APPLIED DIGITAL GAME-BASED LEARNING OF ECONOMICS IN HUMANITIES
Sør-Trøndelag University College (HiST) (NORWAY)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2015 Proceedings
Publication year: 2015
Conference name: 8th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 18-20 November, 2015
Location: Seville, Spain
Abstract:This article reports on experiences gained in a year-long project at Sør-Trøndelag University College, Trondheim, Norway (HiST). The project was a continuation of an earlier three week pilot project from 2014 [Talmo and Einum, 2014]. The aim of the project was to further explore the effects of implementing applied digital game-based learning in Social Sciences and English Second Language (EFL) training with a focus on democracy, ideology, economy and politics. A further aim was to situate this in a digital learning environment at HiST, using digital SMART Boards, and observe the learning process and outcomes.
The game employed, Democracy 3 (http://www.positech.co.uk/democracy3/) is a political simulator in which the player, upon assuming the highest political office in his country of choice, has to administer economy, infrastructure, education and the day-to-day political administration of his country. While doing so, he will have to monitor the electorate and his own cabinet in order to ensure successful implementation of his policies and reelection.
This complexity mirrors actual political realities and this makes the game an apt tool for education. In contrast to the previous project, and in response to the experiences made in that project, an emphasis was placed on the economical aspect. In the one subject, Social Sciences, economy is a central component, and with Norway scoring lowest of the Nordic countries in economic literacy in PISA, this is an in need of pedagogical attention. In the other subject, EFL, reading, speaking and conversation skills are as fundamental as a contextual and cultural understanding of the countries in which the language is used, and so a focus on communication was applied from one subject, while one on content was applied from the other. In addition, experiences show that the application of game-based learning also fosters innovative learning and a motivating, concrete approach to abstract concepts.
The group consisted of approximately 100 students in two test classes and 40 in a control class, all on the preparatory course for engineering studies at HiST. The test classes used Democracy 3 while the control group had a similar project, but without the using the game. The learning outcome were measured with a report and a segment in the final exam. This article will present these results in terms of economic literacy as well as the pedagogical and methodological conclusions drawn upon completion of the project, with special attention on the intersection between the application of digital game content, method and subject goals.
Keywords: Game-based learning, digital learning labs, cross-curricular training, collaborative learning, economics.