ERC project Charting the Digital has just been awarded a €150,000 proof-of-concept (PoC) grant for making a location based game for teaching and instructing students on the intricacies of field-work, in an engaging an playful manner. The project is based in Warwick University, UK and Utrecht. The development will be carried out starting February 2016, with GAP-members (faculty and students) participating in the design, play-testing and subsequent trial deployment as part of the ongoing Go-Go-Gozo project.
For this Proof of Concept we (the Charting the Digital research team) will develop a prototype of a location-based game that can be used for teaching fieldwork in a Higher Education (HE) setting. The rationale behind it is that location-based games are promising educational tools. The game will be designed to facilitate, enhance and structure fieldwork for university courses in the areas of geography, development studies, architecture, history, archaeology and anthropology. The game we intend to prototype will offer an innovative cost-effective package for HE institutions to organize informal learning and team-building experiences. The societal benefits are related to creating an innovative teaching platform for informal learning, thus helping to develop new kinds of teaching for HE that are beneficial to our knowledge society. Such new teaching methods can stimulate a different cultural and social engagement with environments, one that brings learners much closer to lived experiences and contemporary issues on a local scale. Importantly, this approach also sees action and intervention as key elements of reflexive and sensitive fieldwork practice, challenging the existing division between academic student projects undertaken for grades, and their more complex real-world subject matter.
As a result, the approach developed in this Proof of Concept seeks to change set paradigms in higher education, offering young adults more creative, relevant and useful means and methods to gain knowledge about and engage with environments and people.