Archive for June, 2013

New publication: Beyond gamification: reconceptualizing game-based learning in early childhood environments

June 28th, 2013

EDGE lab is proud to announce a new publication from lab director Jason Nolan and graduate RA Melanie McBride. Their paper, ‘Beyond gamification: reconceptualizing game-based learning in early childhood environments,’ presents a new theoretical framework for conceptualizing Digital Game-Based Learning (DGBL) that emphasizes the role of autonomy, affinity, play and space as critically overlooked dimensions of children’s informal and out of school learning and play with games. As well, they seek to help educators distinguish some of the differences between game-based learning and other game-associated trends such as gamification and so-called ‘serious games.’

With much of the current conceptualization of DGBL reflecting the increasingly standardized and ‘data-driven’ priorities of K-12 and Post-Secondary education, Nolan and McBride ask whose identities, priorities and cultures are advanced or ignored when schools attempt to appropriate and relocate games in contexts far removed from those in which they are typically enjoyed. Finally, the paper interrogates why, if play and engagement are really at the heart of learning with games, we aren’t we starting with a model of learning that definitively play-based — that of the early years? From the abstract:

The recent promotion and adoption of digital game-based learning (DGBL) in K-12 education presents compelling opportunities as well as challenges for early childhood educators who seek to critically, equitably and holistically support the learning and play of today’s so-called digital natives. However, with most DGBL initiatives focused on the increasingly standardized ‘accountability’ models found in K-12 educational institutions, the authors ask whose priorities, identities and notions of play this model reinforces or neglects. Drawing on the literatures of early childhood studies, game-based learning, and game studies, they seek to illuminate the informal contexts of play within the ‘hidden’ and ‘null’ curricula of DGBL that do not fit within the efficiency models of mainstream education in North America. In the absence of a common critical or theoretical foundation for DGBL, they propose a conceptual framework that challenges what they regard to be the institutionally nullified dimensions of autonomy, play, affinity and space that are essential to DGBL. They contend that these dimensions are ideally situated within the inclusive and play-based curriculum early childhood learning environments, and that the early years constitute a critically significant, yet overlooked, location for more holistic and inclusive thinking on DGBL.

 

EDGE intern Amy Fong creates an “Adaptive Dollhouse”

June 26th, 2013

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Amy Fong is a previous internship student who completed her fourth year placement at the EDGE Lab. She is currently finishing her last year in the Early Childhood Studies Program and has returned as a regular volunteer.

For her fourth year internship project, she created an “Adaptive Dollhouse” that included adaptive design pieces created at the EDGE Lab. She recreated and integrated many of these unique furniture pieces into her dollhouse in hopes to bring forth awareness of what adaptive design is, and what their functions are.

The special furniture pieces in the “Adaptive Dollhouse” can be seen and used as a learning tool to inform children about adaptive design.

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New Ryerson Summer Research Opportunities Program Intern

June 4th, 2013

LyubaThe EDGE Lab welcomes our new undergraduate research assistant Lyubka Totina. Lyubka is a 3rd year student in Ryerson’s Ted Rogers School of Management – Business Technology Management and will be working under the direction of Sherene Ng and Rubina Quadri on the Wearable Shoe Sensor commercialization project. Funding for the assistantship comes thanks to the Ryerson Summer Research Opportunities Program, and the Wearable Shoe Sensor project is funded by a grant from FedDev Ontario.