For Equity & Social Impact

Games for Learning

He tākaro, he huarahi ako

Breakout Sessions

In addition to stimulating talks from our guest speakers, the Games for Learning conference will feature an exciting variety of breakout sessions including short talks, hands-on workshops, and open forums for play, discussion, and networking.

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He manu rere (Fly high dear bird!)

Facilitator: Harko Brown

Participants will warmly whanaungatanga (meet & greet) in a cultural games setting. This will involve sharing kōrero and taking part in a fun-filled ancient games ritual known as Te Matamatarongo. Kaitakaro will then use harakeke (flax) to raranga (weave) a putiputi (flower) to warmup the matimati (fingers) and then in pairs raranga a beautiful manu (flax bird). The manu will be utilised in a manukorihi (dance) and educational game. The manu will be an analogy for cultural games education.The session will conclude with group role plays and the singing of 'Me He Manu Rere'. Memories will be kept by taking the manu home.

Session type: A highly interactive workshop session

Key themes: critical thinking/critical literacy, equity, social impact, citizenship, Māori and/or other indigenous perspectives, The New Zealand Curriculum or Te Marautanga o Aotearoa

Let's make a game!  
A learn-how-to-do-it-by-doing-it workshop

Facilitator: Warren Mara

Are you keen to get more game design for learning in your world, but struggle to make it happen? In this session we will go from a desire for games to making a game, prototyping and then play-testing in 90 minutes. This session is suitable for everyone. It will be a lot of fun and leave you with a practical tool-set for applying in your work.

See the slides for Warren's session

Workshop worksheet 1
Workshop worksheet 2

Workshop worksheet 3

Additional reference

Session type: A highly interactive workshop session

Key themes: adult learning, complexity/complex systems, critical thinking/critical literacy, educational/serious games, gamification, learning through game design, tabletop games

Playing for peace

Facilitators: Andrew Savage and Michael Harcourt

 

This session will introduce participants to Matrix simulation games as a method for introducing complexity and critical thinking in the social sciences. Participants will play a game and discuss its suitability for the classroom. For this session, the game will focus on the complexity of peace-making.

Session type: A highly interactive workshop session

Key themes: complexity/complex systems, critical thinking/critical literacy, educational/serious games, equity & social impact, citizenship, role-play games, tabletop games

Playing with Blocks: Blockly-based coding games

Facilitator: Rachel Fenichel

 

Explore the world of coding games built with Blockly, Google's open-source visual programming editor. We will look at how drag-and-drop coding can be built into games. Some of these games are designed for use in the classroom, some are designed for free play, and some blur the lines. Some games are purely digital, while others incorporate the physical world in novel ways. What they all share is a friendly way for users to interact with code.

See the slides for Rachel's session

Session type: A talk/presentation, with discussion time

Key themes: building young people’s digital capabilities, coding, critical thinking/critical literacy, educational/serious games

 

Suburban Quilt: A street game about bees

Facilitator: Ben Kenobi

 

This talk will discuss the development journey of Suburban Quilt, a large scale street game that aims to educate the public on the complexities of bee pollinating pathways in urban NZ areas. Suburban Quilt is a work-in-progress project that has spanned several years. The game has been developed using varied design techniques and involved multiple communities and networks. Ben will provide an overview of the project covering topics such as iterative person centred design, community building, learning through game design workshops, integrating large scale projects in tertiary undergraduate papers, and how the project connects with research on affective domain learning and roleplay.

Session type: A talk/presentation, with discussion time

Key themes: adult learning, complexity/complex systems, educational/serious games, equity, social impact, citizenship, learning through game design, physical games, role-play games, post-school pathways.

Whakapapa of fun and layers of learning in
an arapū/alphabet minigame app

Facilitator: Maraea Hunia

 

What is involved in learning the alphabet? What is alphabet order and why do we need to learn it? What does the popular mobile game Dumb Ways to Die have to do with learning the Māori alphabet/te arapū Māori? In designing an educational game for tamariki, why be fussy about look and feel, and characters, and macrons, and everything? This presentation explores the many layers involved in the development of an apparently simple educational minigame app.

