This paper will discuss the development of a research protocol for teacher engagement with the innovative BEACONING platform for authoring and delivery of gamified learning experiences. BEACONING is a Horizon 2020 project with 15 partners across 9 European countries, aimed at ‘Breaking Educational Barriers with Contextualised and Pervasive Gameful Learning’. The platform developed allows teachers to author desktop, mobile and location based ‘Gamified Lesson Plans’, and track the progress made by their students. Although originally intended for STEM teaching and learning with 16-24 year olds, the platform has attracted interest from teachers of other age-groups and disciplines.
Coventry University, as lead partner for the BEACONING project, has conducted a number of small-scale pilots to complement the largescale pilots taking place in France, Turkey, Romania. This paper will consider the rationale, challenges and opportunities for engaging teachers and students from the University, University College, and local Secondary and Primary Schools in the pilot. The pilot protocol developed places the needs and interests of the research participants at the heart of the research process. Challenges inherent to this approach are addressed, alongside the argument that upholding agency and co-creative engagement of participants leads to valuable emergent communication
that will enrich the research findings and future exploitation plans for the platform.
Modes of engagement reviewed in development of the protocol include student as teacher-author, teachers as teacher-author, and researcher as author on behalf of the teacher. Gamified Lesson Plans authored during the pilot span subject areas ranging from Data Management to Modern Languages, Ancient Greece and Cookery. Methods of dissemination include play by students at desktop workstations and on mobile devices using QR (Quick Response) codes, Beacons and GPS (Global Positioning System) to customise the learning experience to chosen locations. Gamified Lesson Plans include meta-games with contrasted structures of basic, linear and interactive narrative. These meta-games are interjected with educational mini-games whose content is customised by the authoring teacher. Mini-games range from subject-specific, game specific, to generic games in which the author can extend their creativity to use a range of multimedia content for a variety of student (player) interactions.
Reflecting on the development, use and evaluation of this pilot protocol, the author will consider approaches required to support the flourishing of co-creative engagement of participants and be receptive to emergent communication, whether as a single previously unheard voice, or of feedback as polyphony.
Subsequently written and published as a book chapter.