Training session for TAKOMAT 
5.5. 14:00
Participating: Lars Maria Schnatmann

 

The workshop was outlined based on Takomat’s background in video games. It consisted of a theoretical, introductory part that emphasized possibilities of using video games as a tool for education. Education-related computerized games were first developed in the 1980s with the emergence of the children’s software industry while in recent years curriculum development has increasingly included gamification. Within the first part, we have presented two case studies, an art project Transborder Immigrant Tool by Electronic Disturbance Theater and the video game Papers, Please by Lucas Pope. Together with the participant, each coming from their own professional background and experience we were looking into mentioned case studies. The second part of the workshop was practical in a sense that within that part of the training the participant has to articulate and argue concrete positions. The participant was expected to answer the following questions by selecting words that were already written: If video games would be used as an educational tool within programs dedicated to minorities, what would be the key issues to consider and why? How can digital technology be used in a meaningful and critical way? Can empathy games make the public more sensitive to particular migration issues? How to include professionals of color and/or with immigration histories from the areas of education and (art) mediation in designing such learning tools?

 

The words were already written down signifying not only possible articulation of the answer, but rather to be used as a starting point for more detailed discussion.

The already written words were:

EMPATHY, ARTIVISM, COMMERCIAL SUCCESS, STORYTELLING FOR VIDEO GAMES, OPEN-SOURCE, AUDIENCE, HUMAN RIGHTS, EMPOWERING, GAMING, POLITICAL ENGAGEMENT, INTERVENTION IN SOCIAL/POLITICAL REALITY, MARGINAL, COLLABORATION WITH NGO’S DEDICATED TO THE RIGHTS OF MINORITY, INDIE GAMES, GAME JAM, WALK THROUGH – (EASY OR NOT), HOPE, COMMITMENT TO GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP, FUNCTIONALITY, DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION/STREAM/INTERNET, LEVEL OF REALISM, MECHANICS VS. STORY, PERSONAL EXPERIENCE OF THE PLAYER, ETHICS.

 

The participant immediately added a missing word: ZEITGEIST as for him it all depends on what tools the participants have at the moment, for example do they use whats up, what are their everyday habits. In relation to that it is important to know what is the overall goal of the game – for example is it easier to cross the border or to get important information. During the workshop we discussed possible benefits of using digital tools, such as video games, as educational tools, but at the same time we looked into possible obstacles for example if there is too much immersion into the digital world. Important part of the discussion was also the economical aspect of video games as there is a big gaming industry that produces content that is not education driven, but rather it aims to make games to be consumed. Takomat on the other hand, has experience in making games as a part of learning experience and as such it relies on investors which makes it possible for their games to be free. If the game would be developed as open source, it would be important that the user can be involved – that it becomes his or her game. The training session intended to provoke thinking and ideas in the direction of thinking about possible educational tools and program that would be dedicated to minorities and at the same time in line with Takomat’s purpose and activities.