Session type: A combination of talk/presentation and interactive workshop

Key themes: Educational/serious games, learning through game design, Māori and/or other indigenous perspectives

 

Aqua Republica: Catchment managers of the future

Facilitators: Rose Jowsey and Carl Johnson

Rose will present Aqua Republica and an overview of outcomes from the 2016 Aqua Republica Eco Challenge, an extra-curricular learning event for students aged 11-17. Aqua Republica was developed by the UNEP-DHI Partnership Centre on Water and Environment as a turn-based, online strategy game about water resources. Each player takes on the role of a catchment manager, balancing the needs of the human population with those of the environment.  The aim of the game is to increase the knowledge of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) in the New Zealand community. On screen, Aqua Republica looks like a typical strategy game, but behind the scenes it uses DHI’s MIKE HYDRO BASIN to account for water routing and water budgets.

Session type: A talk/presentation, with discussion time

Key themes: adult learning, complexity/complex systems, educational/serious games, Māori and/or other indigenous perspectives, post-school pathways, science/environmental education, secondary education

Can games develop systems thinking?

Facilitator: Rose Hipkins

Increasingly often these days we hear how important it is for all our young people to become systems thinkers.

  • What do we mean by systems thinking anyway?

  • How is it different from other sorts of critical thinking?

  • Do we need to change the ways we teach traditional school subjects?

  • When and how can games help?

These are the sorts of critical questions we will explore in the workshop following on from the Aqua Republica session. “The water cycle” makes a great starting point for addressing the questions I’ve just posed. We’ll compare and contrast the traditional way of teaching the water cycle with game-like approaches that, I suspect, might be good for developing systems thinking. In addition to digital games like Aqua Republica, we’ll look at a simple tabletop game about the water cycle, discuss how it could be improved or redesigned, and talk about games we could create or use in our classrooms to foster systems thinking across different subjects and topics.

Session type: A highly interactive workshop session

Key themes: Complexity/Complex systems, critical thinking, educational/serious games, citizenship, science and environmental education, tabletop games, The New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa

 

Building physical learning games: crossing borders and failing forward

Facilitator: Richard Durham

This session will share tales of the travails in building physical, deep-concept learning games designed to help make the world a better place. We’ll share what we did (and mistakes we made) in designing two games: a classroom mega-game for environmental and animal conservation in Vietnam, and a narrative-building game used by NGOs to reflect on their practices. Questions we’ll address include: Why did we decide to design physical games? How did we align the game design with the intended learning? What went well, and what backfired? What did people actually learn? We’ll wrap up with some take-home messages for educators and anyone else who is thinking about designing deep-concept physical learning games.

Session type: A talk/presentation, with discussion time

Key themes: adult learning, critical thinking/critical literacy, educational/serious games, environmental education, equity, social impact, citizenship, physical games, role-play games, tabletop games, teachers’ perspectives

 

Even Awesomer Game of Awesome

Facilitator: Robert Whitaker, Aaron McKirdy, and Leanne Stubbing

Game of Awesome is a card game designed to engage and inspire kids to tell stories and learn to write. In this interactive workshop, we are going to be asking you — the participants — to get creative with the game and work together to remix, adapt and recombine the game to discover new educational and gameplay possibilities. We'll talk a little about the award winning design co-design process we used to create the game and we'll let you know how you can get your hands on a copy, if you haven't already.

Learn more about the game

Interview with RNZ

Public Good category winner at the 2016 Best New Zealand Design Awards

Overall joint-winner at the 2017 Australian Good Design Awards

Session type: A combination of talk/presentation and interactive workshop

Key themes: Educational/Serious games, equity, social impact, citizenship, gamification, literacy, tabletop games, teachers’ perspectives, The New Zealand Curriculum

World without order - Citizenship through Minecraft

Facilitator: Campbell Potter

In this session I’ll share my experiences teaching citizenship through Minecraft in Year 9 social studies at a boys’ boarding school (using iPads and the mobile version of Minecraft). I’ll talk about what my students and I have done, what we’ve learned, and open up space for discussion to get deeper into areas of interest for participants. This could include: students following their own learning, structure vs freedom, citizenship skills, structures I use, how Minecraft works, and achieving learning outcomes.

