Exploring the Importance of Making in an Educational Game Design

Abstract. Educational games have been employed in many settings as a means to engage young students. Different genres and applications of games have been used to improve learning experience. The design or making of games in learning activities has been linked to teaching of new skills. Within this paper we explore and discuss the differences of involving young students into the game design and development process compared to just playing an educational game. In particular, we designed an educational math-game and an activity that involves children in playing or modifying the game, and we performed a between groups experiment with sixty students of the second grade of middle school (12 to 13 years old). Students formed three equivalent groups of twenty. The first group played the game, the second engaged with re-designing and modifying the game and the third (control) group solved the same exercises (with the educational game) on paper. The results showed that the making group exhibits certain attitudinal benefits. Hence, our findings suggest that learning through games should include more than just playing a well-designed game, it should also consider the involvement of students with various making affordances.

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