Tuesday, December 11, 2007

More On Values@Play: Embodying Values in Serious Games Design

Serious Games bringing values into the process of design

Via: Values At Play - Embodying Values in Technology: Theory and Practice

Following my prior post Values@Play: Designing Social Values in Serious Games, I came across some great material associated with VAP research and resources, available at http://valuesatplay.org/research-resources as downloadable documents.

Embodying Values in Technology: Theory and Practice by Mary Flanagan - Hunter College, Daniel Howe and Helen Nissenbaum -New York University, addresses the practical challenges faced by design and engineering projects to incorporate contextual knowledge about values.

According to the document, one reason the study of human and social dimensions of technology is so demanding is that the areas of knowledge and the methodologies it straddles are traditionally both far-flung and self-contained.

This separation is reflected in the disciplinary organization of almost all universities where the study of technology itself, through the basic sciences and engineering, is typically segregated from the study of social science and humanities.

When undertaking the practical task of developing technologies with attention to values, however, designers must engage simultaneously with these distinct areas of knowledge and their respective methodologies. For this task, their intellectual distinctiveness and historical separation is problematic.

The paper also offers a methodological framework for systematically bringing values into the process of design (Part Two).

The authors illustrate key elements of the methodology by applying it to RAPUNSEL, a multiplayer game environment to promote interest and competence in computer programming among middle-school aged girls, including girls from disadvantaged home environments.

This, three-year research project includes a variety of interlinked components: engineering, pedagogy, interface, graphics, networking and more.

In addition, the research team includes graduate and undergraduate students in computer science, media studies and other fields who contribute both in design and implementation areas.

In Rapunsel's Manifesto, the authors embrace the responsibility of designing systems which strengthen each child's role in an ever-growing digital environment.

How do the key ingredients of social interaction and computer code combine to create a successful programming learning environment?
The RAPUNSEL project team is researching and building a software environment called "PEEPS" to teach programming concepts to kids. Someday, it will be a multiuser game. For now, they are tackling small interactive modules.