project descriptions

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Terry Lavender's "Homeless: It's No Game"

Can videogames change attitudes and behaviour, and if so, can the change be measured? Persuasive games, such as advergames, political games, health games, edugames and advocacy games, are growing in popularity but there is little empirical evidence for their effectiveness. Indeed, some have argued that their effectiveness either cannot or should not be measured empirically.

Yet, with corporations, organizations, politicians and social activists all investing time and money in these games, it can be argued that some measure of accountability would be useful.

Homeless: It’s No Game has been developed to test the effectiveness of videogames as persuasive agents. In the game, the player assumes the role of a homeless person who is trying to survive for 24 hours on the city streets. Subjects were surveyed on their attitudes towards homelessness and towards videogames both before and after playing the game and the results compared with a control group.

Although there was no significant difference in empathy towards the homeless after playing the game, a significant percentage of those who played the game self-reported that it changed their opinions of homeless people. Also of statistical significance was a shift in the perception of the main causes of homelessness. A follow-up survey to try to determine the direction of change in feelings towards homeless people and the persistence of the change is planned.

Attached are the speaking notes for my September 7 presentation on my videogame, Homeless: It's No Game

Update: I will be presenting a paper with further results and analysis at the European Games in Education conference in Barcelona in October, 2008. Once the conference is over, I will add a link to the paper.

Phillip Vannini Ferry Research

My name is Phillip Vannini. I am a professor in the School of Communication and Culture at Royal Roads University in Victoria

For some time now I have been doing research of an anthropological nature on life and culture on the BC Coast. My work focuses on the social ecology of movement across water--thus primarily examining the role played by BC Ferries in shaping everyday life sense of time, the meanings of space, daily routines and traditions on island and coastal communities, values toward land development, collective memory, regional identity, commerce, technology and material culture, and more.

I have already published a number of academic articles on the topic and I am now working on writing a book.

My anthropological research is of an ethnographic nature. That means that I'm NOT interested in collecting statistical information or similar "hard" facts. Instead, I'm interested in learning from people's stories, beliefs, and personal perspectives. All people who live in coastal and island communities have narratives, opinions, thoughts and experiences related to BC Ferries and to (as they say in their slogan) "life on the coast."

If you'd like to, you can learn a bit more about my work by reading this brief article:

My plan is to travel to every location served by BC Ferries over the next months. On my trips I like to meet with ferry travelers, community residents, and members of various associations and civic organizations to chat about the ferries and what they mean for the livelihood of the places they touch and they people they connect (or even disconnect).

I will be doing research intermittently in your area during the months of June and July. I would love the opportunity to meet with you at some point when I'm there.

Please don't think of this as a formal "interview." More simply, I just like to chat, perhaps over a cup of coffee/tea, about life on the island.