Towards designing technology for classroom role-play


Classroom role-play is an interactive learning technique with a long history of success, but current attempts to augment it with technology limit the very interactions that make this technique successful. For example, digital role-play games often engage individual students at a computer, rather than creating rich social interactions among students. In order to design interactions that better support the core aspects of classroom role-play, we conducted interviews with teachers; we also interviewed role-play gamers to discover how traditional RPG techniques and technology can be used to enhance classroom role-play. In this paper we 1) explore the reasons instructors choose role-play for learning, such as giving students practice opportunities; 2) identify barriers to instructors using classroom role-play activities, such as time constraints and student discomfort; 3) report issues around integrating technology, such as the benefit of reducing cognitive load and the threat of distraction; and 4) highlight two areas where insights from role-playing games can inform the design of interactive learning systems for classroom role-play: by providing methods for emphasizing group success over individual achievement and by preserving the spirit of the experience.

Publication Title

CHI PLAY 2017 - Proceedings of the Annual Symposium on Computer-Human Interaction in Play