Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Project Gran Turismo 5 - CAME Proposal (Game-based learning and Web 2.0)

Project Gran Turismo 5 (GT5) - CAME Semester 1, 2011

Proposal By:
Vickel Narayan
Academic Adviser (Learning Technologies),
Te Puna Ako
Email: vnarayan@unitec.ac.nz
Phone: ext 7413


The CAME created waves around the institute and to some extent in other institutes in modeling effective pedagogy. It is also the first course at Unitec to successfully go through the rigorous Living Curriculum tick process. Institutionally the CAME has put Department of Automotive and the Faculty at the forefront of effective practice in learning and teaching and has set a model of others to learn from.

The CAME managed to successfully move from teacher-content to student generated-content, a process where students take ownership of their own learning and the teachers in the course playing the role of a facilitator. Feedback to students on their work in class became a critical feature in the learning process along with building relationships with students and encouraging the same between students. The course has had positive impact on student's learning (Narayan & Baglow, 2010) and hopefully the students will move on to achieve greater things as they begin their career. Even though there are a number of things happening in the CAME that is having a positive effect on the way students learn, there is still room for improvement. Herrington (2006) expresses the importance of authentic learning contexts in promoting higher student engagement, success and for creating an opportunity for students to explore a 'real world' situation over a sustained period of time to deliver a solution.

This proposal outlines how GT5 will be integrated in the course to create an experience for the students to learn from. The proposal also ensures CAME and the Faculty maintains the lead in innovative approaches to learning and teaching and continues to set a model for it's staff, other programmes and faculties to learn from.

About Gran Turismo 5

My Page user options

Figure 1.0 - My page on GT5

Tuning Shop - Customising the Car

Figure 2.0 - Tuning options in the game

Is a multi-player online gaming device however it's not just about racing:
  • Personal online message board to keep in touch with friends.
  • You can gift car parts to your friends.
  • You can take pictures and share it with your friends.
(As outlined in figure 1.0)
Dynamic weather hence gives a feel of how the vehicle behaves under different weather conditions (temperature, pressure, humidity).
Over 900 cars from different car manufacturers, all on HD with crisp clear picture and graphics.

Cars are customisable meaning one can build a car down-up
through the Tuning Shop (Pictures from the tuning shop: http://www.gtplanet.net/gran-turismo-5-menu-screens-show-tuning-options/gt5-menu-tuning-7/ and http://us.gran-turismo.com/us/news/d5297p2.html). This is how the game flows (Career Mode):

  • You start with 3,500 Cr (iPad version). This credit is used to by a car but before you can buy a car you keep to get a drivers licence to drive one in the game.
  • You race to gain extra credit.
  • Using this credit you can buy parts from the After Market Store (this ranges from tyres to pistons and suspension). This website shows the tuning options in GT5: http://www.gtplanet.net/gran-turismo-5-menu-screens-show-tuning-options/
  • Next you take the car to a Diagnostics Centre to run tests on the customisations you have made. There are various tests you can perform for example: compression, torque, speed, variations in behavior under different conditions (Pressure, stress etc). After the test, make the changes as needed and
  • You take the car for a spin on the track.

Theoretical Underpinning

The most critical ingredient to students' succeeding at learning is motivation, 'a motivated learner can't be stopped' (Prensky, 2003. p. 1). Contrary to this well known fact and in this digital age, student learning still remains 'dry' (Eck, 2006; Prensky, 2003). This said there is a platform available for educators that achieves high level of engagement and motivation to utilise and can be found in almost all homes in some form: computer and video games. Prensky (2003) claims that students attitude towards computer/video games is totally opposite to what some of them have towards school. The attitude students have towards video/computers games in what is desperately needed in the schools: 'interest, competition, cooperation, results-oriented, actively seeking information and solutions' (p. 1).

