Evolving Playful and Creative Activities When School Children Develop Game-Based Designs

  • Eva BrooksEmail author
  • Jeanette Sjöberg
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering book series (LNICST, volume 265)


The presence of digital technologies in classroom settings is relentlessly getting stronger and has shown to have powerful playful qualities. In recent years, digital game-based learning (DGBL) have been introduced in schools. In this paper we investigate an innovative approach to game-based learning, namely to use game design activities as motivators for developing children’s creative and social skills as well as other kinds of learning scenarios, e.g. computational. It is based on two cases, where game design activities by means of a narrative approach were applied in both analogue and digital form. The unit of analysis is game design activities. Hence, game design activities with the participating children (3rd graders, 9–10 years of age), creative materials and technologies, and children’s actions as well as interactions are analyzed. The research questions posed in this study are: (1) What activities develop when school children design games in two cases, as an analogue activity, and as an activity including technology?; and (2) How do the learning environment, including the artefacts, employed mediate these activities? The outcomes of the study indicate that the game design workshop session which included both creative material and technology unfolded more combinational activities, which indicate that the inclusion of technology facilitated a more critical design decision making. However, the game design workshop session including only creative material exhibited a more thorough knowledge about what the material could do and what the children themselves could do with the material, which seemed to result in more playful interactions between the children.


Playfulness Creativity Game-based design activities Learning environment Learning resources Primary school children Exploratory activity Transformative activity 


  1. 1.
    Camilleri, D.: Minding the gap. Proposing a teacher learning-training framework for the integration of robotics in primary schools. Inform. Educ. 16(2), 165–179 (2017)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Sorensen, E.K., Andersen, H.V.: Learning together apart – the impact on participation when using dialogic educational technologies for kids with attention and developmental deficits. In: Brooks, Anthony L., Brooks, E. (eds.) ArtsIT/DLI -2016. LNICST, vol. 196, pp. 264–271. Springer, Cham (2017). Scholar
  3. 3.
    Sorensen, E.K., Andersen, H.V.: Amplifying the process of inclusion through a genuine marriage between pedagogy and technology. In: Proceedings of the European Distance and E-Learning Network 2016 Annual Conference. EDEN, Budapest (2016)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    OECD: The Future of Education and Skills. Education 2030. Paris, France (2018)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    UNESCO: A Guide for Ensuring Inclusion and Equity in Education. Education 20130. Paris, France (2017)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Spires, H., Turner, K., Lester, J.: Twenty-first century skills and game based learning. In: EdMediaL World Conference on Educational Media and Technology. Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (ACCE) (2008)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Bellance, J., Brandt, R. (eds.): 21st Century Skills: Rethinking How Students learn. Solution Tree Press, Leading Edge (2010)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Van Eck, R.N.: Digital game-based learning: it’s not just the digital natives who are restless. EDUCAUSE Rev. 41(2), 16–18 (2006)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Nousiainen, T., Kangas, M., Rikala, J., Vesisenabo, M.: Teacher competencies in game-based pedagogy. Teach. Teach. Educ. 74, 85–97 (2018)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Gjedde, L.: Designing for motivational immersive learning through narrative role-play scenarios. In: E-Learn: World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate Government, Healthcare and Higher Education. Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (ACCE), Chesapeake (2015)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Bruner, J.: Acts of Meaning. Harvard University Press, Cambridge (1990)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Bruner, J., Haste, H. (eds.): Making Sense: The Child’s Construction of the World. Methuen, New York (1987)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Eagle, S.: Learning in the early years: social interactions around picturebooks, puzzles and digital technologies. Comput. Educ. 59(1), 38–49 (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Gibson, J.J.: The Theory of Affordances. In: Shaw, R.E., Bransford, J. (eds.) Perceiving, Acting, and Knowing: Toward an Ecological Psychology, pp. 67–82. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc., Hillsdale (1977)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Van Leeuwen, T.: Introducing Social Semiotics, pp. 219–247. Routledge, London (2005)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Petersson, E., Brooks, A.: Virtual and physical toys: open-ended features for non-formal learning. Cyber Psychol. Behav. 9(2), 196–199 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Biskjaer, M.M., Dalsgaard, P.: Toward a constrating oriented pragmatism understanding of design creativity. In: Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Design Creativity (ICDC 2012), Glasgow, UK, 18–20 September, pp. 65–74 (2012)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Dewey, J.: Democracy and Education. The Free Press, New York (1966)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Schön, D.A.: The theory of inquiry: Dewey’s legacy to education. Curriculum Inq. 22(2), 119–139 (1992)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Sullivan, F.R.: Serious and playful inquiry: epistemological aspects of collaborative creativity. Educ. Technol. Soc. 14, 55–65 (2011)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Abt, C.: Serious Games. Viking Press, New York (1970)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Krange, I., Ludvigsen, S.: The historical and situated nature of design experiments: implications for data analysis. J. Comput. Assist. Learn. 25(3), 268–279 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Knoblauch, H.: Videography: focused ethnography and video analysis. In: Knoblauch, H., Schnettler, B., Raab, J., Soeffner, H.-G. (eds.) Video Analysis: Methodology and Methods, pp. 69–84. PeterLang, Frankfurt am Main (2009)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Greimas, A.J.: Actants, actors, and figures. on meaning: selected writings in semiotic theory. In: Theory and History of Literature, vol. 38, pp. 106–120. U of Minnesota P, Minneapolis (1973/1987)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Propp, V.: Morphology of the Folktale, 2nd edn. University of Texas Press, Austin (1928/1968)Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Heath, C.H., Hindmarsh, J., Luff, P.: Video in Qualitative Research. Sage, London (2010)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Fereday, J., Muir-Cochrane, E.: Demnonstrating rigor using thematic analysis: a hybrid approach of inductive and deductive coding and theme development. Int. J. Qual. Methods 5(1), 80–92 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Braun, V., Clarke, V.: Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qual. Res. Psychol. 3(2), 77–101 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Brooks, A., Petersson, E.: Raw emotional signalling, via expressive behaviour. In: Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Artificial Reality and Telexistence, Christchurch, New Zealand, pp. 133–141 (2005)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© ICST Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Aalborg UniversityAalborgDenmark
  2. 2.Halmstad UniversityHalmstadSweden

Personalised recommendations