The INTERACT visit
The domain of the INTERACT Travel Grant to China reported on this webpage was that of Technology-Enhanced Learning (TEL), with a specific focus on narrative environments and game-based learning.
Overall, TEL covers a variety of areas, from conventional tutoring systems and multi-media applications, researched for many years, to more recent applications of leading age interactive graphics, augmented and mobile technologies and Artificial Intelligence This has taken the field from more factual areas such as science and mathematics into those where social and political interaction, creativity and attitudes and behaviour are more important and has involved research into narrative learning environments, games-based learning and modelling affect and empathy in learning environments. The recent joint ESRC-EPSRC call for proposals in TEL underlines the growing importance of this research area.
Learning environments are now being developed based on theories from areas such as narrative, games, drama and the performing arts. Readership theory has been applied to help shift the focus more clearly to that of the participants. Social Constructivism has been influential within mainstream education and the design of educational technology alike for the latter part of the twentieth century, requiring both learners and teachers to be active participants in a process of mediated communication.
Based on the popularity and strong motivational effect of computer games among young people, educators have started to consider how computer games can be used in educational settings. They are seen as a means of encouraging learners who may lack interest or confidence and of enhancing their self-esteem. As well as developing problem solving, reasoning and team work skills, computer games can be integrated more tightly with specific domains within the curriculum, for example, literacy and narrative development.