Fundamentals of Immersion

Jul 18

de Souza e Silva, A. & Girlie C Delacruz. “Hybrid Reality Games Reframed: Potential Uses in Educational Contexts.” Games and Culture, vol. 1, no. 3, 2006, pp. 231–251., doi:10.1177/1555412006290443.

  • new keywords: hybrid reality games, hybrid space, street sociability, Sociocultural Learning Theory, Experiential Learning
  • The accessibility and affordances of the mobile phone present opportunities for experiential learning, which requires exposure to what is being studied. Simulated exposure is not as effective as actual exposure for the purposes of education
  • The paper proposes that HRGs are uniquely engaging and fun, fostering skills by making them part of the task at subject in the game
  • Introduces pedagogical concepts that I can explore when attempting to apply immersion design concepts to educational ones
  • Case Study: Frequency 1550 (2005) a Hybrid Reality Game (HRG)
    • descendent of Multi User Domains (MUDs)
    • Three main characteristics:
      • use mobile and location-aware interfaces
      • bridge physical and digital spaces
      • transform the city space into the game board rather than be solely simulated
  • The paper posits that bridging digital and physical spaces can make learning more meaningful by anchoring information in concrete physically accesibile situations
    • In HRGs information is distributed in
      • local physical spaces
      • digital spaces
      • players’ prior knowledge
  • Sociocultural Learning Theory is the framework
  • Research questions:
    • what are the affordances of HRGs for potential uses in educational contexts?
    • why are learning tecnnologies shifting from fixed interfaces to mobile ones?
    • How can HRGs benefit discovery and learning differently from traditional video games and Multiuser Virtual Environments (MUVEs)
  • HRGs have 3 main design elements:
    • mobile and location=based activities
    • multiuser games; social activities
    • expand the game environment outside traditional game space into physical space
  • 3 learning principles: social, experimental, and situated learning via a new relationship to space
  • experiential learning occurs because all game players participate actively
  • sitauted learning is made possible by mobility of users and location-aware interfaces emphasizing the notion that learning occurs as a function of its context
  • The central mechanic of the MMORPG is social storytelling/collaborative fiction
    • MUDs are narrative spaces
    • HRGs are RPGs brought into real space; players need to be moving around to play
    • most of the story takes place in the players’ minds
  • Street Sociability: “the particular public form of sociality, of being at once both interested and yet indifferent and anonymous”
    • “It is a question of a similar anticipatory expectation as in games of chance: something might happen”
  • mobile phone is a culturally-dependent technology;
  • the general belief is that mobile phones will be the technology that helps bridge the digital divide in developing countries
  • Cell phone as a gaming platform is best utilized when informed by the affordances of the cell phone
  • “the most popular [mobile] games will most likely be based on game play rather than on graphics. They will also incorporate the true nature of the mobile phones: communication and location”
  • HRGs can be distinguished from others in educational settings: they take advantage of the user’s mobility in the digital world instead of placing them in a simulated environment
  • Because experiential learning emphasizes that learning involves a direct encounter with the phenomenon being studied, the paper suggests that HRGs take advantage of this emphasis by situating the game in the physical space (such as setting a game on the site where historical buildings stood)
  • HRGs inhabit both physical and digital worlds, and neither is privileged over another

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