Games today are loaded with purpose and meaning: games to help you learn, connect, explore, effect change and have fun. We provide the tools so educators and learners can be actively involved as game makers.
The ability to create games allows learners to do something real, to articulate their knowledge in new ways, to find and solve problems, to think and collaborate as designers.
Game development offers new, flexible resources that meet student learning needs, while addressing curriculum content, skills and capabilities. Gamefroot, our web-based game builder, is key to this, with its ease of use and educational features such as easy-access tutorials.
Gamelab achieves its mission by working with teachers. This ensures that our work is fit for purpose and aligns with curriculum standards and criteria wherever possible.
Why game design?
Game design as a method of teaching and learning is the subject of several research projects and academic studies. It’s a growing field.
We think game design can support personalised learning, a classroom maker culture, students as knowledge creators, design thinking, STEM career pathways, future-focused learning and creativity.
So what makes it work?
Here are a few links the Gamelab team found useful:
Gaming Literacies: A Game Design Study in Action
Katie Salen investigated game design as pedagogy. She found students learned systems thinking, critical problem solving, art and aesthetics, writing and storytelling, design, game logic and rules. All that plus programming skills.
MAking Games In CollaborAtion for Learning (MAGICAL) Final Report
This European project found learner choice in deciding the core ‘game idea’ improves engagement and motivation. Students are more creative once they are familiar with the game-making environment – and they are then ready for quality collaboration. Students exhibit higher thinking when they understand that using a game engine involves a design process, not just trial and error.
Making games in the classroom: Benefits and gender concerns.
Judy Robertson evaluates what happens when 11–12 year old students made their own computer games. Students could improve games by more awareness of the needs of the player. And, peer review is a chance to use critical analysis skills, and for game designers to improve their game. Interestingly, more girls in this study made changes to their game after being reviewed.
Students Designing Video Games about Immunology: Insights for Science Learning
This paper shows how subject-specific knowledge can be brought to life as students design games on a topic. Game design helped them to assess their own knowledge and present that in an interactive format.
A case study of educational game design by kids and for kids
This study looks at computer games designed by three students in a 5th grade elementary classroom. Findings: designing educational games allows students to represent their understanding in concrete and personally meaningful ways. It brought diversity of ideas to the classroom. There was more sense of community in the class.