Fun - A Prerequisite for Learning Games
Christoph Hannak, Michael Pilz, Martin Ebner Social Learning / Information Technology ServicesGraz University of TechnologyAustriac.email@example.com,firstname.lastname@example.org,email@example.com
: Mobile games are booming. On average, every child in Central Europe aged15 years has a mobile phone on his/her own today. If a closer look is taken, it can be pointed out that children mainly own a smart phone running on iOS or Android operatingsystems. With other words, the youth carry very strong and powerful devices in their pockets, which can and should be used for educational purposes too. In this publicationwe like to introduce a new mobile game basing on the old traditional concept of learningcards but in a new innovative and more collaborating variant. The first prototype is presented that has been tested by a number of students and educators. It can be shownthat the game is motivating and engaging. Furthermore an occurring incidental learningeffect can be carried out, which leads to the assumption that mobile games can play animportant role for the future of education and it makes simply fun.
Since it´s very first day multimedia play an interesting role in education due to the fact that teachers as wellas students consider interactivity as extremely important within educational processes (Kozma, 1991)(Holzinger & Ebner, 2003).Learning is a basic cognitive process that needs to be done by learners themselves. This means that learningis also an active process constructing knowledge and understanding (Holzinger, 2002). Bearing in mindthat not only distributing information, but also engaging learners by authentic tasks – like “Learning ByDoing” as Dewey (1916) argued - will be a necessity for a successful learning approach. According toVygotsky (1978), the relationship between interaction and learning can be summarized in three sentences:
The learner´s achievement level depends on what the learner already knows (previous knowledge).
The mechanism that evolves knowledge is an interaction.
The goal of learning is an interactive problem solving behavior.Thus, the fundamental idea of e-learning is to help learners become actively engaged in collaborativeinteraction by the help of various computer-supported processes. In other words, e-learning potentiallyenables completely new didactic scenarios and in particular it can increase motivation (Holzinger &Maurer, 1999) enhancing traditional learning methods.Moreover, also mobile technologies are increasing dramatically. If a look is taken at the availability of mobile phones amongst the youth the 100% owner rate is reached at an age of about 15 (Hoedl, 2009).Furthermore, in Germany as well as Austria there are more mobile phones than inhabitants (Springer,2006), and according to the Austrian Central Bureau of Statistics 2007 in more than 90% of all privatehouseholds mobile phones are available. Ellis (Ellis, 2003) has already pointed out in 2003 thatPDA/mobile phone device sales will outstrip PC sales, with the majority switching to wireless networks.Therefore the idea of building a mobile game based learning (mGBL) module emerged fulfilling the needsof mobility as well as learning.
Theory of games in education
Game based learning (GBL) is similar to problem based learning (PBL), wherein specific problemscenarios are embedded within a play framework (Barrows & Tamblyn, 1980). PBL as well as GBL provide a more student centered approach and engage the learner to interact with the content stronger (Motschnik-Pitrik & Holzinger, 2002). Furthermore, there are many characteristics of PBL within GBL, for example: unknown outcome, different and numerous paths to reach the learning goal, collaboration possibilities and many more. Bearing in mind that elements of competition and chance are also inherent for games, Mann mentioned that learning through games is manifold (Mann et al., 2002). Especially the possibility to bring real life experiences to the learners is a promising way for learning.The maybe most impressive and essential fact of games is that they are enjoyable. Therefore people ingeneral as well as learners are playing them simply for fun. The player plays primarily a game, because