National Education through Game Play

Project title:
Students' learning of Singapore National Education through game playing
Project ID: R8019.735.NG03
Funding: $655,734

Overview of the project (streaming movie):

Although computer games have existed for some 30 years, it is only within the last five years that educators and researchers have begun to recognize the potential that this medium holds for serious student learning. This recognition has arisen largely due to (i) an awareness of how well-designed games engage and motivate students for extended periods of focused activity, and (ii) the recent development of a sound pedagogy (Gee, 2003a, 2004, and 2005a) and a concrete vision (eg., Squire, 2001) of how games can be designed to engage learners in authentic ways of knowing, doing, being, and caring (Shaffer, et al, in press).

In this research project, we seek to research processes related to students’ problem solving, situated understandings, social practices, identity formation, and the development of shared community values through game play. We also propose to study issues related to the contextual factors (eg. school, teachers, students) that facilitate the introduction of game play into classroom learning so as to learn how this might be done effectively. As part of this research investigation, we shall design a set of classroom learning and assessment materials that can complement the research intervention outside of game play. We propose to conduct this research in the domain of National Education in Singapore because it extends beyond traditional knowledge requirements to encompass the development of attitudes, values, beliefs, and the construction of a personal identity. Through game play, we seek to (i) deepen students’ understanding of Singapore’s unique challenges, constraints, and vulnerabilities, given its geopolitical context, (ii) strengthen their awareness of the importance and rationale for key national policies that shape the nature of civic society, and (iii) develop sensitive and balanced attitudes toward issues of national importance. These goals are aligned with the ones set out by the Ministry of Education.

Research project goals:

  1. Conduct research on students’ learning by game playing, with a view to (a) understanding how this kind of learning activity can best be introduced into classroom learning, and (b) evaluating consequent learning outcomes in the conceptual and affective domains.
  2. Study the contextual factors that aid or impede the successful introduction of game playing as a deep and engaging student learning activity
  3. Design and develop the necessary learning media, curriculum, and assessment materials for the enactment of the research.
  4. Develop teacher capacity related to the use of gaming for learning.

    Sample screen shots of the game Space Station Leonis:

    The game lobby

    The simulation layer of the game

    Role playing in scenario mode


    Chee, Y. S. (2006). Embodiment, embeddedness, and experience: Foundations of game play for identity construction. Keynote speech at the 8th International Conference on Intelligent Tutoring Systems, Jhongli, Taiwan. In Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Vol. 4053, p. 814. Berlin: Springer. [abstract]

    Chee, Y. S. (2006). Pedagogical design of educational games: What makes a game educational? Panelist statement. Workshop Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Computers in Education (p. 60). Beijing Normal University.

    Chee, Y. S. (2006). Designing serious games seriously: Pedagogical considerations. Invited speaker, X|Media|Lab Singapore Professional Day Conference: Learning from Games. December 2006.

    Chee, Y. S. (2007). Invited Speaker. Consortium for School Networking's 6th Annual International Symposium on Using Games and Simulations for Engaged Learning, San Francisco, USA. March 2007.

    Chee, Y. S. (2007). Embodiment, embeddedness, and experience: Game-based learning and the construction of identity. Research and Practice in Technology Enhanced Learning, 2 (1), 3–30. [pdf]

    Lim, Y. T. K. and Chee, Y. S. (2007). In stable orbit: An initial assessment of dispositional changes arising from learning using the citizenship education videogame Space Station Leonis. In T. Hirashima, U. Hoppe, and S. S. C. Young (Eds.), Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Computers in Education (pp. 245–252). Amsterdam: IOS Press. [pdf]

    Chee, Y. S. & Lim, Y. T. K. (2008). Development, identity, and game-based learning. In R. Ferdig (ed.), Handbook of Research on Effective Electronic Gaming in Education, Volume 2 (pp. 808–825). Hershey, PA: IGI Global. [pdf] Copyright 2008, IGI Global, Posted by permission of the publisher.

    Chee, Y. S., Loke, S. K., & Tan, E. M. (2008). Citizenship education through game-based learning: Examining changes in students' dispositions with the Leonis learning program. Manuscript submitted for publication.

    Chee, Y. S., Loke, S. K., & Tan, E. M. (2009). Becoming citizens through game-based learning: A values-driven, process approach to citizenship education. International Journal of Gaming and Computer Mediated Simulations, 1(2), 32–51.

    Chee, Y. S. (2009). Project Completion Report: Students' learning of Singapore National Education through game playing (Project No. R8019.735.NG03). [Restricted circulation.]

    Chee, Y. S., Tan, E. M., & Lee, L. H. J. (2010). Learning with computer games: Beyond mastering subject content. In Chai, C. S. & Wang, Q. (Eds.), ICT for self-directed and collaborative learning (pp. 366–382). Singapore: Prentice-Hall. [pdf]

    Chee, Y. S., Loke, S. K., & Tan, E. M. (in press). Learning as becoming: Values, identity, and performance in the enaction of citizenship education through game play. To appear in Killian, M. (Ed.), Discoveries in gaming and computer-mediated simulations: New interdisciplinary applications. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.


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