DIY: A GAME BUILDING KIT

15.08.2020

T.M.NEERAJA

Srishti school of art, design and technology 

BENGALURU

Hey Learners! I am a Graduate in STEM Education. this is my first learning kit that i have been working on.

Background

In our schools, subjects are taught in a segmented manner with no connection among them. Science is taught by science teachers, maths is taught by maths teachers, English by English teachers and so on. Students never get any opportunity to see any relations among these subjects. Nor do they find any application of what they learn in these school subjects in their real life. Here comes STEM/STEAM Education!

What is STEM/STEAM Education?

STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics. STEAM Education is a collaborative project based educational model where children work together to creatively come up with solutions to problems, where students enhance their critical thinking skills and recognize the intersection of art, science, technology, engineering, and math. Students are given the opportunity to think out of the box resulting in making them the innovators, leaders, learners, educators, creative thinkers of the 21st century.

As per studies, STEAM education is more effective if it starts in early childhood than if it begins later in childhood; therefore, the foundations for science and technology education should be laid as early as the elementary grades.

As Papert said “ Constructivism is a theory based on experiment, observation and peer feedback”. They will have a better understanding when the learnings connect to real life opportunities.

Children love to play games. From a three year old kid to young adults, today one sees everyone hooked to mobile video games. 

Can we use games to engage children in STEAM education? 

George Land & Beth Jarman’s landmark NASA study identified that coding balances left and right brain, convergent and divergent thinking, to enable peak creative expression. Kids learn logic and structure to command tech tools and generate outcomes like games and apps.

The purpose of my study is to create opportunities for children to have a personal touch to what they learn.

I aim to achieve my purpose by designing/creating a DIY game-building kit which will allow learners to have a better understanding about STEAM.

Research Questions

  1. What DIY game building activities/content would be included in the kit?
  2. How do I make the kit:
  1. Easily available for the learners to access
  2. Materials used in the kit should be affordable/low cost and easily available.
  3. It has more visuals to increase the comprehensibility   
  1. How do I make the kit engaging, fun, cover in depth STEAM topics, have real life learning opportunities, and have a personal touch to the learners. 
  2. How will the kit be accessed by children?
  3. How do I organise the content/activities in the kit so that the students will have a better understanding about STEAM topics through modules which have digital and physical experimentation.  

Goals/Objectives

  1. Learning the art of designing a game using different tools and softwares. This kit allows the learners to create their own game by giving them support, tools and materials to work with, simple guidelines with sample images and video, increasing complexity of the modules, and a wide range of STEAM topics to learn.
  2. This kit is an online DIY game building kit. This kit will be available for the learners online, all they have to do is to login to the website and download for free, materials for the modules will be mentioned in the kit like electronics and software, they have to buy them in their near-by electronics store. I am mainly looking for low cost material so that it is affordable. 

Target Audience

My target audience is children in the age group of 8 to 14 years, from urban households. I choose this age group because children younger than 8 years will face difficulty in understanding the tools and software that will be used in these modules.

It can be for independent learners, schools/organisations, who have STEAM labs, teachers who plan to incorporate fun STEAM learning sessions in their classrooms.

Approach and Process

I need to do the following before designing/ creating the modules

To understand the context deeply the prior knowledge about children and their likes and dislikes, about what they learn in schools. To know this I researched some kits will work on STEAM principles.

  1. Flinto box: 
  1. smartivity :
  1. Be Cre8v STEBOX

I have searched by observation, interview, look for what other STEM educators have done in this area, and what other learning materials/STEM kits are already available.

Next steps:

  1. To find out how games have been used in STEM learning?

I have to reach on what the students are learning in the school, what the other learning kits are there on game building.

  1. To find out what to include in the kit?
  1. To find out whether your learning kit is working fine or not? test it with students

Product ideas

There were many questions that occurred to me when I was working on this project like, what is the best way to get the learning interest in this module? The activities should be in a way that the learners can connect it with, it has to me fun, make it personal, to use multiple resources for ideas, to make it interactive. It’s a self learning kit for young students. This kit helps the learner to understand about the design of a game.

Why did I choose an online kit? I chose an online kit because young learners are very interested in making and learning through kits rather than a book. Learners feel much more comfortable with it. This kit will have all the learning modules and step by step guidelines on how to use it and what to learn. I call it a self-learning DIY kit. Self-directed learning skills involve the ability to manage learning tasks without having them directed by others. They are skills necessary for effective lifelong learning and are one of many learning skills students are expected to develop. What is self-learning? Self-learning is a kind of learning without a formal teacher or a program, but has access to teaching materials. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines self-taught as, “having knowledge or skills acquired by one’s own efforts without formal instruction.”

Is it making any difference between the learners who are using this kit and who are not? Learners who are using this kit will have a better understanding for STEAM because this kit will allow learners to have a physical making experience, thinking creatively and integrate their learning from different subjects into making the game.

Milestones

  1. Module 1 – Physical games 

Learning through physical modules like making games through basic electronics for example using LEDs, motor, batteries,etc. There won’t be needing any software or device to work on. Age group 8-14 years

  1. Module 2 – Physical materials and simple program

Designing and programming games with scratch and makey makey. Age group 8-14 years

  1. Module  3 –  create game using programming
  1. It will have 2 levels with respect to the age group and prior knowledge of the student.
  2. Age group 8-14 years
  3. They will be designing games with scratch, makey makey and sensors.
  4. Optional: 3D modeling and printing. 

Resources/ References:

Top 10 Ways to Increase Your Students’ Interest in a Subject

https://connectedlib.github.io/modules/youth-development/section-1-3.html

https://hourofcode.com/in/gb/learn

https://gpblocks.org/hourOfCode2018/soundRecorder/

All the modules are in the below links, anyone can download and use it.

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