The RAGEecosystem – A European Serious/Applied Games project.

Sarah Humphries (Dean of the Hull School of Art & Design), Anna Kirk-Smith (Programme Leader for Fine Art) and Gareth Sleightholme (Lecturer in Games) are currently involved in an EU funded project looking at (Serious/) Applied Games and their application with regards to allowing further access to employment for citizens across the EU and part of the Horizon 2020 initiative.

3-2016-02-04-RAGE Publicity Photo - Edit

(above) RAGErs in MAdrid, 2015

So, firstly… What is the RAGE Ecosystem?

RAGE (Realising an Applied Gaming Eco-system) is a project that aims to deliver a collection of self-contained “gaming assets” (in this instance, read discreet, individual, coded elements/software solutions) that support game studios, developers and researchers at developing applied games easier, faster and more cost-effectively, thus making them better suited for their purpose. RAGE will make these gaming assets available along with a large volume of high quality knowledge resources (discussions, papers, metadata etc) through the RAGE Eco-system, a social space that aims to be the single entry point for Applied Gaming discussion and development.

Alongside these discreet technology assets developed by the RAGE project, it will also realise a centralised access to a wide range of Applied Gaming software modules, services and resources (or their metadata) that have been designed and developed in regional and EU funded projects. The RAGE Ecosystem will:

  • Provide centralised access to a wide range of dispersed Applied Gaming assets
  • Share strong expertise in key technology value chains
  • Provide a social dimension supported by community tools for collaboration, annotation,

And with regard to creativity & professional/industrial/creative matchmaking…

  • Support gaming developers in moving quicker from research excellence to the market
  • Organise workshops and offer training courses for developers and educators
  • Support industrial road-mapping with new mechanisms to encourage disruptive innovation
  • Cover cross-cutting aspects such as international cooperation
  • Make available a set of asset creation aids that will allow developers and educators to create their own assets.

Currently the research staff from the Hull School of Art & Design are working with Applied Games developers from Cambridge and Germany to develop two games using the conceptual model of the ecosystem currently in development.

1 – The “Water Cooler” Game.

The “Water Cooler” Game aims to evaluate and enhance industry relevant group-working skills in a range of students (particularly those who have a digital focus to their studies) through the use of self-appraisal and situational appraisal, applied in a virtual group-working scenario that tests the students conflict management skills, attitudes towards equality and diversity in the workplace and team working skills.

Designed as an ongoing/”endless” scenario, the game can be used as part of semester or year long modules that use traditional practical group working as a major part of the studio activity being used alongside any practical sessions, whilst in the support of shorter courses, the game will be used in and of itself.

Both scenarios would result in a series of short or extended gameplay sessions (as appropriate) followed by discussion with the tutor/lecturer looking at data collected by the game showing the players given responses to game based stimuli.

This combination of gameplay based feedback, and tutor feedback would form the basis of an ongoing plan for the player/student when moving into any future “live” group working scenarios.

2 – The Entrepreneurs Game.

This Entrepreneurs Game aims to develop creative industry focused entrepreneurial skills in students who are about to embark on creative careers following graduation. The game aims to support longer professional practice modules within arts faculty programmes, as well as more focused retraining for employment programs.

Using live, causal feedback interfaces the game will help the player explore and identify those key skills and knowledge areas required to develop a comprehensive business plan appropriate to a particular creative market sector model or start-up enterprise whether as a sole trader or a creative service provider, or even a “bricks and mortar” enterprise such as a creative product store or a gallery.

The game will allow the player/student to experiment with effective balance and prioritisation within a “safe” sandbox environment whilst understanding the value of The Creation of a Business Plan; Knowing your Industry Networks, Funding a Start-up, Cashflow and Financial Planning, Branding & Marketing Strategies, Audience etc. With a combination of gameplay and tutor feedback the game will form the basis of the development of an ongoing action plan when moving into “live” entrepreneurial practice or business planning phases.

To date the members from a range of Universities and Companies across Europe have met at a number of RAGE conferences to debate and push the project and the highly individual “User Case” scenarios forward in order to fully test the premise of the RAGEecosystem, these conferences have taken place in Heerlen in the Netherlands at the OUNL; Lisbon at the The Escola de Polícia Judiciária-EPJ, London at the Applied Gaming Conference (Gaminomics 2015); Toledo; Paris; and most recently (see top of post) in Spain at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM); with the next RAGE Conference expected in September in Manchester hosted by Bolton University.