Getting hands-on will help to put the discussion in context. I recommend having a go with the game before the conference/workshop if you have not played, to get the most from the discussion. I will provide between 5 and 10 iPads for participants to experience the game. BYOD mobile devices are also welcome. (You will need to have installed the Minecraft Pocket Edition app if you want to play with others over the local wifi).

See the slides for Campbell's session

Session type: A combination of talk/presentation and interactive workshop

Key themes: Equity, social impact, citizenship, Minecraft

Minecraft open forum session

Facilitator: Bron Stuckey

What could you be doing with Minecraft in the classroom? Join Global Minecraft mentor Bron Stuckey for this open forum session. Participants will be invited to share and discuss their own use of Minecraft in the classroom, or ask questions, brainstorm, and hear about some of the interesting stuff happening with Minecraft locally and globally.

Mahimaina: Building Aotearoa in Minecraft

Facilitator: Whetu Paitai

We’ll present Mahimaina, a world we’ve been building in Minecraft to support learning te reo me ona tikanga Māori. We’ll discuss our journey, which began with playing with our own tamariki and their friends, to our current goal and work-in-progress of building a world for the larger community of New Zealand. We believe that games can help to create immersive worlds for indigenous children that help extend the work of cultural immersion that Kura and whānau work so hard to produce. However, bridging the gap between game worlds like Mahimaina, and classrooms and homes, isn’t always easy. In this session, we’ll share our experiences thus far, and initiate a kōrero about the potential of projects like Mahimaina to support learners of all ages in homes and schools in Aotearoa and beyond.

Session type: A combination of talk/presentation and interactive workshop

Key themes: Building young people’s digital capabilities, educational/serious games, equity, social impact, citizenship, gamification, Māori and/or other indigenous perspectives, Minecraft, role-play games

 

Gamifying the CREST Award

Facilitator: Simon Christie

This session describes how Selwyn House School used game-based learning strategies to motivate and teach their Year 7 students as they undertook the Royal Society’s First CREST programme. It provides a big picture overview of how CREST was reimagined into a quest for the students to undertake, and the tools that were used to keep them on track. It also outlines how a points system was used and defined to best fit the philosophy of the school, and how a points schedule was created to ensure all necessary tasks were completed whilst trying to create a varied, non-linear learning journey. Finally, the session will also describe the highlights, lowlights, and interesting things that were discovered along the way.

Session type: A talk/presentation, with discussion time

Key themes: Gamification, science and environmental education, teachers’ perspectives

Cook Islands learners' perspectives on gaming: Inclusion, creativity, and critical thinking in our classroom

Facilitator: Tekura Arakua Teauiti, Napa Banaba, Miria Kietonga, Inanui Nia, Selane Tairea, Michaela Tangimetua, Tauvira Tararo, Shaun Teaurima (Year 13 students from Tereora College, Rarotonga)

Our session will explore our experiences as Year 13 students learning through gaming, and how gaming has created assessment opportunities that are meaningful for us in our Cook Islands context. We will be talking about how gaming has helped us grow and develop as learners who think critically about the connections between the digital world, physical reality, creator and audience. We want to share how gaming has made our learning more inclusive and creative, and how it supports possible future pathways for us. We will share some of our assessment work, some of our learning strategies, and give you a peek into what our classroom has been like this year.

Session type: A combination of talk/presentation and interactive workshop

Key themes: Building young people’s digital capabilities, Critical thinking/critical literacy, Equity, social impact, citizenship, Māori and/or other indigenous perspectives, The New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, NCEA assessment

Mihi Maker - learn your pepeha through making a
digital game

Facilitator: Dan Milward

Make your own pepeha into simple digital game using te reo Māori and digital code! Mihi Maker by Gamefroot is a new tool for strengthening student capabilities in te reo Māori, and introducing capabilities relevant to the digital technologies curriculum. Come along to see how it works, or have a go at making your own digital pepeha game to share with your friends and whānau.

Bring your own device: Mihi Maker is web-based and works on any laptop with Chrome or Safari browser.

Session type: Hands-on workshop

Key themes: building young people’s digital capabilities, critical thinking/critical literacy, learning through game design, STEM, Māori perspectives, te reo Māori.

Gamify reading through choice, perspective, and multimodality

Facilitators: Jarek Beksa, with Sue McDowall

There are lots of ways to gamify reading. Three obvious examples are:

  • give readers the opportunity to shape the direction a story might take and time to discuss the implications of different plot choices

  • enable readers to engage in a story from the perspectives of different characters

  • present the story through a range of modalities (e.g., audio with text etc.)

