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Here we discuss the history of the use of games for serious reasons and their scientific purposes. This long-standing practice became commonplace in the 1990s, particularly with the emergence of new technologies such as video games, the widespread use of the Internet, and the growth of agile software development. Companies such as LEGO developed innovative methods based on the use of game elements. In addition, in 2002, the term “serious game” was formalized by the Serious Games Initiative. Thus, serious games have been very successful. We note in particular the success of America’s Army, which was developed by the US army to respond to a recruitment problem. The game largely contributed to solving this problem. Since then, many other professional practices inspired by games have emerged, many of which are part of an innovation context (innovation games, agile games, goal-based games, gamification of devices, etc.). To get a better idea of the place of these utilitarian forms in relation to innovation, we begin this issue with a brief bibliometric analysis of the international scientific literature that has been dedicated to them over the last 25 years. We then briefly present the other texts in this issue according to the categories of serious forms of play or games that they belong to.
Today, the gamification movement affects all digital application sectors, particularly that of education. The term nevertheless covers various meanings and we endeavor to explore it here as a socio-technical innovation. Then, based on the latest research, we identify its impact in the field of education. We study a particular application with the Pix software, which is used for learning digital skills, and analyze the feedback through a user survey and a study of the results. These elements allow us to discuss the educational impact of gamification and the meaning it attributes to the concept of play.
Educational innovation in higher education is protean. Through serious games and business games, game-oriented learning has become very present in management sciences over the past ten years, and it seems interesting to us to discuss more confidential practices. The one we explore in this article is serious gaming, i.e. a game that is designed for a primary purpose rather than simply for entertainment. More specifically, we discuss the practices carried out thanks to the open source video game Minetest at IAE Paris-Est, the university management school part of the Université Paris-Est Créteil (UPEC). In particular, we argue that serious games are frugal innovations, as they widen the field of pedagogical practices at almost no cost, and they respect the criteria of technological frugality (core functionalities and quality of operation). And, like the vast majority of open source projects, the necessary IT knowledge encourages the creation of a dedicated community of practice that teaches and maintains these skills.
The various transitions needed to adapt to environmental upheavals require innovative tools. Serious games appear to be very useful for this purpose. These games are designed to transform behavior and are described as “persuasive” by the scientific literature. This article presents the results of a French national exploratory survey that identified and qualified existing games on the themes of agriculture, the environment, food and territory. A total of 105 games were identified. The results show that while most of these games are used for teaching/training purposes, there are also many games designed to promote dialog and action among stakeholders. These games are structured around collaboration, targeting the co-construction of new futures between players. Mostly analog, they offer a new type of game, which can be qualified as social and frugal innovations. Although the results need to be confirmed on a larger scale, this study highlights the recent development of games as an innovative tool to support sustainable transitions.
The supply of natural aggregates in France has become a major issue due to the expected increase in consumption, both in the field of construction and public works, and due to the environmental and societal constraints that their exploitation generates. The ANR AGREGA project aims to develop a methodology and an operational simulation tool in order to conduct a prospective analysis of the aggregates market on a regional scale, over 30 years. However, the choices to be made have yet to be accepted. As part of this research project and as part of training programs within the University of Paris Saclay and UNILaSALLE, an innovative pedagogical approach has been proposed to develop collaborative learning. It is based on an integrated environmental assessment, which aims to mobilize a variety of tools for discovery, simulation and deliberation around the question of the supply of aggregates. It is based on a participatory approach, called INTEGRAAL, which aims to involve actors (here, the students) in dialogs relating to the decisions to be taken, individually and collectively, concerning the supply of aggregates. Pedagogical innovation also comes from the possibility of enriching the interactions between actors by using a large wall of stereoscopic images, known as an Immersive Wall for Research and Education.
The University Libraries of Nouvelle-Aquitaine have chosen to use an entertaining media tool to raise awareness among the general public regarding open science. “Journey to Open Science” was created by a multidisciplinary team with a methodology aiming for the perfect balance between pedagogy and fun, and based on game studies research. Early feedback demonstrates how suitable this approach was.
The JeuxDeMots project aims to build a broad base of common and specialized knowledge, in French, by using games. About a dozen games have been designed as part of this project. Each game allows one to either collect specific information or to verify the information acquired through the other games. This article presents, both qualitatively and quantitatively, the data collected and constructed since the launch of the project in the summer of 2007. The main game of the project is presented as well as our last game, Sémintox, a guessing game where the player verifies and corrects collected data.
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