Weaving Game-Based Learning with the Writing Process- Post 3

Game Liftoff!

Finally the Big Day had arrived.  Students knew their morning would be devoted to playing, therefore there was great excitement in the air.  Players looked at the different options and chose which games they wanted to play.  Game designers prepared their games and made the last arrangements for them to be played without any assistance.  Padlocks were reset, servers were connected, worlds were opened for the players to start playing! 

img_3461

Most of the games were very successful and the players could play autonomously without needing the help of the game designers. They were immersed in the experience trying to get out of labyrinths, choosing the correct doors, solving clues, opening padlocks or sorting out obstacles.

Other games had some technical problems and could not reach to the end of the fantasy story.  The hardest assessment is the reality of a game being played.  

Players were the strictest audience, assessing their peers as they played. However, they all enjoyed playing and knew from their personal experience how hard creating a game can be.

We adults were able to notice that thimg_3467ere was complete concentration and immersion while the games were being played, but at the same time a playful atmosphere reigned in the class and children were having fun.

Before we watch them play, let’s watch designers describing their games.

A Game in a Box

A Game in a Box from Olivospkids on Vimeo.

Minecraft Game

Minecraft Game Explained by Titi Tofi Emma Jose from Olivospkids on Vimeo.

The following video shows the students playing both types of games:

Playing the Games

Playing the Games! from Olivospkids on Vimeo.

Feedback and reflection

On the following day, once all the games were over, our students gave us feedback on the whole process, that is to say, the design of the games based on our fantasy stories and finally the actual playing of the games. To our surprise, opinions were divided, some of them had liked the design process much more than the playing, and others had loved to have a “morning to play” and to try the games of their friends. But where everybody agreed is on voting this project as their favourite project of the year!

Students’ reflection on the design process

Learning a new skill from Olivospkids on Vimeo.

Students’ reflection after playing the games

“The Minecraft Game “Talking to the Walls” was very creative. At first, I didn’t understand how to open the books, but then I realised how to do it. It was very challenging. The story gave me a lot of intrigue so I wanted to keep on reading it! The game was very original and as the instructions were very clear, I could understand them perfectly well. I got to the end of the story without any problem!”  by Maria W.

“The Boxes Game “The World down the Street” was great! The boxes’ design was really very good. Rules were very clear to understand. The clues were easy except for clue number 3 which was very difficult. Perhaps they could have included some more information. The game was very organised, fun and challenging. I liked the fact that the certificate box was inside another one. The fantasy story was very hooking!” by Olivia F.

Our Reflection: Thinking out of the Box

One of the most challenging aspects of this project was for us teachers to leave our comfort zone and break out from the traditional classroom. It was hard for us to model what we expected from our students as game designers, as this was our first attempt.

Even though there were some technical problems and lack of experience involved, the final outcome exceeded our expectations.  We actually had students code in an analog way by setting instructions and options for the player to choose from.  We learnt, as the games were designed that analog coding was not an easy task to accomplish without the help of a programme or instructions.

Highly effective collaboration was a necessary ingredient, especially in Minecraft.  You could watch them work together as a perfect team to achieve a shared goal.  There was nobody really in charge, yet everything was being created, modified, tested, with changes being made as needed along the way.

Watching our students go through this process was extremely satisfying as we could see all the high order thinking skills involved.

Hopefully, our students are taking with them this expertise which they will be able to transfer to other areas or situations in the future, being this our greatest reward.



Categories: Coding, Primary School, Professional Development Contest 2016

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