Trans-contextual Learning: Student Learning with Mobile Devices in a Persistent-world Game to Construct Meaning and Identities
Statecraft X is a 24/7 persistent-world, multiplayer game for students to construct meaning and identities in the context of citizenship education and social studies. The game is played on Apple iPhones. Its use is situated within the broader context of a learning program that explores how learning can be engendered across the boundaries of school, home, and other ‘outside’ environments such as on the train and in the shopping mall.
In Statecraft X, students learn citizenship by playing the role of governors in a fantasy world. They have to ensure the total well being of the different peoples of the land, comprising trolls, elves, dwarfs, and humans. Satisfying the material needs and non-material wants of the citizenry being governed turns out to be a non-trivial matter. Support of the citizenry cannot simply be bought with money. Ideological issues have to be addressed. Coalitions have to be forged. Diplomacy has to be skillfully managed. Should players compete or collaborate for the successful development of statehood?
Game-based learning with Statecraft X seeks to create an open dialogic space within which issues related to the social studies curriculum and principles of governance at the secondary three level can be openly confronted and deliberated. Students’ meaning making and identity construction are examined through the lens of the performance–narrative dialectic. Values and beliefs related to active citizenship are fostered through trans-contextual participation in game play that crosses the artificial boundary of in-school and out-of-school.