Design-centered Learning : Developing Collaborative Skills by Making Games
Communication technology drives new opportunities and expectations for employees to collaborate across countries, continents and time zones. This has the potential to bring people together, increasingly connecting individuals with different experiences, perspectives, and areas of expertise. However, it also complicates collaboration. People working together in these situations must both adjust to differences between in-person and digital interactions, and also navigate the complexities that accompany a dynamic and diverse team. I address this need by I creating a set of design-oriented activities aimed at building a specific situation for children that affords the development of their collaborative skills. Over the course of three months, I ran a 9-session workshop with twenty-four fifth graders where the students collaboratively engaged in a game design project. During the workshop, children made physical games to teach players about the science of flight. As the students worked through this process, they investigated games and flight, developed game concepts, and then designed, play-tested and shared their games with others. Pre-post observations and test results show increases in fifth graders’ collaborative interactions and understanding of flight content. This study provides qualitative data to support the claim that game-making workshops can increase children’s collaborative skills, and lays the groundwork for further investigation.