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Using Computer Game Design For Learning
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Using Computer Game Design For Learning


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An aim of the Curriculum for Excellence is to develop successful learners. This seminar considers how to create a climate for successful learning and how to recognize children’s progress in this area. …

An aim of the Curriculum for Excellence is to develop successful learners. This seminar considers how to create a climate for successful learning and how to recognize children’s progress in this area. The seminar is based on a case study about the benefits of educational game design in a primary school classroom. Our case study demonstrates that children find making their own computer games extremely motivating. They clearly enjoyed meeting the challenge of mastering the technology to express their own ideas.

Published in: Technology, Education

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  • Transcript

    • 1. Using Computer Game Design to Foster Successful Learners Dr Judy Robertson Heriot-Watt University Cathrin Howells Creative Contexts
    • 2. Overview
      • In the Adventure Author project, we have been working with young people as they make their own computer games.
      • In this talk we will discuss why game making is a rich task for learning and how it fits in with the Curriculum for Excellence in Scotland.
      • We will look at the “successful learner” strand in particular
      • We will give illustrative examples from a recently completed field study in a primary school
    • 3. Curriculum for Excellence in Scotland
      • Confident individuals
      • Responsible citizens
      • Effective contributors
      • Successful learners
        • Think independently and creatively
        • Have enthusiasm and motivation for learning
        • Learn independently and as part of a group
        • Make reasoned evaluations
    • 4. Field studies
      • We have conducted various community education field studies with the Neverwinter Nights game authoring toolkit
      • This year we decided to look at a more formal learning environment:
        • 8 week field study in a state funded primary school in Dundee
        • 30x 9-10 year old children, one class teacher, one ICT specialist teacher, 3 researchers
        • Each pupil had 40 minutes to work on game per session
      • We’re now working on improving the game making software.
    • 5. NWN demo
    • 6. Learning activities
      • Demo software skills (e.g. conversation editing) to whole group
      • Discuss model games (by adults or other learners) in group
      • Give children goal for session (e.g. to have finished an interactive conversation) OR
      • Give children time for exploratory play – try out what is possible in toolset and game
      • Plenary sessions for sharing what was learned, exchanging tips
      • Peer play testing
      • Teaching visitors how to play
    • 7. Enthusiasm and motivation for learning
      • “ It was the best thing I've done.” (Alex Rider)
      • “ I really, really enjoyed it . . . Thank you for letting me make my own game.” (John)
      • Something novel:
      • “ It was an opportunity – not everyone gets to do this.” (Jack)
      • Best thing:
      • “ The challenge of making the game – hard things.” (James Bond)
    • 8. Determination to reach high standards of achievement
      • New computing skills
      • Demands of the NWN toolset
      • Area transitions!
      • New thinking skills
      • Orchestration of game ideas
      • Understanding the player's perspective
      • Working with constraints of time and hardware and creative flexibility
    • 9. Learning independently
      • “My favourite bit was when I played my game and see what went wrong.” (Rene)
      • “He . . . insisted I show him what he was doing wrong rather than doing it for him.” (Researcher’s notes)
      • CJ was able to generalise how to make portals after being shown one example by a researcher.
      • Brush fire effect . . .
    • 10. Learning in groups
      • whole class discussions beginning and ending each workshop
      • informal opportunities for paired and small group interactions
        • collaboration
        • informal peer-tutoring
      • structured peer-testing sessions
      • occasional needs-related groups
    • 11. Linking and applying learning
      • implicit
        • use of inference
        • supporting the player
        • editing and improving writing
      • explicit
        • “ Well, I wrote a story and now I’m transforming it and making it better.” (Nadia)
        • “ It’s a better way of learning like, better sort of language work, cos its more fun and it helps you with computing as well… it helps you with your conversation… you think about it a lot more to make your game better” (Predator)
      • cross-curricular opportunities
    • 12. Reasoned evaluation
      • identifying and rectifying errors
      • decisions about changes to games
      • implications of sequences of decisions
      • effective game design
      • evaluation of software
    • 13. Creative thinking: evolution of ideas
      • The toolset caused game ideas to change because:
        • It was not possible or was too difficult to accomplish original idea
        • The author discovered a new feature of the software and thus new possibilities
        • Some children deliberately relied on game ideas emerging from toolset (rather than planning up front)
    • 14. Creative thinking: evolution of ideas (2)
      • Ideas also changed because the author:
      • Realised plans were too complex and scaled back
      • Grew in skill and gained confidence to tackle more complex ideas
      • Forgot original ideas!
      • Realised the game was incoherent
      • Wanted to accommodate peer feedback
      • Had to prioritise because of time constraints
    • 15. Implications
      • What would it take to spread this success more widely?
      • Teacher training:
        • In technology skills
        • In constructivist learning approaches
        • In diagnosing successful learner component skills
      • Game capable hardware in schools (in this case graphics cards)
      • A curriculum which truly values cross curricular flexibility
    • 16. Conclusions
      • Game making creates a rich environment for learning. Its complexity is an asset.
      • It can foster the development of successful learning skills, including creativity
      • Incorporating learning of this style in classrooms will be challenging…
      • … but the benefits could be great within the Curriculum for Excellence framework.
    • 17. Any questions?
      • Thank you!
      • [email_address]
      • [email_address]
    • 18.