Proposal Submission Deadline: December 30, 2008
Interdisciplinary Models and Tools for Serious Games:
Emerging Concepts and Future Directions
A book edited by Richard Van Eck
University of North Dakota, USA
The study of serious games has grown from a few lone voices in the wilderness to a growing academic, industry, and popular recognition of the potential these tools hold for learning. Mirroring this burgeoning acceptance is the evolution of technology and tools to the point that it is becoming possible for anyone to develop and use games in real world settings. The study of serious games is on the cusp of becoming a discipline rather than a collection of ideas.
Unfortunately, the rush to pursue this promising learning technology has led to a fractionalized approach that is ill prepared to meet this challenge. The reasons for this are many and varied, but among them is the assumption that this new field requires new theories, models, and approaches. In reality, games are a new technology, not a new way to teach, and much of the theory needed already exists in multiple disciplines. Indeed, the serious games field is being defined from many different disciplinary perspectives. The problem is that even when existing theories and models within a particular discipline are brought to serious games, other disciplines collectively remain unaware of these new perspectives, thereby missing critical opportunities for synergy.
Furthermore, as theories and terminology from different disciplines enter the serious games lexicon, what is often overlooked is that there are subtle differences in meaning. Situated learning, for instance, means something different to a social constructivist than it does to a cognitive psychologist, an instructional designer, or a linguist. Likewise, while many agree that ?motivation? is a key aspect of serious games, is this Bandura?s motivation and self-efficacy, or Keller?s ARCS model for motivation from instructional design? Are we discussing Malone?s theory of intrinsic motivation for games or Deci & Ryan?s theories of intrinsic motivation from exercise science? While all are compatible perspectives in many ways, it stands to reason that the research and philosophy from which each is derived has something unique to contribute to the overall understanding of motivation in games.
Each field thus ignores what is similar amongst these disciplines, leading to the perception that narrative theory is more fractionalized and dense than it is, as well as what is different, therefore missing opportunities to develop rich, complex theories and models that advance the field. And now that interest in game-based learning has spread to disciplines for which the words video game would have been anathema 5 or 10 years ago (e.g., medicine, health and exercise, business), even more disciplines will seek to reinvent the wheel. It is therefore imperative that we pause to examine the rich diversity of disciplinary perspectives that have been collectively brought to serious games and begin to, if not consolidate, at least acknowledge the many perspectives from which the serious games canon is being developed.
The first step in doing so is to outline the basic contributions and approaches to this field from various disciplines. This volume will help to identify the ways that different disciplines are approaching the same ideas with slightly different tools and models, and it will begin to identify what theories and models will emerge specifically to the serious games field.
Objective of the Book
This book will be organized into six sections, each comprising chapters written by authors from a variety of disciplines and, to a lesser extent from multidisciplinary perspectives. The first four sections of the book are designed to provide a structure that sets the context for the field (History & Origins), outline the approaches being used to define the field (Theories & Models), describe the current research that is (ideally) informed by those theories and models (Current Research), and describe how current tools and technology are instantiating (ideally) theories, models, and current research findings (Tools & Technology). A particular emphasis of this volume will be on reacting to and integrating the multiple approaches and perspectives being taken toward serious games through techniques such as coauthored chapters and new chapters or short essays generated in response to others in the volume, which will appear in the Integrated Perspectives section. Finally, the book will conclude with a section on where all of this seems to be leading this emerging discipline (Next Steps for the Field), again authored in collaborative as well as independent ways.
The target audience for this book will be composed of professionals and researchers working in the field of serious games in various disciplines, including, but not limited to, education, instructional design, psychology, discourse, semiotics, narrative, information science, game design, gender, accessibility, artificial intelligence, and drama. It is hoped that this book will provide insight and inspiration for those working and conducting research in serious games as well as for those just coming into the field.
In general, topics should conceptually fit within one or more of the six sections of the book (History & Origins, Theories & Models, Current Research, Tools & Technology, Integrated Perspectives, Next Steps for the Field) although this list may evolve as submissions are received. Suggested topics include, but are not limited to, the following as they relate specifically to games, learning, design, and research:
-Theories and models (e.g., engagement, flow, cognitive disequilibrium)
-Avatars and agents
-Scaffolding, ZPD, help-seeking
-Ontologies and taxonomies
-Accessibility, equality, and inclusiveness
-Individual differences (gender, age, culture, cognitive style, etc.)
Although such lists tend to imply a limited number of topics and may seem to suggest that proposals should address one and only one of these areas, submissions that capture the complexity and diversity of this emerging discipline are the primary goal, so please feel free to submit chapters that address topics not listed here. Authors are also encouraged, to the extent possible, to bring in multiple perspectives (because you have or are willing to study them or because you can seek out coauthors who themselves have slightly different perspectives), so feel free to also propose chapters that do this in whatever way seems most appropriate.
Researchers and practitioners are invited to submit on or before November 30, 2008, a 2-3 page chapter proposal clearly explaining the mission and concerns of his or her proposed chapter. Authors of accepted proposals will be notified by December 30, 2008, about the status of their proposals and will be sent chapter guidelines. Full chapters are expected to be submitted by March 31, 2009. All submitted chapters will be reviewed on a double-blind review basis. This book is scheduled to be published by IGI Global (formerly Idea Group Inc.), publisher of the ?Information Science Reference? (formerly Idea Group Reference) and ?Medical Information Science Reference? imprints. For additional information regarding the publisher, please visit www.igi-global.com
Inquiries and submissions can be forwarded electronically (Word document) or by mail to:
Dr. Richard Van Eck
Instructional Design & Technology
231 Centennial Drive, Stop 7189
University of North Dakota
Grand Forks, ND 58202-7189