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Journal Article

The Playful and Reflective Game Designer  pp271-280

Gunver Majgaard

© Jun 2014 Volume 12 Issue 3, Special Edition for ECGBL 2013, Editor: Carlos Vaz de Carvalho and Paula Escudeiro, pp227 - 311

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Abstract

Abstract: A group of first‑semester engineering students participated in a game design course. The aim of the course was to learn how to design computer games and programming skills by creating their own games, thereby applying their game‑playing experien ces to gain knowledge about game design. The aim was for students to develop a more critically reflective perspective on video games and game design. In applying their game experiences, they developed their own digital prototypes and participated in refl ective discussions on the concept of games: what makes them interesting and how they are constructed. The students used the GameMaker programming tool, which can be used without any prior programming knowledge. The tool allows for the easy development of 2D game prototypes.The didactic approach was based on play as a lever for the design process, and on constructionistic and reflective learning philosophies. Playing games constituted an integral element of the design process; new code added to the program was tested by playing the game. The students were constantly alternating between playing and adding and revising code. The learning environment where games were played and developed could be considered to be a sandbox where experimentation was a motivati onal factor for the students, as they could make mistakes and try out creative ideas. Although the constructionistic learning approach promoted creative and innovative learning, it did not develop competencies in articulation and analysis. The aim was for students to reflect on games in order to promote explicit knowledge. Based on the theory, we consider retrospective reflective discussions in the classroom and their programming experiences reinforced the learning process. In summary, we present the stud ents' first progression from native consumers in the game world to becoming reflective designers. Along their journey, they developed a reflective practice and an understanding of the profession they were entering. The article also throws light on the ver y dynamic and fruitful relationship that ex

 

Keywords: Keywords: Learning, play, constructionism, reflection, game-based learning, game design, serious games, university pedagogy

 

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Journal Article

Reinventing Papert's Constructionism — Boosting Young Children's Writing Skills with e‑Learning Designed for Dyslexics  pp227-234

Karin Tweddell Levinsen

© Nov 2008 Volume 6 Issue 3, Editor: Shirley Williams, Laura Czerniewicz, pp161 - 254

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Abstract

Since the consent to the Salamanca Statement on special needs education from 1994, e‑learning developers have focused on tools aimed to support dyslexic learners. The importance of these efforts is on display every year in the Special Aids exhibition area at the BETT‑event in London. ICT and e‑learning is now widely used in the special needs education for dyslexics. However, the Salamanca Statement also inspired the vision of The Spacious School and the idea that children with learning disabilities should be transferred from special classes and included in the ordinary classes in primary schools. In the beginning of this process, the children with special needs were present in the classroom with their compensational aid, e.g. e‑learning, ICT and special teacher support, and they were rarely included in the socially organised learning activities. Consequently, class teachers and subject teachers were not aware of the existence and potentials of the special compensational e‑learning and ICT tools. In recent years in Denmark, ICT has changed from being present in schools to becoming an available, everyday resource. That is, ICT and computers move out of the computer rooms and into every school room. I.e. most pupils use ICT, e‑learning and computers in various contexts whenever it seems convenient. The increasing use of ICT in schools has paved the way for new ways of including the children with special educational needs and while knowledge of dyslexic compensational e‑learning and ICT tools was earlier restricted to the special teachers, teachers in general have now become aware of the existence of these tools. Within the frame of a large scale research project in primary schools in Denmark (Project IT and Learning — PIL), this change of awareness led to teacher‑initiated experiments with the Danish e‑learning special needs‑software CD Ord in first and second grades. The teachers wanted to see whether these tools could inspire normal children as well as children with special educational needs to start writing their own stories. The paper presents the research findings from the empirical studies of experiments in Second grade. The paper concludes that most children in the experiments wrote longer and more complex stories than normally expected from this age‑group. The children with a visual learning style in particular demonstrated a significant progress.

 

Keywords: e-learning, writing skills, reading skills, storytelling, dyslexics, special needs, constructionism

 

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