Digital Game Design Tutorial for Use in the Basic School: A Pedagogical Proposal

Digital Game Design Tutorial for Use in the Basic School: A Pedagogical Proposal

Míria Santanna dos Santos, Camila Peres, Marcelo A. R. Schmitt, Andre Peres
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5790-6.ch003
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The students of the twenty-first century are digital natives, presenting a nonlinear way of learning. The school, on the other hand, still keeps a sequential teaching structure. In order to approach the school of the students' reality, digital games can be an important educational tool. This can be done not only using educational games, but also by the creation of games. There are applications and software available online that allow the creation of games in a simple and accessible way. This process of building games enables students to mobilize various fields of knowledge and provide digital literacy, with the development of critical capacity. This chapter presents the theoretical foundations that justify the use of games in education, and a pedagogical proposal based on the construction of games, as well as tools that can be used to build digital games.
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The emergence of computers and internet contributed to promote democratisation of access to information and knowledge. However, this evolution of technologies has not been accompanied by a change in the current educational practices in the school. Students, digital natives (Prensky, 2001), when using the Internet, can access a variety of informations simultaneously, in a medium where all types of media converge. In this way, they developed a non-linear way of learning in clear opposition to the sequential curriculum that is developed in the school (Prensky, 2012).

Games have been a way used by the school to unite fun and education. It was from the New School movement that teaching pedagogies emerged, valuing the use of games in the classroom. Initially, it was employed as a form of relaxation of the proper educational activities and, later, as a natural form of teaching, since the child is intrinsically linked to the playful (Brougère, 1998). The digital games industry has grown so much that it is surpassing even the film industry (GEDIGames, 2014). Games have become more complex and creative (Mattar, 2010). If in the beginning the games evolved from culture (backgammon, checkers, chess), undergoing changes and adaptations according to the context in which they were used, from the 1960s onwards, games of authorship appeared, created by an author or by a team. The emergence of digital games has further contributed to the increase of complexity and the enhancement of creativity (Brougère, 2015). It has been a while since researchers in the field of education have realized the potential of digital games in the teaching and learning processes. João Mattar, for example, points out that the students learn from digital games many things that are not taught in school, such as teamwork, dealing with error, exploring and searching for resources (Mattar, 2010). According to a survey performed by Cetic - Regional Center of Studies for the Development of the Information Society,, only 31% of the teachers surveyed in Brazil developed activities by using computers, the internet and educational games with the students, and 52% of them employed lecture-base courses using the computer and the internet (, 2016). This is, therefore, a resource that is still little explored. There are several ways to work with games in the classroom. The games can be used as a resource for learning in certain content or for stimulating digital and media literacy (Buckingham, 2010). Beside playing games, students can also build them. Game design can be employed as a way of learning, in which students construct, adapt, analyze or modify games (Salem and Zimmerman, 2012a). Among game development methodologies, we highlight the interative design, which is focus on playtests and prototyping. During the playtests, the player´s experience is take as the base for design decisions. After building an initial prototype, it is tested, evaluated and improved. Then the game is played again, in a cyclical and interative process, where the feedback allows refining the project (Rogers, 2013).

In the internet there are many free game development tools. In this chapter, we focus in one of then, Twine (Klimas, 2009), which is useful for beginner use in the classroom, due to its simplicity. Using hiperlinks, Twine allows to create non-linear, interative histories, which look like the book series style. Finally, to illustrate the process of game development, we created and present in this chapter a tutorial with the Twine tool.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Digital Literacy: Literacy in digital media, development of use capacity, understanding and creation of digital media that provide a critical analysis of digital content and products.

Game Development: A process in which a game is produced, involving skills such as programming, artistic creation, design, and gameplay testing.

Child Development: Sequence of steps and progressive stages that result in the increase of the complexity degree of the organism from the point of view of both biological and cognitive processes, leading to the development of intelligence.

Game Design: Extension of the practice of design whose focus is the creation of games. Conception, creation, and development of a game and its mechanics.

Twine: Open-source tool created by Chris Klimas for making interactive fiction in the form of web pages, with emphasizes the visual structure of hypertext and does not require knowledge of any programming languages as most game development tools do.

Education: Set of methods, pedagogy, instruction, teaching to ensure the physical, intellectual, and moral development of a human being.

Arts: Human activity connected to aesthetic, expressive or communicative manifestations, performed through a wide variety of languages, such as architecture, drawing, sculpture, painting, writing, music, dance, theater, and cinema, in various combinations.

History of Education: Discipline that studies the changes and evolution of education and the different pedagogical currents throughout the history of humanity.

Games: Voluntary activity separated from real life that does not produce material goods, made for fun or pleasure, that can be both analog and digital.

Pedagogy: Science or field of knowledge that deals with studies about education. A set of methods that ensure the development of the individual as a whole.

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