Fostering Creativity Through Gamification in Education

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Participants with the organizers at the Gamification Seminar 2019

KOTA SAMARAHAN, 10th December 2019 (SNN): Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS) hosted the second Gamification in Learning Seminar on the 5th of December 2019 at MyCapsule Space, the first Gamification Lab in Malaysia. The seminar presents research findings and outcomes from a two-year international collaboration between UNIMAS (CreativeCulture) and Coventry University, UK. The research project was funded by Newton-Ungku Omar Research grant, where work on gamification in learning has been actively explored for the past two years. The seminar is organised by the Institute of Social Informatics and Technology Innovation, UNIMAS and supported by IEEE Sarawak Chapter.

Inspired by the concept of frugal innovation, this year’s theme “Playful Frugal Innovation” signifies the continuous quest to address the resonating need for ideas in teaching with minimal cost. Teachers and educator are encouraged to be creative and seek for creativity in using available resources to optimize learning. Thus, this year’s seminar celebrates the co-creation of ideas which are constructed through limited means and materials.

According to Dr Jacey Lynn Minoi, the chair of the event, this year’s seminar taps into playful inspirations of existing traditional games played by various cultures in Sarawak and all around the globe. In one of its sessions, participants learn how traditional games can be used to teach Science and Mathematics for Primary school students. This is part of the goals to increase students’ interests in STEM subjects. Invited speakers at the Gamification Seminar are experienced educators from schools and the university including 21st Century Learning Teacher Icons, Muhammad Nazmi Rosli from SK Long Sukang, Lawas and Nazira Roslee from SK Putrajaya Presint 9(1). In focus are the strategies they have used to integrate gamification, using minimal materials and traditional game inspirations.

Participants are playing traditional games.
Chuah Kee Man, one of the speakers at Gamification Seminar

Muhammad Nazmi Bin Rosli is a practitioner who is currently teaching at SK Long Sukang Lawas. His passion is to help Pedalaman pupils to receive the same quality of education as urban pupils. Founding “Little Lessons by Little Chuckee”, he uses gamification as one of the approaches to teach in his classroom despite the lack of facilities, internet and teaching tools in the school. He discussed opportunities and challenges he faced in introducing gamification in the Pedalaman and how he has created solutions to tackle it effectively.

Nazira Roslee is a primary school teacher in Putrajaya and teaches English and ICT. She frequently experiments on teaching methods to increase learners’ use of the English Language by providing a learning experience that allows learners to engage with their peers and the materials provided. To further increase the use of the language outside the classroom, “There Has Been A Murder” game was created using the Old Maid card game for a new WhoDunnit storytelling experience. The game was conceived through a mutual appreciation of detective stories by Nazira and her students.

University educators also presented at the one-day seminar. Chuah Kee Man, an avid gamer in his personal time, shared how he utilizes Gamification to teach in Chuah Kee Man, a lecturer at the Faculty of Language and Communication, has been toying with gamification since his early venture into academia. As an avid gamer, he has always been amazed by how game mechanics and gameplay can stimulate behavioural and cognitive changes in humans. His passion in gamification is apparent not only in teaching and learning but also in research in which several of his innovations have won awards locally and internationally. His recent award is a Gold medal at Malaysia Technology Expo 2019 for his gamified literacy app for dyslexic children. He strongly believes that activating the right element that drives learners to learn is key for gamification to work its wonder.

Mohamad Azhari Bin Abu Bakar is a psychology lecturer, at the Faculty of Cognitive Sciences and Human Development. He has a high interest in applying gamification as one of his teaching approaches to scaffold students’ learning engagement. The trigger for him to get involved in gamification was when he began to use of the PLAY (Pick, Look, Activate, Yield) cards created by the CreativeCulture team as a guide to preparing for gamification lesson plans. He believes the execution of gamification requires creativity and motivation, and essentially with minimal costs. What makes him continue exploring gamification practice is due to his students’ positive feedback and eagerness to play while learning complex Psychology concepts and theories.

Jane Huo Lee Ling is a primary school teacher in a semi-rural school in Samarahan District. Her curiosity in understanding how her students are learning in her classroom made her enrol into UNIMAS’ Master of Learning Sciences. She obtained insight into how learning happens and how an educator can facilitate the process. She constantly tries to keep her classes interesting and lively by introducing different approaches in the classroom. Gamifying lessons by integrating student’s intrinsic motivation to play with educational goals is an example of her approach.

Memories with UNIMAS staff.
 
Some participants from UNIMAS lecturers

To present the directions aspired by the Ministry and State Education Department, Mr Raymond Maurice Stephan Bujang spoke about how important Gamification is to the current drive for STEM in Sarawak. Raymond is currently the Assistant Director of Science in Science and Mathematics Unit in Sector of Learning, Sarawak State Education Department. He is the state coordinator for STEM Education in Sarawak.

At the seminar, participants were also given first-hand experience to gamify learning in Co-creation workshop, conducted by the CreativeCulture team. In the workshop, participants were guided on playful solutions to address serious challenges, themes and topics.

The seminar closed with a presentation of initiatives by the CreativeCulture research team. SKJC Chung Hua No5 students who were involved in a Gamification project on Climate Change with the research team presented their innovative games. The participants were also able to try locally produced games called Reefstakes and Old Kuching Town.

MyCapsule Space, where the event was held, has seen more than 50 workshops held in the space since it first opened last December. The Gamification Seminar received overwhelming positive responses from teachers and educators across Sarawak.  Feedback from participants generally showed how they were able to obtain inspirations and ideas in applying gamification in their teaching and learning activities. The seminar is a platform for dialogues on contemporary education, and more educators, especially in Sarawak, would be able to appreciate creative means in delivering their lessons by using existing resources in their schools. 

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