Will 'serious games' played on mobile technology become the education tool of the future?

Published: 24 April 2008 at 15:51

Conference looks at the potential of games for learning and teaching.

Leading experts in the rapidly moving field of serious games and their educational application will present findings from their cutting edge work at a compelling conference entitled Serious Games on the Move, an International Conference to be staged on 23 and 24 June, 2008.

To be held at Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, this is the first in a planned series of international conferences on serious games; which are games software applications that are designed to do more than entertain. The event will focus on their potential use in education and training, including games for learning and teaching using mobile, handheld and other devices.

The conference will enable researchers and developers to showcase the results of their work, which will stimulate debate on design and deployment issues.

The conference will include keynote speeches from leading experts, presentations of research papers and project work, workshops, panels, posters and demonstrations of Learning Games.

Much of the work behind the conference has been made possible by INSPIRE, Anglia Ruskin University’s centre for learning and teaching development, which is a key partner in mobile games-based learning (mGBL), a three year project that began in October 2005. The project is supported by the European Community under the Information Society Technologies (IST) Programme of the Sixth Framework. The conference is being held in association with the eleven educational and commercial organisations – from Austria, Croatia,

Italy, Slovenia and the UK – which form the mGBL project consortium.

The aim of mGBL is to design engaging mGBL learning games that can support young adults in developing skills, and facilitate decision-making in crisis situations, a priority concern of the EC.

At Anglia Ruskin University, INSPIRE’s mGBL Project Leader, Alice Mitchell said:

“Modern technologies provide us with sophisticated tools for learning and teaching – among them serious games. Research shows that games applications can effectively engage people in learning, and many new innovations and developments are taking serious games forward. These include virtual worlds; pervasive technologies, where network devices embedded in the everyday environment provide unobtrusive connectivity and services all the time; and multiplayer and mobile games.”

“With the continuing expansion of broadband wireless networks and with mobile phone operators cutting call charges, global mobile phone use is set to pass 3.25 billion in 2007 – around half the world’s population. With mobile phones growing ever more powerful in terms of scope, power, applications and usability, there is a body of research that supports the view that the mobile phone is a powerful device for supporting learning.”

“The choice is that teaching professionals must integrate the use of web-enabled mobile phones into curriculum delivery, or pass up immensely valuable opportunities for connecting with students. This is starting to happen in schools, colleges and universities.”

At the conference, Prof. Dr. Albert A. Angehrn, Director of the Centre of Advanced Learning Technologies (CALT), Fontainebleau will present a piece on Designing serious games; Dr Sara de Freitas, Director of Research, Serious Games Institute, Coventry will discuss embedding serious games and virtual worlds within learning programmes; and Ron Edwards, Managing Director, Ambient Performance Limited, London will look at tools, technologies and platforms for game-based learning, including mobile game-based learning.

For further information about the conference and to register, please go to the Serious Games on the Move website.