Tales of Iona is an innovative and free game-based learning experience for upper Primary and lower Secondary learners created by the University of Aberdeen School of Education in conjunction with Hyper Luminal Games LTD on behalf of the Iona Cathedral Trust: a Scottish charity (SC017989) which seeks to “to advance the education of the public in relation to the history, culture, and heritage of Iona Cathedral and the Island of Iona”.
The University development team, comprising Professor Do Coyle, Katrina Foy, Aloyise Mulligan, and Dr David Smith (Principal Investigator / Project Lead), sought to create through collaboration with Hyper Luminal Games LTD a relevant learning experience, which would combine clear pedagogical principles with the best of contemporary electronic game design.
The game-based learning experience has been designed to support learning both inside and outside a classroom setting.
Pedagogical Principles Underpinning the Game Design
A variety of pedagogical principles permeate Tales of Iona:
- Thinking Skills: Puzzles are a key feature of the game design. They seek to challenge learners to think at a higher order level.
- Instructional Knowledge: Some instructional knowledge is provided through the game narrative.
- Curiosity: A pedagogy of curiosity / pedagogy of the question is central to the design of Tales of Iona – through the design of the narrative, in which ‘nuggets’ spark interest, and puzzles through to the artwork and centrality of the virtual library in the game.
- Interdisciplinary Learning: The ‘library’ reflects the interdisciplinary possibilities that have been considered in the creation of the game.
- Wiki: Tales of Iona seeks to use wiki pedagogy in order to enable learners to be a part of the ‘making’, construction, process through which their learner voice can be expressed.
- International Community of Learning: The wikis provide the opportunity for learners to engage in an international community of learning.
Tales of Iona is powered by Unity WebGL and is playable on the following web browsers: Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Internet Explorer. It can also be downloaded for offline playability.