Alternative framings for a new role of gaming in education and society: eConfidence at Gaming Horizons



"Video games are an area of enormous economic, cultural and educational significance. Yet the development and the use of games across society raises a number of ethical questions which are rarely explored systematically: issues about appropriate representation, questionable mechanics, excessive usage, and so forth." (Gaming Horizons)

Gaming Horizons is a EU-funded research project that aims at the Future Classroom Lab Brussels, on 19 July 2017 to discuss the assumptions and challenges associated with the development and use of games for social and educational goals. The Future Classroom Lab is a flexible and multipurpose space developed by European Schoolnet to showcase innovative approaches in education.

The event was called "unconference" to emphasise the participant-driven elements. During the course of the day developers, young people, researchers and policy makers will be involved in a range of facilitated discussions, defining priorities and exploring concerns associated with the design and the use of game in society.

After an ice-breaking activity in the morning, fostering dialogue between attendees, eConfidence representatives had the opportunity to showcase the project in a positive setting of gaming experts. The audience was interested in finding out about the eConfidence games, research methodology, pilot tests and the overall inclusion of serious games in the education curricula. Thought-provoking discussions followed with examples given from the UK but also other parts of Europe where games and technology are part of the school programme.

Gaming Horizons continued the presentations setting, informing about ‘areas of tension' emerging from the project so far (tackling diversity in games development and content), ethics and Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), and highlights from the game development community and inspirational games that defy expectations.

Sharing experiences and best practices on Horizon 2020 was also part of the morning discussion, highlighting the opportunities this EU funding provides for research and innovation supporting also social inclusivity.

Fostering discussions on gaming and gamification, the afternoon session The future of gaming and gamification: laying the groundwork focused on brainstorming sessions transposed into gaming scenarios. Participants had to imagine and put in practice a gaming scenario highlighting the diversity in game development and content.

Additional discussions reflected upon the serious games and applied games particularly using unusual mechanics, to which Mata Haggis (Gaming Horizons) interestingly noted "We reflect ourselves in the game we make". Participants agreed that games should not always be associated with a sedentary activity, as there are various games used also for rehabilitation (for instance) and that academic education can benefit in multiple ways from gaming (as currently analysed by Gaming Horizons partners).  

Check out the event's activity on Twitter with their hashtag #GHB17, see what eConfidence had to tweet about it and see some Twitter moments

Editor: Fiorella Belciu