Sonnar Interactive is passionate about exploring interactivity in audio narratives. We are introducing engaging, nonlinear, auditory experiences that evolve through the user’s personal choices. Each audio story is layered with rich soundscapes, building an immersive experience that launches the user’s imagination in the alternate world.

During our session we will perform an interactive audio story play that will involve the audience. Participants will use their mobile devices to make choices that will guide the protagonist of the story. Results will be presented live - the play will take from 15 to 20 minutes.

There will be time to discuss how the resource might be used in classrooms to help build students’ engagement in reading and their understanding of how narrative texts work.

Session type: A combination of talk/presentation and interactive workshop

Key themes: adult learning, building young people’s digital capabilities, critical thinking/critical literacy, gamification, role-play games

Tākaro: A digital game to engage young people/rangatahi
with STEM

Facilitator: Maru Nihoniho

How much can a game that teaches coding concepts and systems thinking result in young people/rangatahi actively participating in and with technology? Māori participation in the digital sector is low.  Only 1 percent of those studying technology in tertiary education and 2.5 percent working in the technology sector are Māori.  In addition, the uptake in STEM subjects by secondary students is dropping worldwide. The number of job opportunities in STEM is expected to increase significantly over the next five years.  There will be a projected shortfall of 230,000 qualified advanced-degree STEM workers by 2018.  This talk is about the design and development of the game 'Tākaro' that will encourage young people to think about becoming the creators of technology and not just the users of it.  To design and build the game is one thing, to measure outcomes is another. This talk is about the why, the how and the what. 

Session type: Talk/presentation, with discussion time

Key themes: Building young people’s digital capabilities, coding, educational/serious games, Māori and/or other indigenous perspectives, post-school pathways, STEM, The New Zealand Curriculum/Te Marautanga o Aotearoa

Why Game Design in the classroom?

Facilitator: Diana-Grace Morris

I have been thinking about Game Design for a few years now. When I started engaging with Game Design in the classroom, I noticed student's learning pathways change. Students who were usually on the edges of classroom conversations and learning started moving into the middle. Students who were ‘consistently below standard’ started to shine. Students who were successful starting to reframe who they needed to work with to be successful.  I kept wondering what the heck was going on and why. Students were totally engaged and I was hearing something in the classroom that I could only describe as ‘the humm’. It was a sound I had not heard in other learning areas.  The humm was across all 40 students! When you hea  a humm and you have no idea what is going on, you have to start noticing.  After several years of using game design in the classroom, I'm wondering if the game design process sets the conditions for a thing called Futures Literacy. Futures Literacy is about using our ideas about the future to inform our actions in the present. In this session I’ll explain why I see and use game design in this way.

Session type: Talk/presentation, with discussion time

Key themes: Building young people’s digital capabilities, complexity/complex systems, critical thinking/critical literacy, citizenship, teachers’ perspectives, The New Zealand Curriculum

If the Games for Learning conference was a game…

Facilitators: Rachel Bolstad,  Diana-Grace Morris, Dan Milward

This session is for creative, out-of-the-box thinkers who want to push their game-based thinking to new levels! Many conferences have some kind of published document that comes out afterwards, a “conference proceedings”. But what if the product that was generated after the Games for Learning conference was a game? How could we take any or all of the ideas, connections, inspiration, and knowledge we have heard and shared at the Games for Learning conference, and turn that into a game – or many games - that might engage and inspire other people in your school, community, or workplace?

The goal of this session will be to roll up our sleeves and collaboratively “gamestorm” as many bright ideas as we can come up with. The most exciting and promising concepts may be pitched to the whole conference community at the end of Day 2. This is a great chance to process your thinking and actively contribute to the Games for Learning community - and who knows how far these ideas might go?

