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Thursday, June 13 • 2:30pm - 3:30pm

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This individual papers session, ”Narrative”, will include the following:

We Can't Just Go Shooting Asteroids Like Space Cowboys: The Role of Narrative in Immersive, Interactive Simulations for Learning
The purpose of this study is to explore how merging narrative, role-play, and immersive, interactive technology can support learners to participate in designerly STEM practices (e.g., posing questions, designing investigations, modeling data). Set in university pre-service teacher education courses, we contrast two problem-based units incorporating immersive, interactive projection. Elementary pre-service teachers (n=9) completed a three-day unit on arithmetic and geometric sequences embedded in a narrative of defending the Earth by testing a top-secret weapon to destroy asteroids. Secondary science pre-service teachers (n=8) completed a three-day unit that included an immersive simulation of the greenhouse effect, but lacked a narrative context. This study reports qualitative analysis of video-recorded interactions, examining how students engaged and participated. In the former, the narrative context pervaded interactions, and invited participation from students who rarely participated. In the latter, the students engaged as scientists, surfacing numerous questions and investigations. Students engaged mathematically/scientifically within the immersive environment.
Vanessa Svihla, Nicholas Kvam, Matthew Dahlgren, Jeffrey Bowles, Joe Kniss

The Role of Narrative in the Design of an Educational Game
This study explored how designers perceived and used narrative during the creation of an educational video game. A qualitative, ethnographic, single case study approach was used to collect and analyze data pertaining to the narrative design trajectory of the game design team as well as Citizen Science, the game artifact they produced. Findings suggest typologies that include fourteen key types of narrative perceptions and uses that were present in this case study. These types ranged from narrative as a unifying design document, to narrative as a reward mechanism. Implications include further study into uses of an overarching narrative summary design document and designing narrative for experiences in ways that heighten suspense and surprise. This study suggests that fruitful, related research may include exploring design language as a strong indicator of narrative perception and use, as well as the leveraging of emergent narratives as a rich resource for learning and assessment.
Christopher Blakesley

From Bounded Stories to Game-Infused Systems: The Game Designers Quill and How to Use it for Impact 
Although every era is met with the introduction of powerful technologies for entertainment and learning, videogames represent a new contribution binding the two and bearing the potential to create sustained engagement in a curricular drama where the player's knowledgeable actions shape an unfolding fiction within a designed world. We have been building game-infused narratives for learning over the last decade, and found narrative to be central to this work. At its core, we evolved a theory known as transformational play. At its core, transformational play involves an experiential state in which the player is positioned as a story protagonist who must employ particular understandings to transform a problem-based fictional context and ultimately themselves. Constructing a game-based transformational play story has the potential to produce strong engagement within a bounded context in which we can control the "anatomy of choice" (Salen & Zimmerman, 2004) to ensure the consequences are pedagogically illuminative. However, central to our current theory of change is to expand this vision of impact games to think of the medium as on-going services that support multiple game-infused experiences and real-world extensions where core lessons are brought outside the fictional gaming context. These interactions, which take place around the game, act as game extensions and provide the game a larger life and impact. This meta-game experience is what games scholar James Gee referred to as "Big G," and it acts as a force multiplier on the impact potential of bounded game-play experiences. Big "G" game infrastructures are open-ended and seamlessly integrate the small "g" games into a larger, flexible "meta-game" structure and affinity space that fosters user-driven extensions and adaptations in support of real-world goals and outcomes. It is with Big "G" components that we transform isolated experiences within a game into a dynamic interaction to enable learning to be applied and extended beyond the walls of the magic circle. In this presentation, we will discuss the emerging theory, outlining the distinction between small "g" and Big "G" games and how it informs narrative storytelling through games--especially when the goal is sustained and scaled impact. 
Sasha Barab

Lee Sheldon, Discussant


Lee Sheldon

Associate Professor, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Associate Professor | | Department of Communication and Media | | Games and Simulation Arts and Sciences | | Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute | | Principal Investigator: Emergent Reality Lab | | Author: Character Development and Storytelling for Games | | Author: The Multiplayer Classroom: Designing Coursework as a Game | | | | Lee Sheldon is a professional game writer and designer, and an Associate Professor in the Games... Read More →

avatar for Sasha Barab

Sasha Barab

Tempe, Arizona, USA, Arizona State University
My work involves the seamless integration of bounded games (where players can fail safely, receive embedded assessment, and have consequentiality in the confines of a fictional world) and larger, flexible 'meta-game' structures and affinity spaces that foster user-driven extensions and adaptations in support of real-world goals ad outcomes.
avatar for Chris Blakesley

Chris Blakesley

Director, Multimedia & Interactivity, The Jack Welch Management Institute
Designer and researcher of immersive learning environments through the integration of narrative, games and mobile tools. Currently I direct multimedia and interactive initiatives for a 100% Online EMBA program.

Vanessa Svihla

Assistant Professor, University of New Mexico
Design & Learning.

Thursday June 13, 2013 2:30pm - 3:30pm
Inn Wisconsin

Attendees (26)