Prensky (2001) suggests that games can facilitate as many as 36 vital and effective learning principles. These include instant feedback, decision making roles, a student could be punished by being given a tougher task if they failed (sets higher expectations, challenges hence becomes a motivational factor), engaging, lets the user experiment many ways to learn and allows flexibility to create different thoughts (Prensky, 2001).  Pivec et al. (2003) also suggest that games can create a collaborative learning environment. The use of multi-player gaming platforms allows users to exchange thoughts and ideas with other users who are interacting with the content simultaneously under shared circumstances. This takes collaboration to a new level where the level of critique and exploration of a concept or event is negotiated between individuals to create new understandings and meanings (Johnson et al., 2010). The New Horizon Report (2010) outlines number of case studies where game-based learning was successfully incorporated in the curriculum. Prensky (2001) states 5 affordances of video/computer games for students that renders it as a powerful learning platform: (1) engage (2) explore, (3) explain, (4) elaborate and (5) evaluate. These elements when mixed with the right pedagogy create an environment, which could be beneficial to both students and teachers (Eck, 2006; Prensky, 2001).

Design: GBL, Constructivism, Authentic Learning

"Knowledge is not passively accumulated: rather, it is a result of active cognising by the individual" (Doolittle, 1999. p. 6)

The table below outlines the relationship between the 3 (GBL, constructivism and authentic learning) and how GT5 and Web 2.0 tools bridge the two into an effective learning environment.

GT5 (Game-based learning)
Authentic Learning
The situations presented in the game are realistic scenarios a racing driver and his crew face. This also creates an urgency/relevance for future tasks/actions
learning context should be authentic and where possible should be real-world

the learning should have immediate relevance to the students
'real world' learning - the learning situation has immediate relevance to the way learning will be applied in real life
All digital games presents an ill defined problem but 'in-time' promotes are in place to guide them through the process
learning should be situated in a social environment to enable collaboration and sharing
learning activities are ill defined - one complex problem that the students can explore over a period of time
The diagnostics centre, teacher in class and because GT5 is an online gaming platform expertise from around the world is also available

students have access to expertise and the use/process is modeled
As a driver, owner, crew member, analyst. This enables a learner to bring any prior knowledge they may have into the current situation they are/could be facing.
the learning should take into account the learners prior knowledge and should build from it
learners are able to explore an issue from multiple perspective and through assuming different identities (roles)
Blogging/student portfolio, Google Buzz all situated within a student CoP - all geared towards building a student community - community of learners
should be student-centred - students given the ownership of their own learning
learning is situated in socio-cultural setting - students construct knowledge together through interaction each each other
Reflection and articulation is at the core of students blogging, learning activities designed also take this into consideration and feedback a regular event
formative assessments should be embedded within the course to create opportunity for the teacher to guide and lead the student into further learning.
Reflection and articulation is a critical element in the learning process
Scaffolds are built into almost all the games as an engagement factor, teachers in class as coach, and other resources on the web as guided by the teacher. Vickel Narayan as a technology steward and support in class for students/teacher, every week for 1-2hrs.
the teachers role in the process to be as a facilitator and not an instructor.

'Scaffolding and coaching' - support mechanisms are out in place to help the students through the process - digital resources, readings, teachers
ePortfolio - every activity and events within make up a post(s). An assessment rubric will be discussed/created with the students at the start of the course.
teachers to create an environment that nurtures student views and perspectives and allows students to deliver content in multiple formats (multimedia - pictures, videos, audio, storyboards etc).
Authentic assessment - embedded assessment - activities and assessments are not separate and distinct from each other rather they should implement each other
(Doolittle, 1999; Herrington, 2006; Lombardi, 2007)

Gran Turismo 5 allows students an opportunity to experience learning in an authentic context. The game will be embedded in the course which will allow students to learn basic car parts and the functions in a fun environment. The teachers in the course will have a set of questions to look at after each gaming session to reflect on. A possible learning scenario is presented below:

The class will be broken down into smaller groups of up to 4 students in each. (Groups maintained for the whole course.) The groups begin by having a gaming session to decide who is the best driver of them all. This exercise will  help build a team as in many cases students don't know each other and it takes a while to establish a relationship to get a team going. The person who wins the contest becomes the driver for the team and other members the pit crew. Learning activities here after are based on analysing the performance of the car and tweaking the parts for better performance on the race course. The diagrams below outline how the gaming aspect will be used in student learning and integrated in the curriculum.

