, students really enjoyed reflecting on their game play and discussing game play with others, practice of solving chemistry problems and the game allowed students to play and test the role of chemists.
This was my favourite resource in my entire search for information about game-based learning and inquiry-based learning due to the inspiring, rich, engaging, and meaningful learning it provided students with. Squire, Jan, Matthews, Wagler, Martin and Holden (2008) provide three examples of augmented reality experiences of students in elementary school and high school, from the city of Madison Wisconsin. All of the games involve the students using hand held GPS devices working in small teams to either solve a mystery, to answer inquiry questions in order to write a newspaper article around a historical event or to learn the history of a historic neigbourhood. The three games have a range of commonalities, each of the games requires the players to work in small groups to solve problems or questions, all of the games require the players to walk around the actual settings presented in the game narratives, the students become immersed in the game and are given new roles (scientist, journalist, ethnographers) and the narrative of the games are constructed by students' decisions and choices. After reading this article I realised that inquiry game-based learning experiences such as the fantastic case studies in this journal really place students at the centre of instruction, the students determine the pace and possibly even the content of their game experiences, they formulate solutions, questions and theories based on their game experience and most importantly they are active in their learning.
The effects of computer games on primary school students' achievement and motivation in geography learning (Hakan, Yimaz-Soylu, Karakus, Inal & Kizlkaya,2008) provides an example of how game-based learning and inquiry-learning can be integrated to provide primary students a motivating and engaging way to learn geography. Within this paper the researchers trialed a quest-based game called Quest Atlantis. The trial involved Turkish students in years 4 and 5 participating in a 3D environment (with 7 continents, 27 countries), throughout the environment there are seven lost children who the players need to find and help them get back to their country. The players participating in the game contribute towards solving the problem through interacting with the missing children characters (as well as with their peers)and through finding artefacts providing clues surrounding the possible country of origin (of the missing children). I found this article to be a interesting read from the article I learnt that quest games like Quest Atlantis can provide opportunities for collaboration, exploration of place, assess and compare sets of data (missing children's word against the physical artefact clues) to draw conclusions. All students reported being highly engaged, enthusiastic about the learning and found the game experience to be motivating and interesting.