Students as Creators of Educational Games - Learning to Use Simple Frameworks and Tools to Empower Students as Educational Game Designers

ID: 52847 Type: Virtual Paper
  1. Ana Rute Martins and Lia Raquel Oliveira, CIEd – Research Centre in Education,Institute of Education, University of Minho, Portugal

The design of educational games is a powerful pedagogical strategy that can only enter schools if teachers are given the necessary training and support. In this paper we present a training action course for teachers interested in learning how to use simple frameworks and tools to be able to either design educational games themselves or facilitate educational game design by their students. We propose a syllabus, a design framework, and a software solution for digital game creation. This approach has been used in Portugal with middle school teachers and students and has been shown to be effective, resulting in the production of functional educational games (digital and non-digital), with preliminary results showing positive outcomes in learning and engagement.


The main goal is to equip participants with basic knowledge, frameworks and tools to facilitate the design of educational games. The learning objectives of the workshop are to reflect on the possibilities of pedagogical uses of games, to understand the main components of a game, to be able to apply a set of steps for creating an educational game, and to be knowledgeable of tools and resources for creating games.

Topical Outline

Presentation Instructor's presentation Participants' presentation Results of survey (previously answered by participants) Participants' interventions Examples of educational games Non-digital educational games Digital educational games Game elements Main elements of a game Example: game elements of Tic-Tac-Toe Difference between mechanics and rules of a game Game mechanics Examples of game mechanics The importance of aligning game mechanics and learning goals Phases of the game design process Ideation Prototyping Testing Exercise – Modifying a game A framework to support educational game design What is it? How to use it to design a game? How to use it to facilitate game design by students? A tool to create digital games Software interface How to create interactive systems Hands-on exercises How to create and manage groups Examples of practical cases of educational game design by students Hands-on exercise Option 1 - Design an educational game Option 2 - Create lesson plans for a set of classes or activities that focus on the design of educational games by students Reflection on the pedagogical strategy of placing students in the role educational game designers


Teachers and others interested in game-based learning and in facilitating educational game design, beginner level, BYOL (Bring Your Own Laptop) format, a maximum number of 15 participants.

Experience Level



My main interests are education, game-based learning, citizen science and participatory culture. I hold a BSc in Biology, a MSc in Environmental Biology, a Certificate of Pedagogical Aptitude, a Postgraduate Qualification in Science Communication, and I am currently doing a PhD on Technology Enriched Learning and Societal Challenges at the University of Minho, Portugal. I am researching game-based learning, working with teachers and middle school students to explore and understand how having students as educational game designers impacts their motivation and learning. I have worked on developing a serious game for medical education at the Institute of Molecular Medicine (Lisbon, 2012-2014), have been a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Technology, Education and Development Conference (Valencia, 2014), have attended the Online Summer Programme "Teacher Quest: The Essentials of Game-Based Learning” (Institute of Play, 2016) and have been a judge on the International Business Learning Games Competition (Dublin 2016, Lisbon 2017). I have been the primary author on a number of papers, including “Developing a Prototype of an Oncobiology Serious Game for Medical Education” (IEEE, 2013), “Games and Learning: A Bibliometric Analysis of the Scientific Production” (ICERI, 2015), and “Teaching Fractions to Primary School Students with Videogames - A Comparison between Instructivist and Constructionist Approaches” (INTED, 2016), and I have presented my work in several international conferences, including the presentation “Going beyond chocolate-covered broccoli games - Useful design principles to create interesting learning experiences” (IBLGC, 2017). I have designed, developed and conducted training actions for teachers and students (elementary and middle school) teaching how to create educational games, as well as workshops about the educational potential of BlockStudio, a software that will be explored at this workshop.


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