Researchers and developers continue to work outside the conference scenarios via Skype and face-to-face meetings (with Cambridge developers Gameware visiting HSAD and staff in December last year).

The focus of these conferences for our research staff have not only taken their inception from the studio practice of the staff and students of the Games Design BA and Fine Art and other specialisms, but are now positively feeding back into the teaching and learning processes and discussions therein.

Papers are expected to be submitted as the project draws closer to its completion in 2020.

(below) RAGErs in Heerlen, The Netherlands, at the first RAGE conference.

RAGE team at Kick Meeting in Heerlen

 

 

Train return Harrogate to Falmouth= 16 hours + Pedare conference 8 hours = 24

FalmouthUnilogo (1)

Wise Men A fact: You will always feel like your work isn’t good enough. As a salve, or simply as a way to stay sane, be in the world. Ride the train. Listen to strangers. Occasionally, if you’re brave, speak to them. Walk in the city you live. Pay attention. Don’t bother with taking notes, or buying fancy notepads. Try to remember as much as you can. Have just enough confidence in yourself to not be an asshole. Then, get up and go to work and try again.” taken from…Stuart Nadler http://www.timeout.com/newyork/things-to-do/fifteen-successful-authors-share-their-best-writing-tips 

After, I guess, what must be 17 years…I returned to Falmouth! having studied illustration at the Woodlane campus in 1994, the place of course looked different, the sleepy Cornish town as I remember it, is now set within a contemporary facade of cool bars and restaurants….hip!! and so back to the reason for travelling North to the South, spending 16 hours on an aching bottom to the point of being almost delirious-was to attend the Pedare (pronounced Pe-da-re) conference held at The Exchange, Penmere. 

To provide some background information… ‘Pedare’ is the Centre for Pedagogic Arts-Based Research. It’s community is made up of educators, academics, scholars, researcher and practitioners, their focus is to generate leading research in e-learning, pure pedagogic research, performance based pedagogy and visual thinking within the arts curriculum- ‘We explore the creative curriculum generating leading edge teaching and learning methods, practices and insights that contribute to and inform education practices and policy’…Perdare 2013

 

Workshop 1 Visual Thinking led by Rob Bloxham from ‘ORB’ creative agency http://www.thisisorb.com/

The first part of this session was to get into partners, one to tell the story, the other to draw it and then re-tell in 30 seconds. (the aim here was to see how much you were able to remember through visuals). The 2nd part of the session required us to get into groups of 4 and apply drawing’s only to come up with a number of ideas exploring a particular brand. Our Brand was called ‘Glide’- life made simple…the concept behind this was life could be made sooooooooooooooo much easier if students who use ‘Glide’ for help with financial matters, i.e. paying bills etc would be much happier students?. We decided to come up with an app called Sim-ple which required 5 players to sign up and become one of the household issues, the game would resolve in the student being directed to ‘Glides’ webpage and sign up??? something like that anyway…

 

Workshop 2 Interactive Spectatorships Led by Dr. Dario Llinares and Dr Sarah Arnold

Taken from Pedare website…Interactive Spectatorships is a project funded and based at Falmouth University. It aims to investigate the effect of social networking technologies, and the attendant influence of new digital cultures, on film studies pedagogic practice specifically and film spectatorship generally. We aim to explore the potential forcommunications media such as Twitter to be deployed as a interactive tool for facilitating students’ critical engagement and discussion of indicative viewing. 

This was a great session, and valuable to my research, it looked at encouraging students into a situation where a screening of i.e. Jackie Brown, Catfish, Moon etc with aid of twitter could be used as learning tool. Its focus -a multi-tasking platform that enables students to express him or herself through ongoing commentary that is in real time rather than an after thought discussion with tutors and peers. Further, a student used in this pilot did note that he watched it again (alone) without any distractions and although may have not been discussed in a group situation was talked about with other cohorts for up to a week later…whether we think this is a good idea or not is questionable? but the aim here is not to take away the notion of watching a film, that little place of worship, where the screen poses itself as a bright shiny god-like figure. Instead, it is about enhancing teaching and learning to watching media, in this case using twitter as a quiet mode of communication to act and respond in real time. 

