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When we give meanings to a physical space, we engage in place-making. With technologies, the place-making activities can be extended to virtual and hybrid spaces. In games, actual or virtual space can gain narrative and meaning transforming into a playce (i.e., a place for play). We suggest that playce-making (i.e., transforming a space into a playce) activities in the classroom may provide adolescents with a rich learning context for teamwork, problem-solving, and knowledge creation. In our study, we observed ninth graders’ engagements in game design projects at a Canadian suburban school. We discuss how learners created their own learning paths in transforming the actual space of their school, conceptually and typologically, into hybrid and virtual playces. Our research indicates that the typological transformation of space motivates learners to create or adopt narratives meaningful to them and their community from familiar spaces.
Background Play is an important part of the childhood. The learning potential of playing and creating non-digital games, like tabletop games, however, has not been fully explored. Aim The study discussed in this paper identified a range of activities through which learners redesigned a mathematics-oriented tabletop game to develop their ideas and competencies in an integrated STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) class. Method Third and fourth graders worked as teams to make changes on Triominos over a period of six weeks. Considering what could be changed from the original game, each group provided a different design for Triominos to accommodate the changes introduced. We gathered data through weekly observations of two classes (about 45 learners, ranging from age eight to ten) in a west-Canada school. In this paper, we present the works of three groups of three teammates. Results We found that any change made by learners not only influenced mechanics, dynamics, and aesthetics of the game but also helped engage learners, encourage unconventional ideas, promote learning, and solve problems. Based on our findings, we suggest redesigning games facilitated learners deepen their understanding of mathematical concepts as part of a designed game system in STEM classes.
Individuals develop skills and ideas when engaged in design practices. This forms a type of literacy that may differ from the traditional ideas of literacy. The study discussed in this paper took a design-based research methodology to design and implement a game re-design approach. We observed grade three and four students who were re-designing Triominos in a classroom focused on mathematical concepts. Students and the teacher decided to change several aspects of the pre-existing game in terms of aesthetics, mechanics, and dynamics. We collected data through weekly observations of two groups of 20 to 25 students.
Adolescents develop skills and ideas from their interest-driven practices, which shape a type of literacy that may differ from the traditional ideas of literacy. This paper takes a qualitative approach to identify adolescents’ activities through interest-driven participatory design. We interacted with grade 9 students at a Western Canadian school who were designing games in a Career and Technology Studies classroom. We collected data through weekly observations, group presentations, written individual reflections on their own designs, oral and written group peer feedback, and final interviews with group members. Based on literature review and our observations, we drew on a framework focusing on adolescents’ participation in exploring, developing, and creating designs based on their own interest. We advocate for adopting interest-driven participatory game design in technology classroom, to engage learners more in learning and developing necessary skills to thrive in their lives.
The number of video games that are developed based on real historical events and evidence is increasing. These history-based video games provide players learning opportunities, but a certain type of such games - first and third person shooters - has not been carefully examined for their potentials. Knowing what players say about their game experience - even if the information and knowledge are inaccurate - helps researchers understand what type of learning could happen with such games. In this paper, we propose a systematic approach to assessing games as learning environments, using the method of comparing authenticity of popular history-based video games. Through a qualitative data analysis, we studied players‚ comments on the web-based communication services, such as game forums, digital distribution platforms, and discussion websites. Casual players‚ conversations on these websites showed that there exist several learning potentials in the games for players including building their understanding about history and historical forces of the time, through personally relating to the specific events, social artifacts, and places.
Game play and game design require learners to think critically about contents within the game and to solve problems. We suggest that engaging learners in game design projects helps them understand school subjects deeply and develop important skills that individuals need in all situations in life (e.g., creative designs, strategic thinking). In this paper, we discuss what game design practices can afford for learners’ experience and development based on the recent game design projects that took place in two junior high schools in Western Canada.