By Eleanor Hoskins — Posted on May 15, 2015
One of the buzzier words in the field of educational technology is “gamification”: the notion that making learning more like a game results in better results and a more positive experience for students. Two researchers in the instructional technology program at Ohio University have developed “The Things We Carry”, a free game that expands the scope of conventional attempts at educational gaming.
The game uses a location-based host app to guide students around the Ohio University campus, and ties together physical locations and objects into a nostalgic narrative about a fictional student’s graduation. The graduate students’ goal was to explore the amount of emotional investment it was possible to generate from a phone-based game. They speculate that the educational value of this type of this game could range from an immersive experience of literature, to a more place-based approach to learning, to a tool for writing reflection and inspiration (like Elegy for a Dead World).
Strong video games allow players to make meaningful choices that shape the narrative and capture their imagination—a participatory dimension that many traditional forms of narrative and art lack. The interactivity and self-direction allowed by good gaming gives the player an opportunity to examine events and actions from a larger perspective outside the protagonist’s point of view. By making these lessons and skills in empathy more accessible and adaptable, educational technology could be a game-changer.
- Ohio University: Instructional technology students explore how video games can trigger emotional responses
- MindShift: Why Emotional Learning May Be As Important As The ABCs
- Medical Xpress: The benefits of storytelling in video games