Serious Fun: Game Design to Support Learning about the Surrender of Singapore, pp. 6 of 10

Each of the groups were able to pick up the rules of the game fairly quickly and the turn-based gameplay proceeded well. As it turns out, in all the groups, the main objective became not one of winning the game, but rather the students were generally more focused on completing the chronology / timeline of the Battle of Malaya and Singapore. This meant that rather than competitive play, what was witnessed was collaborative and cooperative play. Members of the group actually worked collaboratively to find out the proper order rather than compete with each other. The game was driven by interaction, students asking questions, deliberation of events and chronological order, and fun with students using what can be characterized as inquiry-driven interactions to better understand specific events and their ordering by drawing on individual prior knowledge and perspectives as well as by using mapping apps such as Google maps to better understand the geographical location of certain places. Students were using the movement of events across Malaya and within Singapore to logically consider the sequence of events.

The interactions below illustrate this point:

Interaction 1

Student A: “Ok, my card states ‘Japanese attack Pulau Ubin’. Pulau Ubin is in Singapore, isn’t it?”

Student B [an exchange student]: “Oh yes, Pulau Ubin is in South, isn’t it?”

Student C: “It’s in North-east”.

Student A: “Ok, I’m going to place my card here, although I’m not sure”. [The card was placed 2 slots wrongly, and afterwards they moved it to the right slot].

Student B: “So that means they went to small islands first (i.e. around the mainland) and then to the big Island (i.e. mainland Singapore)”.

Student C: “Yeah, correct. So they went in the West Direction”.

Interaction 2

Student A: “I don’t know where Kampar is [and takes the phone to check on Google maps]”

Student B: “I think Kampar is somewhere here [points to some cards in the timeline].”

Student A: “Ok this [shows the Google map to group members] is Malaysia. Kampar is here and Kuala Lumpur is here and then they go down to Singapore”.

An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

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