Visitor from Norway On a Quest to Improve Teaching through Games

ISR is hosting visiting professor Alf Inge Wang, from August 2013 to July 2013, on invitation by his ISR faculty host Director Richard N. Taylor.  Wang is a professor in game technology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and is also co-founder/inventor of Kahoot! – a spin-off company that focuses on game-based learning.  Software engineering, learning, and game-technology have been at the heart of  Wang’s teaching and research since 2006. 

This is Wang’s second stint as a visitor at ISR; he was previously a visiting researcher in 2008/2009 and enjoyed both the working environment at UC Irvine and southern California so much that he and his family came back.  He chose ISR/UC Irvine because he believes “this is one of the best, if not the best, research institution in the world for software engineering and game technology, especially in the work carried out by ISR Prof. Walt Scacchi.”

Taylor/Wang imageWhile at ISR, Wang plans to conduct experiments related to game-based learning, participate in various seminars and workshops, and write a number of research articles based on current and previous research.  One of his more specific plans is to write a book chapter in an upcoming book on software engineering and games, which Prof. Walt Scacchi is editing. 

“The main focus of my research will be on how to use games in an educational context most efficiently to motivate, engage and teach students better,” says Wang. One of his most successful projects has been Kahoot! which began in 2007.  The idea behind Kahoot! was to bring a game into the classroom where the teacher as well as all the students could play together in a ‘game show’ styled quiz game using their own devices.  This is very similar to existing student-response systems out there, but the Kahoot! system has been designed from the ground up as a game. Wang’s Kahoot! team has carried out several experiments with their Kahoot! system, which have been very promising – and they are planning to do more experiments here in California and more specifically at UC Irvine. 

Wang’s stay has proven very fruitful so far and has opened many new connections between NTNU and UCI. 

If you are interested in trying out Wang’s game-based learning system, go to where you can try out Kahoot! for free. 

A video of Prof. Wang’s presentation “The Use of Game-Based Learning in the Classroom” which includes a demonstration of Kahoot! in action can be found on the ISR YouTube channel at:

This article appeared in ISR Connector issue: