There are an estimated 15 million active gamers in Australia. Gaming is addictive because it can make the gamer feel great about the ‘work’ and the successes that they experience in a game. Games reward the gamer and give immediate feedback, which engages and motivates the gamer to play more.
There are numerous potential benefits of gaming, such as improving educational learning, maintaining memory in the elderly, increasing human happiness, bringing people together, promoting problem-solving skills and gaming for social innovation. It makes sense then that our students should go one step further and also understand how games are developed.
Somerset College leverages students’ interest in gaming and the desire for learning through the Year 8 Design Game Programming subject, where students create an educational game for children. Each student must first investigate the educational benefits of games and develop a design brief that outlines their own game idea. Students then research the main elements and common features of popular games and develop detailed design specifications. Popular elements of gaming that are explored, include game scoring, levelling-up, user interaction via input devices, and the theory behind colour choices. Computer programming principles are also learned and applied to develop the students’ functional computer games, which align to the new Australian Digital Technologies curriculum.
The students enjoy developing their own computer games and the knowledge gained has improved their digital literacy, problem solving and critical thinking skills. Design lessons also tend to be very collaborative in nature, so students also gain improved communication and teamwork skills. Most importantly, our Design students learn in an authentic way and have fun at the same time.
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