Co-Creating Games with Children: A Case Study

Co-Creating Games with Children: A Case Study

Karen Mouws (iMinds-SMIT, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium) and Lizzy Bleumers (iMinds-SMIT, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium)
DOI: 10.4018/IJGCMS.2015070102
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In this paper, the authors investigate the role of and relationship between creative production practices (e.g. problem-solving and self-evaluation) and cooperative learning mechanisms (e.g. building trust and group processing) in a case of game co-design. 21 Belgian school children created game concepts together with a game designer, their teacher, and co-design facilitators. During a project week at school, participants moved from idea generation to presenting game concepts through collaboratively created prototypes. This case study, combining observation and survey methods, reveals that self-evaluation and openness to sharing ideas emerged spontaneously, but the critical analysis of digital games and crediting existing work require support. Moreover, as creative choices become part of group deliberation, progress in the creative production process critically depends on group functioning. The authors conclude that by grounding co-design in theory on cooperative learning and media literacy, co-design activities may be better understood and new avenues for supporting co-creators can be identified.
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Theoretical Background And Research Questions

To scrutinize the Kids Game Lab case, we will use two theoretical lenses: one to address the creative and productive facets of game co-creation, and another to explore its cooperative and instructive facets (see Figure 1). For the former, we consider the media literacy perspective, focusing on participation in creative media production (Kafai & Peppler, 2011). In respect to the latter, we review theoretical work on social interdependence theory as a means to approach cooperative learning (Johnson & Johnson, 1999, 2009).

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