Harnessing the power of play
Can games-based learning
‘players’ save the world?
Jane McGonigal thinks they can …
Jane McGonigal, who directs game R&D at the Institute for the Future, a US nonprofit forecasting firm where she developed Superstruct, a massively multiplayer on-line roleplaying game (MORPG) in which players organise society to solve the issues that will confront the world in 2019, asks why the real world doesn’t work more like an online game.
In a recent TED presentation, above, the games designer and futurist says her goal for the next decade is to make it as easy to save the world in real life as it is to save the world in on-line games.
Based on her research over a decade, she says she plans, over the next decade, to convince more people to play bigger and better on-line games.
Noting that currently people spend an estimated three billion hours a week on on-line games, she says, her research has shown, counter-intuitively, that this is not nearly enough to save the world from its real life problems.
In fact she believes if the human race wants to survive into the next century on this planet “we need to increase the total time spent on-line gaming to 21 billion hours game playing every week “by the within 10 years.
It’s worthwhile spending the 20 minutes it takes to watch to TED video to find out why she believes this, and why her argument is eminently reasonable and probably something we disregard at our peril.
In the best-designed games, she says, “our human experience is optimised” and, when “reality is broken, games designers can fix it.”
“We have important work to do, we’re surrounded by potential collaborators, and we learn quickly and in a low-risk environment,” McGonigal says, believing that the world’s gamers are an important resource for changing the world we live in for the better.
In her work as a game designer, she creates games that use mobile and digital technologies to turn everyday spaces into playing fields, and everyday people into teammates. She believes her game-world insights can explain — and improve — the way human beings learn, work, solve problems, and lead their real lives.
McGonigal masterminded World Without Oil, which simulated the beginning of a global oil crisis and inspired players to change their daily energy habits.
She says, “Instead of providing gamers with better and more immersive alternatives to reality, I want all of us to be become responsible for providing the world with a better and more immersive reality.”
The link to her presentation was provide to me by Owen McCall, of the New Zealand Life Games Project. Another supporter of that project, John Eyles, research and alliances leader at Telecom New Zealand, director at Eyles and Associates Ltd and chair at EON Foundation, provided another worthwhile link from a game-based learning conference he attended recently in the UK
The link, which should prove a valuable resource for all those involved in games-based learning, Engage Learning, is an EU-sponsored initiative which among other things, provides information about general rating of games and quality criteria for evaluation of games as learning resources.
Filed under: Education, Education in virtual worlds, Life Game Project, Sl Conferences, Video Gaming, Virtual Worlds Tagged: | Engage Learning, EON Foundation, EU, Institute for the Future, Jane McGonigal, John Eyles, Life Games Project, McDonald's, MMORPGs, Owen McCall, Superstruct, TED, Telecom, viedo gaming, virtual reality, VLENZ, World Without Oil