 Workshop 3 Screen Writing- Everything but the Movie led by Neil Fox 

note to myself- Must watch Casablanca!! Again another interesting session…the focus here was to work with ‘haiku’ a Japanese poetry form that uses just a few words to capture a moment and create a picture in the readers mind. Thus a tiny window into a scene much larger than itself. We all had to write one and later read aloud for others to guess…ok this was mine.

‘intense relationships and lobsters in a pan,

large framed glasses, androgyny, exhibition of dialogue, 

attraction, love and comedy ingenious’

 

Wise Men A fact: You will always feel like your work isn’t good enough. As a salve, or simply as a way to stay sane, be in the world. Ride the train. Listen to strangers. Occasionally, if you’re brave, speak to them. Walk in the city you live. Pay attention. Don’t bother with taking notes, or buying fancy notepads. Try to remember as much as you can. Have just enough confidence in yourself to not be an asshole. Then, get up and go to work and try again.” taken from…Stuart Nadler http://www.timeout.com/newyork/things-to-do/fifteen-successful-authors-share-their-best-writing-tips 


After, I guess, what must be 17 years…I returned to Falmouth! having studied illustration there at the Woodlane campus in 1994, the place of course had changed, and for the better! what I remember as a very laid back sleepy town, with too many pasty shops and ‘Trago’ department store has had a make over; the old docks now have a contemporary facade of cool bars and restaurants. And so the reason for travelling North to the South, spending 16 hours on an aching bottom to the point of being almost delirious; was to attend the Pedare (pronounced Pe-da-re) conference held at The Exchange, Penmere. 

 

To provide some background information ‘Pedare’ is the Centre for Pedagogic Arts-Based Research. It’s community is made up of educators, academics, scholars, researcher and practitioners, their focus is to generate leading research in e-learning, pure pedagogic research, performance based pedagogy and visual thinking within the arts curriculum- ‘We explore the creative curriculum generating leading edge teaching and learning methods, practices and insights that contribute to and inform education practices and policy’…

 

Workshop 1 Visual Thinking led by Rob Bloxham and others

The first part of this session was to get into partners, one was required to tell the story and the other to draw it and then re-tell in 30 seconds. The 2nd part of the session required us to get into groups of 4 and apply drawing only to come up with a number of ideas exploring a particular brand. Our Brand was called ‘Glide’ life made simple…the concept behind this was life could be made easier if students which to Glide for help with financial matters, i.e. paying bills etc. We decided to come up with an app called Sim-ple which required 5 players to sign up and become one of the household issues, the game would resolve in the student being directed Glides webpage and sign up??? something like that anyway…

 

Workshop 2 Interactive Spectatorships Led by Dr. Dario Llinares and Dr Sarah Arnold

Taken from Pedare website…Interactive Spectatorships is a project funded and based at Falmouth University. It aims to investigate the effect of social networking technologies, and the attendant influence of new digital cultures, on film studies pedagogic practice specifically and film spectatorship generally. We aim to explore the potential forcommunications media such as Twitter to be deployed as a interactive tool for facilitating students’ critical engagement and discussion of indicative viewing. 

This was a great session, and valuable to my research, it looked at encouraging students into a situation where a screening of i.e. Jackie Brown, Catfish, moon etc with aid of twitter can be used as learning tool. A multi-tasking platform that enables students to express him or herself through ongoing commentary that is in real time rather than an after thought discussion with tutors and peers. Further, a student used in this pilot did note that he watched it again (alone) without any distractions and although may have not been discussed in a group situation was talked about with other cohorts for up to a week later…whether we think this is a good idea or not is questionable? but the aim here is not to take away the notion of watching a film, isolated, within the confounds of darkened room, a place of worship, modeled on a theatre, instead it is about enhancing teaching and learning to watching media, in this case using twitter as a quiet mode of communication to act and respond in real time. 

 

Workshop 3 Screen Writing- Everything but the Movie led by Neil Fox 

note to myself- Must watch Casablanca!! Again another interesting session…the focus here was to work with ‘haiku’ a Japanese poetry form that uses just a few words to capture a moment and create a picture in the readers mind. Thus a tiny window into a scene much larger than itself. We all had to write one and later read a loud for others to guess…ok this was mine. any ideas??????

