4 examples of pedagogical strategies for using games in the classroom... and the metaverse

A look back at Maude Bonenfant's conference during ADF Week. She presented different ways of thinking about play in an educational context. She couldn't help but talk about metavers.

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As part of the Distance learning weekMaude Bonenfant, a professor in the Department of Social and Public Communication at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and a doctorate in semiotics, presented different ways of thinking about games in a distance education context. She couldn't help but talk about the metaverse, which is becoming increasingly important in this universe.

There are many definitions of play, depending on the academic or other contexts in which it is used. Maude Bonenfant states that play "is a set of rules that are put in place to create a space of freedom. It is this whole idea of balance between rules and freedom in play that Bonenfant says makes for successful play. Moreover, thinking about play is essential, and even more so through the theory of self-determination. The elements of this theory are very similar to the needs sought by players when they play, namely, the need to autonomythe need for competence and the need for social link.

Gambling studies are relatively new and date back to the 2000s when they were more commonly referred to as game studies. In order to understand how games are distinguished and how they are used in everyday life, Maude Bonenfant was inspired by the typology made by Margarida Romero. Indeed, the scholar made a typology according to four pedagogical strategies of the use of digital games in the classroom (2016). Maude Bonenfant provides examples of games for each.

  1. The pedagogical use of digital (non-designed) games for learning

Minecraft where it is possible to do construction activities, spatialization, mathematics, physics, etc.;
Civilization on history but where it is also possible to do activities around the themes of the environment, ecology, sustainable development;
Assassin's Creed - Discovery Tour containing a complete module on ancient Egypt, ideal for learning about this historical period or simply discovering it.

  1. The pedagogical use of serious educational games designed for learning
  1. Learning through the creation of digital games
  1. Educational gamification

Gamification refers to the use of game strategies and mechanics in non-game contexts. 

Let's take the example, outside the school world, of Foursquare which is a platform where users can locate businesses to socialize and consume. This listing platform has created a whole gamification of travel through cities and places to consume. Foursquare has pioneered gamification by using reward systems, such as badges and bonus points to encourage users to consume more. 

In the school world, we can think of Classcraft (developed in Quebec) which offers a gamification of the class management through three major strategies which are the note converter, quests and boss battles.

On the subject of gamification, here are two École branchée files to read or re-read:

In addition :

  • A file from the Student Success Information Network (SSIN) on learning through play.

The first metavers

Metavers are the topic of the moment. While they are considered a revolution in the world of digital gaming, metavers had their first life in the late 1990s. Multiplayer games like Neverwinter Nights, Ultima Online and EverQuest were the pioneers in what is now called the metaverse. These are game worlds where people meet and create a social link. We find processes of identification, identity construction, belonging, socialization and recognition. These games seem to have contributed to the emergence of complete and complex universes that become what we call metavers today.

The older ones will also remember Second lifewhich was literally considered a second place to live for players. It was a commercial world where people bought and sold goods for cash. The biggest luxury brands like Louis Vuitton paid a lot of money to have their signs appear in the game. There is even a political life in Second Life, as parties have been formed and demonstrations have even taken place. 

Metavers are mainly based on virtual reality, but also on relatively new technologies such as holograms, virtual glasses and even on vests allowing to create real sensations.

The race for the metaverse 

Tech giants such as Google, Microsoft and Facebook see the metaverse as an opportunity to mobilize more people (more specifically, video game enthusiasts) in a virtual world they have created where all possible activities are present. Activities such as financial speculation, buying virtual property and land lots are already possible in some metavers. The world of education is gaining interest in this.

To review the conference offered by Maude Bonenfant, click here: 

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About the Author

Fatimazzahra Benchekri
Fatimazzahra is a master's student in educational technology at Laval University. Passionate about reading and writing, she has decided to devote her time to writing in a field in which she feels she is growing, education. With a background in journalism and political science, Fatimazzahra sees education as an ever-changing field where anyone is welcome to share their ideas and motivations.

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