Abstract Details

Using A Game Jam For Co-creating Language Games With Multidisciplinary Student Teams

Multidisciplinary student teams were tasked with the design of language learning games as part of an action research project spearheaded by three Foreign Language (FL) lecturers and one Creative Digital Media (CDM) lecturer. Students came from three different TUDublin campuses and three different disciplines namely Languages, Game Design and Creative Digital Media. This project was developed thanks to IMPACT, a National Forum scheme made available at the Technological University, Dublin (TUDublin).

TUDublin students are part of Generation Z and it was thought that developing an attractive targeted online tool would encourage learners’ engagement and help students develop sustainable learning practices. United around a common project, students from different backgrounds and specialisms would be able to interact and connect over the three TUDublin campuses. The aim of the task was twofold. Firstly, it was designed to develop levels of interaction and collaborative work where ‘game developers’ and ‘players’ would work together. Secondly, it aimed to foster a community of ‘developers’ and ‘users’ that would harness the potential soft skill acquisition needed by today’s graduates in a fluid and highly connected working environment.

With these considerations in mind, a three day online ‘Game Jam’ was organised in February 2021. It was envisaged that the ‘Game Jam’ would allow to “create a sense of fun and enjoyment, removing some of the stresses and pressures that are often associated with formal education” (Whitton & Moseley, 2012:14). Ninety students signed up for the 60-hour weekend Game Jam, during which they were expected to work online in groups of four to produce a game prototype based on an existing story and website.

Data show that using the ‘game jam’ format added an unexpected gamification dimension to the task. The feedback shows that students enjoyed the gamification aspects brought by the time constraint and the final leader board. However, they also enjoyed the opportunity to work on real-life challenges in multidisciplinary teams. We plan to further investigate the role of Task-Based-Learning (TBL), collaborative learning and co-construction which were at play during the Game Jam. Linguistic pedagogical questions and the effects of game-based learning on language-acquisition also deserve further investigation.

As action-research advocates, we believe our project fits perfectly the scope of IGBL 2021 and we are looking forward to presenting this unique pedagogical experience at the conference.

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