Factors That Enable or Hinder the Implementation of Game Development Activity in Learning Environments

Factors That Enable or Hinder the Implementation of Game Development Activity in Learning Environments

Kevser Hava (Bozok University, Turkey), Tolga Guyer (Gazi University, Turkey) and Hasan Cakir (Gazi University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3250-8.ch014

Abstract

This study aims to investigate the factors that enable or hinder the implementation of game development activity in the instructional process. One instructor and 15 gifted students between the ages of 11 and 15 took part in the study. The students developed computer games related to science topics using MS Kodu game engine within the implementation process. According to the findings, it is seen that instructional practices have great importance, and the instructor plays a key role in the activity. Making and playing games have been the greatest motivation resource for students. In addition, the social environment can be an important tool in sustaining students' motivation levels. The students' negative attitudes toward educational game topics and non-computer activities hinder the successful implementation of the activity. The MS Kodu game engine might be appropriate for novice designers but not be enough for teaching programming concepts. Team-based game development activity is believed to be useful for developing advanced games and increasing the level of interaction between students.
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Introduction

Computer games, which are very popular among young students, provide an attractive and effective learning environment for presenting digital literacy skills with a new curriculum (Owston, Wideman, Ronda, & Brown, 2009). In parallel with game-based learning, there is an increasing interest in literature for students to design and develop their games (Akcaoglu & Koehler, 2014; Denner, Campe, & Werner, 2019; Howland, Good, & du Boulay, 2015). This increasing interest in game development activity might result from the dissemination of technology-based constructivist learning environments in which students actively learn topics through experimental and exploratory ways (Allsop, 2016). On the other hand, some researchers argue that content teaching with only games will not be sufficient to develop students’ critical thinking skills such as analysis and evaluation (Hwang, Hung, & Chen, 2014). According to Cheng (2009), computer games cannot provide learning advantages unless they are integrated with content, pedagogy and evaluation components. In general, developing a game requires a more active process than playing a game with a passive learning activity to some extent (Vos, Meijden, & Denessen, 2011). Since the game design is related to computers and games, today's PlayStation generation students can actively participate in the learning process (Eow, Ali, Mahmud, & Baki, 2010).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Paper-Prototyping: Paper Prototyping is a prototyping method in which paper models are used to simulate computer, game, web or mobile applications.

Team-Based Game Development: Team-based game development is a process in which each member of the group takes on a different task such as storytelling, designing, and programming.

Game Design Model: Game design models are guides that help designers to implement the game development activity systematically.

Constructivism: Constructivism is a learning theory claiming that individuals construct their knowledge and understandings through experiencing things.

Gamepad: A gamepad is a game controller that includes multiple buttons on it to be pressed by the thumbs.

Instructional Practices: Instructional practices are the techniques or methods that an instructor employs to fulfill the different learning objectives.

Game Engine: A game engine is a paid or free program used by individuals or companies to create games.

Game Development Activity: Game development activity is a process that requires students to use many skills such as critical thinking, art, aesthetics, storytelling, and programming.

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