Showing posts with label social change. Show all posts
Showing posts with label social change. Show all posts

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Arm Chair Activism: Serious Games usage by INGOs for Educational Change

A new paper (PDF) that I co-authored with Sorina Itu on the analysis of serious games usage by INGOs as a means to foster virtual activism has just been published in the International Journal of Game-Based Learning. Sorina Itu deserves significant credit for this as she embarked on gathering data on which this paper is based on.

Basically, this is about the battle between educators and entertainers specifically when it comes to gaming. This paper argues that the edutainment battleground has expanded to include actors outside formal schooling agencies, namely International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs). These actors employ digital games with the aim to educate and activate towards specific social causes. These serious games are viewed to have tremendous potential for behavioral change through their interactive and persuasive aspects. This paper examines serious games deployed by certain prominent INGOs and analyzes the educative aspects of such new media platforms. What is revealed at the design, audience, and content level compel us to examine what constitutes as education through serious games. Here, education is seen as social marketing employing sensationalism, morality, and emotional capital to stimulate activism. Such games sustain the converted rather than create new understandings of complex social issues.

Hope you get a chance to check our paper out...should be an interesting read for educators, designers and activists who would like to capitalize on gaming platforms to instigate social change. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

IDEAPLAY: New Media, Society & Change

Recently I was invited by the Department of Education at Michigan State University to give a public lecture and some interviews on how people learn to leisure and labor with new technologies in rural India. They did a wonderful job in capturing the interview through their multimedia portal IDEAPLAY, an excellent way to disseminate and share conversations that take place at this department. Below are the links for the interview:

IDEAPLAY: Payal Arora on New Media, Society and Change 

Learning to leisure and labor with new technologies in rural India

There is an intricate relationship between leisure, labor and learning. Much is revealed from eight-months of ethnographic fieldwork on computer-mediated social learning in rural India.  The role of educational institutions against informal learning spaces such as cybercafés in fostering digital engagements is explored. Issues of global knowledge constructions, plagiarism, and collaborative/peer based learning with computers is analyzed in this unique emerging market context.  The researcher gained employment at popular cybercafés to capture the spectrum of youth learning with new media spaces. It is found that leisure occupies a central position in the embracing of new media technologies and much labor goes into such playful and creative processes. Through Orkut, music downloads, instant messaging and dating, these cybercafés transform into recreational hubs while incidental learning occurs. New media spaces it is seen allow for new exposures and opportunities for learning; yet, what constitutes as ‘good’ learning is subjective to the nature of mediations, both social and technical. Collaborative and informal learning are liberated from formal curriculum and yet, such freedoms bring with it deep and persistent (mis)education. New kinds of expertise are created online that compels us to re-examine the role of the teacher as authority in knowledge construction. World knowledge is locally designed and is often not shared, creating cosmopolitanisms in global education. In essence, it is found that learning through digital spheres is indeed creative but not necessarily ‘correct’ by formal education standards nor compatible with global understandings.  Thereby, through a series of specific digital explorations and encounters by the youth, we learn that interaction does not necessarily equate to understanding, learning with new technologies can be peripheral and fleeting and that which gets learnt can diverge far from what is expected to be learnt.