Design-Researching Gamestar Mechanic: Integrating Sound Learning Theory into a Game about Game Design

Design-Researching Gamestar Mechanic: Integrating Sound Learning Theory into a Game about Game Design

Ivan Alex Games (Michigan State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-781-7.ch023
OnDemand PDF Download:
$30.00
List Price: $37.50

Abstract

This chapter presents the results of a three-year design research study of Gamestar Mechanic, a multiplayer online role-playing game designed to teach middle school children to think like designers by exposing them to key practices behind good computer game production. Using discourse-based ethnographic methods, it examines the ways in which the multimodal meaning representations of the language of games (Gee, 2003) provided within Gamestar Mechanic, have helped learners think and communicate in increasingly sophisticated ways with and about game design. It also examines the implications of these language and literacy skills for other areas of players’ lives, as well as for the improvement of the game as a learning environment over time.
Chapter Preview
Top

Introduction

This chapter presents the results of a three-year design research study of Gamestar Mechanic, a project’s whose goal has been to produce, deploy, and assess a game-based learning environment intended to foster the adoption by middle school children of a designer mindset. Such a mindset involves a set of language and literacy skills involving digital media that a growing number of scholars recognize as fundamental to learners in the 21st century (New London Group, 1996; Perkins, 1995; diSessa, 2002; Partnership for 21st Century Skills, 2006). The game aims to achieve its curricular goals through an online multiplayer role-playing game experience that places learners in the role of game designers (Games, 2008; Salen, 2007).

The chapter begins by presenting the background of the project, its initial aims and the learning theory upon which it was built. It then presents the design research methodology used in its production, and discusses how the core findings in each of three research phases contributed to its improvement as a game-based learning environment. It concludes with a discussion of its implications for learners outside of games, and for educational practice.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Reset