Game Educators Summit

The theme of this year’s game educators’ summit, to be held in conjunction with Sweden Game Conference is Game Literacy.

When? Thursday October 3, 13:00-16:00
Where? Kulturiet at Skövde Kulturhus, Trädgårdsgatan 9, Skövde
Theme? Game Literacy (Spelkunnighet)

What does the term Game Literacy mean to us as Game Educators? How can we work together to promote Game Literacy (to co-arrange game literacy events, seminars, networking, etc.)? Is this an issue with which we should engage, and how? What kind of organization should we be part of, or create, to be able to be an active partner in the MIK Sverige network?

Digital games make up an ever-increasing portion of the fragmented media landscape and discussions that have had a more obvious place in connection to other media concerning for example influence campaigns and the lack of ability to express oneself have been difficult to find in the games sphere. To find a context for discussions concerning game literacy is increasingly important, particularly currently when alarming signals concerning problematic gaming, screen time regulation, and hard-hitting commercialism are evident in game development and game culture communities. A partner who can lead discussions about these issues, one with deep knowledge about games as culture, the role of play, and games as a foundation for societal development is necessary. Such a partner, one based in the multi thousand-year-old history of games, but who also has a solid understanding of contemporary digital and on-line forms of play would be ideal. Could such a partner be Game Educators? Game Educators could potentially generate constructive meeting places and increase and support critical issues concerning games, gaming, players, and not least, games as forms of culture and cultural expression with high social impact.

The seminar will feature presentations followed by round table discussions of some central themes in Game Literacy.

Speakers

Johan Holmberg, Filmpedagogerna
Johan is a long time Media Literacy advocate specializing in film literacy. He is also representing Filmpedagogerna in the Swedish Media Literacy Network as well as being a presentative for Sweden in the European Union Media Literacy Network.

Aya Winsi, SVEROK
Aya is an analyst and researcher at SVEROK, a Swedish umbrella organization for gaming clubs. Aya will present SVEROK´s report “Extermister i Gamingvärlden” (Extermists in the World of Gaming) and share insights into how to create a safer gaming environment, not least for the younger players.

Additional and Related Information about Media and Information Literacy

Game Literacy is the game related equivalent of MIL, Media and Information Literacy. In Swedish MIL Is abbreviated as MIK, Medie och InformationsKunnighet. The UN organization UNESCO is an international unifying force for Media Literacy questions, and it supports the central questions concerning how citizens understand media and how media works, as well as what kinds of influence and power media has within culture. Efforts are put into teaching source criticism and the ability for common citizens to express themselves in different media forms. Diversity and equality are also important questions in UNESCO’s work with Media Literacy.

In Sweden there is a national network for Media Literacy, MIK Sverige. The network is administered by the Swedish Agency for the Media (Mediemyndigheten) and there are member organizations such as the Swedish Film Institute, the Swedish Film regions, Filmpedagogerna, the Swedish Psychological Defense Agency, the Swedish School Board, Nordicom (centre for Nordic media research, situated at the University of Gothenburg), as well as within around 20 other organizations and agencies. There are also regional Media Literacy networks, for example a network run by Västra Götalandsregionen, VGR. The Division of Game Development at the University of Skövde has been a member of the regional MIL network since 2022.

The Swedish Agency for the Media defines Media Literacy as follows: MIL is about citizens’ understanding the role of media’s societal role, to be able to find, analyze and critically evaluate information and be able to express themselves by creating content for different media formats.

Concerning film and moving images and Media Literacy, there are several organizations that work closely with schools and in other instances were young people are active. Those organizations concentrate on identifying and sharing knowledge about how film and other moving images, such as commercials, are used to spread cultural messages or even political propaganda. Often this is taught by holding workshops, that is to support understanding by actively doing.

Council of Swedish Games Researchers

Swedish games research springs from a broad multidisciplinary flora that covers everything from technology, ethics, media, design, entrepreneurship and more.

The Council of Swedish Games Researchers, (Svenska Spelforskarrådet, SSFR) is an interest organization that works to strengthen shed light on Swedish games research. The organization is an association of game researchers active in Sweden.The first SSFR symposium was held at the Sweden Game Conference 2022 and has since been a permanent feature during the conference.

Per Backlund, Professor at the University of Skövde, is chairman of the Council of Swedish Games Researchers. An important focus for SSFR is, according to Per, to strengthen both education and research on games and game development.

“This means getting the games industry to understand the importance of academic education, as well as the universities' need for collaboration. We also need to inform research funders about the special conditions that prevail around a new and multidisciplinary research area such as games.”

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