Abstract Details

Learning Through Game Creation: Empowering Children To Learn About Technology
Through The Development Of Their Game Ideas.

This submission traces the experience of using a Raspberry Pi as the basis to teach young children some of the fundamentals of technology. The challenge addressed was finding a way to engage my two young children (4 & 7 years old). Early in this project a novel idea emerged from them and the goal became how to respond to this interest and develop as much of this game as possible.

The relevance of this project is to share the experience of engaging young children with low-cost hardware and how creating a game can become an approach for Game-Based Learning. As each component for the game is sketched out and prototyped, they would learn another aspect of technology and the process developed into creating mini-games each incorporating a different aspect of the “Raspberry Pi” hardware and the associated educational and coding programs included with the “NOOBS” operating systems such as “Scratch” and “SonicPi”. The take-away will be the story of this educational journey and description of how freely available software can be used to engage a child’s imagination at a young age. The setting was at home but could be adapted to a classroom-based setting. All that is required is some basic technology and an openness to respond to ideas as they emerge.

The journey towards developing this game became the opportunity to teach hardware and software components as well as game logic, animations, and sound effects. The novel idea emerged for a game where the characters are controlled by the children’s toy watches that have in-built projectors of three well known comic book characters. I will outline how the prototypes were created, ranging from paper prototypes, to animations right through to a how I acted as the computer, in a “Wizard of Oz” implementation, to allow them to play the game whereby I control aspects in the background.

The presentation would give an outline of this game development journey, the tools involved and an overview of what is possible with low-cost resources and the imagination of two kids and their stay-at-home parent. While no specific results from this project are presented, the focus will be on the journey of engagement and the materials created in developing a turned based game with a superhero setting and also a gamified approach for learning simple music melodies.

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