Pedagogical Affordances of the Game

Figure 3.0 - Pedagogical affordances of the game

Figure 3.0 outlines the features of the game and further details in the diagram outline possible use in the course. The CAME students this year (2010) had to learn about parts and its functions by reading books, watching videos and through communal discussions however the students had very limited opportunity to explore the parts in an authentic context. GT5 will allow the students to explore various models of a part and put them through a number of diagnostics to determine the impart of certain variables on the performance of the car. Figure 2.0 shows a screen capture from the game of the tuning features available, in this case the engine block, piston and ECU. Other options are available for example the chassis, tyres, body (fibre and alloy), turbo charging, exhaust, etc. Figure 4.0 outlines the process each group and group members will have to go through after a session on the console. The teachers in the course will be heavily involved in the process providing guidance (feedback), setting up conditions and requirements for the activity and observing the activities for expected deliverables. The reflective blog posts will add towards the student portfolio as an assessed activity.

Embedding it in the course - It's not just about gaming

Figure 4.0 - Use with Web 2.0 tools to enhance students learning.


The use of technology in learning and technology is only effective if it is underpinned by effective pedagogy and careful planning for embedding it within the curriculum is done (Johnson et al., 2010; Prensky, 2003). Prensky (2001) floated the concept of what he called digital natives (born after 1980) and digital immigrates (born before 19980). From the data collected this year, majority of students in CAME could be categorised as digital natives and according to Prensky digital natives are attracted to technology as a metal is to a magnet. This was apparent with technology used in the course this year, again the data collected from the students indicated that they were happy with the use of etools in the course (Narayan & Baglow, 2010). The indications are that the students enrolling in the CAME and many entry level courses here at Unitec will be getting younger every year with different expectations of how learning should be (Horizon, 2010).

Literacy and numeracy is still an area that needs attention, while literacy is being looked at GT5 can help with the numeracy issues. The diagnostics students can run in GT5 requires them to gain an understanding of what the numbers mean and how they arrive at the result. This requires them to gain an understanding of the process and the method, the motivation in the process is to get the best performance from the car they have customised when it comes race day against other groups and win. This when combined with blogs allows the teacher to identify and help the students/group where needed, this could even happen at an early stage. GT5 creates an opportunity for students and teachers alike to tackle numeracy issues which under normal circumstances would go undetected.

Also keeping in mind future plans CAME has of moving into schools this pilot project will help make a difference in the lives of many students who drop out of the school system by engaging the students in a fun but effective learning environment. This project will also create an opportunity of the CAT students to be involved and hopefully will get the staff teaching excited to try out new and informed methods of teaching.


Doolittle, P. E. (1999). Constructivism and Online Education Retrieved January, 2007, from http://edpsychserver.ed.vt.edu/workshops/tohe1999/pedagogy.html
Eck, R. V. (2006). Digital Game-Based learning: it's not just the digital natives who are restless. EDUCAUSE, 41(2).
Herrington, J. (2006). Authentic e-learning in higher education: Design principles for authentic learning environments and tasks. Paper presented at the E-Learning Conference.
Johnson, L., Levine, L., Smith, R., & Stone, S. (2010). The 2010 Horizon Report. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.
Lombardi, M. M. (2007). Authentic learning for the 21st century: an overview: EDUCAUSE.
Pivec, M., Dziabenko, O., & Schinnerl, I. (2003). Aspects of game-based learning. MIS Quarterly, 3(1).
Prensky, M. (2003). Digital game-based learning. ACM Portal, 1(1).
Prensky, M. (2001). Digital game-based learning. New Yorke: McGraw-Hill.

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants. On the Horizon, 9(5), 6.
Narayan, V., & Baglow, L. (2010). New beginnings: Facilitating effective learning through the use of Web 2.0 tools. In C. Steel, M.J. Keppell & P. Gerbic, Curriculum, technology & transformation for an unknown future. Proceedings ascilite Sydney 2010.