Game Based Learning (gbl) and Mobile Technology: Engagement and Empathy in the Social Science Flipped Classroom
Concurrent Session 8
First-person game-based learning (GBL) fosters cognitive, affective, and sociocultural engagement with subject matter. In this presentation, attendees will split into small groups and use one shared mobile device to play the web-based game, Spent. This GBL activity challenges the student to subsist on minimum wage in contemporary American society.
Students in our Introduction to Sociology courses represent a cross section of a campus community diverse in socioeconomic class, age, and life experiences. These factors influence student perspectives about two key social inequality concepts, social class stratification and difficulties facing lower income workers. Students frequently have no frame of reference and therefore struggle to understand the difficulties lower wage workers face in their daily lives.
PlaySpent simulates real world experiences through the eyes of a low-wage earning single parent of one child. The student is challenged to make it through one month without running out of money. Game progression requires the student to make difficult choices about childcare, housing, transportation, and other facets of daily life they might otherwise take for granted, such as pet ownership and leisure activities. Because loss aversion encourages infinite play, students synthesize broader theoretical concepts through repetitive game navigation. Additionally, the shared iPad model facilitates group collaboration and gives a voice to those students who might otherwise remain silent during large group discussions.
Post-game discussion will address the shared iPad model and gamification elements in the context of student outcomes. We will provide examples of discussion questions typically used in class as well as possible applications of the activity in related disciplines such as economics, political science, and education.