Open Playground conference at FACT – the future of gaming in the classroom

Posted on 31 March 2014
By Jack Pearson
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The Open Playground conference laid out the future potential of gaming as a learning tool and social media over the next 3 to 5 years.

Featuring talks from some of the gaming industry’s leading innovators, the conference aimed to share the direction and scope of the next big ideas in the industry.

Gaming is one of the few evolving art forms, in that the technologies used to create them improve year after year, which means more advanced games are made as time goes on.

The first talk of the day put the spotlight on Cloudmaker, an interesting programme that uses the game Minecraft as a teaching tool in the classroom.

Students were tasked with building a scale replica of the Cains Brewery site in the game. This, Dr. Mark Wright, the leader of the programme, argued taught children collaborative skills that are invaluable in today’s workforce.

The programme also taught students how to write Javascript coding, which in an ever increasing digital age is deemed a very useful skill to have in order to create digital content.

Minecraft was reportedly chosen due to young people’s familiarity with the game; over 100million young people play the game, but also due to the architectural capabilities, that can allow users to create real scale buildings of their own design.

Another talk featured Greg Foster of The Larks, who sees the future of gaming being non digital, citing his game, No Format.

No Format is a game set in real life, in which actors are hired to play characters in the game, whilst the players are selected by invitation or are just members of the public.

This was said to have created an interesting social experience for the players of the game and posed the question of whether gaming had to be digital and if it could instead be used to create a more immersive experience.

Overall, Open Playground posed some interesting, thought provoking questions about the utilisation of the gaming platform and where the industry is headed.