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The idea for this Proof of Concept, supported by the European Research Council (ERC), is to develop a prototype location-based game that can be used for teaching fieldwork in a Higher Education (HE) setting. The rationale behind it is that location-based games, understood here as pervasive games in which gameplay develops through a player's mobile location, are promising educational tools for fieldwork. The game is designed to facilitate, enhance and structure fieldwork for university courses in the areas of geography, development studies, architecture, history, archaeology and anthropology.

Games are often perceived as popular entertainment but can have great value in more serious societal contexts, as the recent proliferation of political games, games for change, citizen science games, or games for health prove. Because of the creativity and cooperation they kindle, games are excellent means for informal learning, exploration and team-building. They have the potential to engage and encourage problem-solving, and the emergent complexity of gameplay means they can address complex issues in accessible ways. Additionally, they directly tap into the lifestyle of young adults who, as digital natives, are more likely to identify with playful teaching tools (Costabile 2008, Prensky 2003, Gee 2003).

This PoC will therefore push the envelope in the area of educational innovation, bringing new tools for creative learning to the field that are in tune with societal changes in youth culture.

Students can learn in creative ways about the layout, culture, geography and history of a particular area, exploring such diverse topics as architecture, environmental issues, social history, local politics, religion or food production and more, all depending on the configurable game package. Such new teaching methods can stimulate a different cultural and social engagement with environments, one that brings learners much closer to lived experiences and contemporary issues on a local scale. Importantly, this approach also sees action and intervention as key elements of reflexive and sensitive fieldwork practice, challenging the existing division between academic student projects undertaken for grades, and their more complex real-world subject matter. As a result, the approach developed in this PoC seeks to change set paradigms in higher education, offering young adults more creative, relevant and useful means to gain knowledge about and engage with environments and people.


Sybille Lammes - PI, University of Warwick, UK

Chris Perkins - University of Manchester, UK

Alex Gekker - Utrecht University, NL

Sam Hind - University of Warwick, UK

Clancy Wilmott - University of Warwick, UK