‘intense relationships and lobsters in a pan,

large framed glasses, androgyny, exhibition of dialogue, 

attraction, love and comedy ingenious’

Heidi Donohoe 

Writing in Creative Practice: Towards Academic Publishing

rabbit-jigsaw2-small (2)

Piecing the jigsaw together… WRITING PAD

This interesting and thought provoking workshop focused on creative writing and how it can be turned into writing for academic publication. Nancy de Freitas, associate professor at AUT University, New Zealand and Editor-In-Chief of studies in material thinking, presented to us the context of material thinking practices, thinking about methods and insights on good structure, clear writing and style as an underpinning to research, processes, images, objects and spaces. Alkie Groppel-Wegener led genre in crafting academic writing, you can follow her on http://tactileacademia.wordpress.com/

To view full posting please go to http://heididonohoe.blogspot.co.uk/

References: 

Gavin Melles and Julia Lockheart, Writing purposefully in art and design: Responding to converging and diverging new academic literacy  http://ahh.sagepub.com/content/early/2012/02/28/1474022211432116

Nancy Roth, Writing as pretext: On the way to an image  http://ahh.sagepub.com/content/9/2/256

Robert Nelson, Toward a history of rigour: An examination of the nasty side of scholarship,  http://ahh.sagepub.com/content/10/4/374

Brian Paltridge, Sue Starfield, Louise Ravelli and Sarah Nicholson; Doctoral Writing in the Visual and Performing Arts: Issues and Debates

 

Designs on E-Learning International Conference: Paper – “Online Discussion Forums: Does Culture, Curriculum and Context Matter?” – K. Whittaker

Designs on E-Learning International Conference: Paper – “Online Discussion Forums: Does Culture, Curriculum and Context Matter?” – K. Whittaker

In September 2010, Kevin Whittaker of the New Media cluster, Faculty of Arts, Hull School of Art & Design, Hull, attended the Designs on E-Learning International Conference presented at The University for Creative Careers, Savannah, Georgia in the United States.

Kevin presented a paper to the attendees on the use and efficacy of VLE’s, LAM’s, and other contemporary technology implemented to aid traditional pedagogic practice; a paper he has since updated and presented to the HE Research conference attendees at the KC Stadium in 2011.

Presented at – Designs on E-Learning International Conference:

 The University for Creative Careers, Savannah College of Art Design, Savannah, Georgia, USA.

Date – 15-17 September 2010

 Paper Title – “Online Discussion Forums: Does Culture, Curriculum and Context Matter?”

Presented by Kevin Whittaker, Hull School of Art and Design, Hull College Group, Yorkshire, England, UK.

Abstract:

 This paper examines the reasons for the decline in student engagement with the online discussion forum and resources provided for Art and Design undergraduates on BA (Hons) Web Design, Games Design and Interactive Multimedia Design programmes.

Technological advancements in the internet have provided educational institutions with the opportunity to develop online learning environments, often in an attempt to replicate traditional teaching methods. There is evidence to suggest this has not had a major impact on learning. Pedagogical innovations in online teaching challenge the methodologies applied to these traditional approaches, and argue that there has been far too much focus on managing the integration of resource content. As a result, the fundamental process of education is often missing.

Students predominantly engaged with designing and building internet related products provides rich diversity leaning amongst student’s means they will often find their own online resources which they believe best meet their learning styles. However depending on the resource used, this can often lead to students constructing their own meaning incorrectly.  Blended e-learning is a challenging aspect of teaching and is influenced by the same individual characteristics and diversity of students in ‘face to face’ teaching. Activity based online learning has the potential to synthesise class room activities whilst providing discussion through distance learning.

Culture, curriculum and context influence teaching philosophy and practice. Online learning needs to focus on blending ‘real and virtual spaces’ otherwise the curriculum design will not be aligned. This paper explores the feasibility of utilising a Learning Activity Management System (LAMS) as an alternative to the traditional approach. This e-learning tool provides a highly intuitive visual authoring environment for creating sequences of learning activities.

link to event – http://www.scad.edu/experience/events/designs-on-elearning/index.cfm

Contact via Email: kwhittaker@artdesignhull.ac.uk