Last week, Jackie Calderwood and Noah Mitchell travelled to the CU Scarborough campus to meet with course representatives from a variety of disciplines to explore how game development can be used a tool for engaging students and enhancing their learning experience.

Opening with a presentation on the work of the DMLL, the Beaconing platform and a background of the Homeless Monopoly project, Jackie shared her experience of what developing an educational resource game was like. The staff were then invited to a playtest of the Homeless Monopoly board game followed by a demonstration of the Beaconing-based mobile app version of the game.

Enhancing the Student Experience

The CU Scarborough staff were quick to observe the differences between the homeless services and points of interest on the board game (which is set in Coventry) and their own context in Scarborough and expressed an interest in redeveloping the game for their own context.

The game promotes lots of interaction and discussion

The staff also saw the potential for enriching their own courses by involving students in the creation of this kind of game. They discussed how students might engage with their local community in order to curate stories, ideas and new resources for a Scarborough version of the game. One course representative for counselling, for example, wondered whether an innovative student placement could involve interviewing support workers and service users in order to develop a game or educational resource based on homelessness in Scarborough.

Interdisciplinary Working

The development of serious games (those games which address a particular learning outcome, behaviour change or social issue), is proving to offer new opportunities for interdisciplinary working.

The current version of the game involved researches, artists, student activators, community workers and more in order to come to fruition. Similarly, the staff at CU Scarborough were identifying ways in which course representatives from law, policing, social care and more could benefit by taking part in developing their own version of the game (or one addressing a similar topic). 

The group discussing creating a version of the game unique to Scarborough

Location-Specific Development

Due to the nature of the services available for homeless individuals, Homeless Monopoly is a very location-specific game. By taking part in the development of the game in a new location, Jackie would be able to learn more about the value of game development as an educational tool, which she could potentially develop into a resource to use in new contexts.

She’s hoping to work with CU Scarborough or another interested organisation to support their own development of new version of Homeless Monopoly or similar serious game.

We’re thankful to CU Scarborough for hosting Jackie and Noah and to the course leaders who took part in exploring the role of game development and playful learning in higher education with us on the day.