Session type: Highly interactive workshop

Key themes: Adult learning, complexity/complex systems, gamification, learning through game design, physical games, digital games, tabletop games

Our journey to gamify the Year 7-9 curriculum

Facilitators: Hamish Barclay and Brad Milne

At St Thomas of Canterbury College we are about to undertake a journey to transform our Yr7-9 curriculum to a gamification-based curriculum aiming to better engage our boys. Our aim is to deconstruct existing structures and routines to re-create a 21st century curriculum (with a specific focus on engagement and student agency) based on the principles of gamification for all Year 7 – 9 students. Since 2013, The Middle School (Years 7-9) at St Thomas of Canterbury College has been looking at how to create a curriculum which looks to better engage our community of learners and develop  “capabilities for living and lifelong learning”, the definition of key competencies in The New Zealand Curriculum. In this session we’ll explain why we want to gamify our curriculum, and the early stages of our journey to figuring out what this could look like.

Session type: A talk/presentation, with discussion time

Key themes: Gamification, key competencies, teachers’ perspectives, The New Zealand Curriculum

Make money, make impact: Commercial games for learning
& social impact

Facilitator: Alan Gershenfeld

Please note, during this session Alan will join us via videoconference from the USA

Internationally, hundreds of millions of dollars are being invested by foundations, universities, government agencies and social entrepreneurs into games for learning and social impact.  Despite the growing body of research highlighting the enormous potential of games to foster meaningful learning and impact, there are still few examples of projects that have transitioned from research into successful commercial games.  This presentation will explore how to close this gap.  The talk will cover specific examples of projects E-Line was worked on including Never Alone, Gamestar Mechanic, MinecraftEdu and others. Alan will take participants’ questions

Session type: A talk/presentation, with discussion time

Key themes: Building young people’s digital capabilities, educational/serious games, games industry

Weaving game design and digital technologies into
the curriculum

Facilitator: Dan Milward

In this talk I will briefly share the trials and tribulations of our small game studio as we have moved from an initial focus on commercial games, towards a major focus on education. Our philosophy is to create digital resources, based on game design, that bridge games technology, STEM subjects and digital technologies. I’ll show you new educational resources we are developing,  designed to help teachers of Year 4-5 students take STEM based digital technologies into their classroom. I’ll  talk about what we’ve learned from our collaboration with educators, students, and researchers, and the opportunities and challenges of trying to bridge the gap between the games industry and the education sector to bring industry-quality game development opportunities to school-aged learners.

Session type: A talk/presentation, with discussion time

Key themes: Building young people’s digital capabilities, coding, learning through game design, STEM, The New Zealand Curriculum

Building and publishing games in LittleBigPlanet for
PS3 and PS4

Facilitator: Stephen Ross

LittleBigPlanet first released for Playstation 3 in 2008 and, nearly a decade later, six different versions are available for Playstation Portable, Playstation Vita and Playstation 4 platforms. Focussing on LittleBigPlanet3 for PS4, this presentation explores the creative aspect of the game whose catchphrase is "create, play, share." Creating in LBP3 involves using pre-made assets and user-created content to construct playable levels that can be published for other LBP users to explore. A visual coding system allows creators to connect in-game objects with sensors and inputs/outputs using an easy to understand logic menu. Being a physics-based environment, properties of assets and user-made objects can be tweaked and manipulated to make all sorts of fun and engaging games and challenges. The potential for customisation and creativity is endless! This presentation will give a taste of the creative processes, the logic/coding aspects and show how LBP could be used in the classroom to capture students' imagination and challenge their thinking.

See the slides for Stephen's session

Session type: A talk/presentation, with discussion time

Key themes: Building young people’s digital capabilities, coding, critical thinking, learning through game design, STEM, teachers' perspectives, The New Zealand Curriculum

Exploring scenarios for the future

Facilitators: Alex Matthews and Rox Flame from Xequals

This session provides provocative and sometimes contrasting views on what the future of education and digital learning could look like.  Alex and Rox present several potential futures and utilise the wisdom of the crowd to to explore, challenge, and develop them.

 

The questions you’ll address include: How do we draw a meaningful line between entertainment and education?  What opportunities exist for blended learning approaches that are both physical and digital?  What will hardware and software development look like over the rest of the 21st century? What elements of educational delivery won’t age with time?

Session type: A talk/presentation and an interactive workshop

Key themes: Building young people’s digital capabilities, complexity/complex systems, critical thinking/critical literacy, educational/serious games, gamification, Māori perspectives, physical games, science and environmental education, teachers’ perspectives, post-school pathways

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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