NIE Designs First Commercialised Student Game
Tuesday, 31 January 2012
Social Studies curriculum for secondary level students in Singapore may be a gaming affair in the future with a new game-mediated learning programme conceptualised and designed by a team of 11 academics and staff from the Learning Sciences Lab (LSL) of the National Institute of Education (NIE) Singapore.
Titled as Statecraft X™, the commercialisation of the game was finalised in November 2011. Design and development of the game, together with associated curricular materials, was carried out by a team from NIE comprising educational researchers, game designers, game programmers, and graphic artists. This work was funded by the National Research Foundation, through the Ministry of Education Singapore. A contract was signed between NIE and Immersive Play Pte Ltd (Immersive Play) for the commercialisation of the game. Statecraft X™ is a multiplayer 24/7 server-based game that can be played on Apple™ iPhones® as well as on Web browsers, accessed via desktop, laptop, and tablet computers. Initial trials conducted by NIE over a period of 15 months have already yielded positive results from 15 year-old students.
Statecraft X™ Learning
Designed for youths to construct meaning and identities in the context of citizenship education, Statecraft X™ game play helps students to understand and put into practice concepts related to citizenship, governance, and leadership. Through game play, students are engaged in providing for the basic needs of the citizens (e.g. housing, jobs, healthcare), maintaining multi-racial harmony, fostering trade and economic well-being, establishing an effective defence force, engaging in international diplomacy, and responding to an invasion of the country. Students play the role of governors of towns in the medieval fantasy game world of Velar. They have to govern and lead the citizens of their towns, comprising dwarfs, elves, humans and trolls as they attempt to assume leadership of other towns, with the ultimate aim of assuming leadership of the kingdom's capital city, Topezios, and thus of the kingdom itself. From managing a town’s economy to building up defences against aggressors, from forging diplomatic ties to gaining the trust of the town citizens that a player governs, Statecraft X™ creates a comprehensive and exciting social studies experience in and out of the classroom. Game sessions typically run over a period of three weeks with up to 20 players in any single session. Players are organized into factions, and faction scores are calculated according to two factors: the average happiness of all people in those towns, and the amount of gold that a faction possesses at the end of the game. These scores are announced at the end of every day on the game’s web portal.
Professor Lee Wing On, NIE Dean of Education Research, says, “We are honoured that this pioneering effort from one of our 5 main research clusters has received favourable response from the community and stakeholders. We hope that this will help to illustrate our on-going research endeavours that are aimed at bringing richer classroom experiences. With Statecraft X™, we hope to also demonstrate how we approach learning with a holistic view of not only utilising the available technological advancements to promote learning but also reinforce meaningful values that build character through varying situation awareness.”
The project’s Principal Investigator, Associate Professor Chee Yam San, added, “Our research shows that students who learned citizenship and governance with the Statecraft X™ curriculum performed better than those who learned based on traditional classroom teaching, when assessed using an essay evaluated on the basis of the criteria relevance of content, adoption of multiple perspectives, and investment of personal voice. Interview data also show that students demonstrate greater understanding of and empathy for government policies. Female students enjoyed taking care of their towns’ virtual citizens and empathized strongly with the challenges that the citizens faced. Male students enjoyed the element of competition in game play and the strategic thinking required to capture the capital city.”
Mr Samuel Lee, Managing Director, Immersive Play Pte Ltd, said: “We are pleased to be involved in bringing a powerful first-hand experience to students on a wide range of topics through Statecraft X™. We hope that the game-mediated learning format will enable students to experience everyday lessons in a way that traditional classroom learning is not able to provide.”
ABOUT IMMERSIVE PLAY PTE LTD
Immersive Play is a Singapore based company with a reputation for creative design, educational games and interactive media development across the entire media platform.
Established in 2008, Immersive Play has offices and an Animation Studio in the Philippines, producing TV and Feature animation content, and a Singapore based subsidiary developing casual and mobile games for consumers and businesses.
Besides partnering with Institutions like NIE to bring innovative educational games, content and software to homes and classrooms, Immersive Play also creates her own educational media products comprising animated TV Series and Interactive Games for the Web and Mobile Platform under the Immersive Learning System brand.
For more information, please visit www.immersiveplay.sg
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