Game Design as Pedagogy

Concurrent Session 3

Session Materials

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Brief Abstract

We will discuss game design as part of broader movement of active learning. Game design, like game play, readily fits into flipped and project-based learning pedagogies. Students must account for the many levels of their creation—as a narrative, as a game, as a journey to facilitate learning and self discovery.

Presenters

John Stewart is the Assistant Director of Digital Learning for the OU Center for Teaching Excellence. John is interested in developing learning environments to promote digital literacy and opportunities for undergraduate research. Before joining the center, John lectured on history of science at the University of Oklahoma and Missouri University of Science and Technology. He earned his Ph.D. in the History of Science from the University of Oklahoma.
Keegan Long-Wheeler is an educational technologist in the Center for Teaching Excellence at the University of Oklahoma. Keegan uses his background in science, pedagogy, and technical expertise to provide instructors with holistic solutions to their instructional and technological needs. Additionally, Keegan passionately creates open source professional development curriculum to engage faculty in digital literacy, experiential learning, game design, coding, and more! In particular, Keegan loves working with Domain of One's Own projects and his open professional development programs: GOBLIN eXperience Play, WebFest, Canvas Camp, and more!

Extended Abstract

Research conducted over the last twenty years has grounded game based learning and gamification in both behaviorist and constructivist pedagogical frameworks (Rooney 2012). However, there is still work to be done in assessing the pedagogical utility of game design in the classroom. Within the modern paradigm of ‘student creators,’ what are the pedagogical foundations for having students design games related to their coursework?

In this session, we will discuss game design as part of broader movement of active learning. Game design, like game play, readily fits into flipped and project-based learning pedagogies. For example, the game design framework allows students to reflect on the authenticity and fidelity of their game scenarios versus real world application of the skills and knowledge students convey in game design projects. This meta-reflection requires students to identify core concepts and embed them into narratives. Choosing game mechanics requires students to evaluate the best means of conveying content—a strength of game design over traditional project based learning. This iterative process of designing a game involves constant evaluation of core concepts and player experiences as students must account for the many levels of their creation—as a narrative, as a game, as a journey to facilitate learning and self discovery, etc. Using this framework of game design can engage students as teachers, as storytellers, and as problem solvers while simultaneously allowing for open-ended creativity.  

In this conversation, we will introduce this concept of game design as a pedagogical framework to start a conversation on the successes and challenges that instructors might face in the classroom. We will encourage participants will bring their own stories about students making and playing games.

List of planned discussion questions:

  • What skillsets are students practicing when engaged in the game design process?

  • What pedagogies are inherent in the game design process?

  • What challenges should instructors anticipate when bringing game design into the classroom? Do these challenges vary by analog/digital game design?

  • How can game design be used to empower student voice and yield authentic projects?

  • How can students make the world a better place using game design?

  • What tools/platforms are available for game design in the classroom?

  • How is game design accomplished in online learning spaces versus face-to-face?

  • How to do we support student game design projects? Technically? Pedagogically?

In sharing ideas and stories, participants are encouraged to reflect on both their successful course interactions and what they have learned from failed classroom interventions. As a group, we hope that participants will explore a shared pedagogical framework for implementing game design in their courses and engage with best practices.

During our conversations, we will provide a website where notes can be submitted and recorded to share beyond our session. This will also give online participants the opportunity to engage with these ideas. Additionally, materials for these discussions will be available online for us to share with attendees while also giving everyone a chance to participate in the conversation.