Serious games to support learning of rare intangible cultural expressions
The paper deals with the adoption of Serious Games (SGs) in the specific area of Intangible Cultural Heritage Education (ICH). The transmission of some cultural expressions, like rare traditional singing or dancing, is more related to the acquisition of procedural knowledge (i.e. how to perform some tasks, like a dance step) rather than to declarative knowledge (i.e. knowledge that can be declared or stated through words or symbol systems, e.g. music notation). Coherently, so far knowledge in these areas has been transmitted mainly by observation or imitation of experts/performers in real contexts. Grounded on the research results in Game Based Learning and on the opportunity offered by cuttingedge sensor technologies, the i-Treasures project exploits the interesting potential of Serious Games in the ICH field. As a matter of fact, the capacity of games to train motor skills and to support sensorimotor learning, together with their ability to enhance engagement and motivation, are the main elements at the heart of our choice. In the paper, we discuss in depth the theoretical rationale behind the adoption of Serious Games i-Treasures, also in the light of their current use in Cultural Heritage Education. Furthermore, the paper describes the main game design principles adopted by the i-Treasures project to address the specificities of various artistic expressions and to make the games sound and effective tools to support practice and learning.