Constructionism in Practice: Designing, Thinking, and Learning in a Digital World

By Yasmin Kafai; Mitchel Resnick | Go to book overview

4
Learning Design by Making Games Children's Development of Design Strategies in the Creation of a Complex Computational Artifact

Yasmin B. Kafai

I made a game. It started out very slowly at first. It is very hard to put together your own game. You may think it is easy to do because of all the video games people play. They look so simple but try making your own game and it's a totally different story! Well, I started out with very high expectations thinking that I could make a great game in very short time. It turned out that I'm still not done with it even after about 4 or 5 months. (Rosemary, 10 years, toward the end of the project)

I really expected even though the teacher told me that it would take months and months and months to finish the game, I really did expect to do it, like start it, in one week and finish it up the next week. . . . I just went like: Oh, this will be easy. All it will be, is a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and a little research, and I'll be finished. But it didn't turn out that way because I had to spend a lot of days on research and programming. There were tons of problems, like one time my turtle was messed up. Plus I had to make all the graphics and everything. So it had problems, but it has been fun. (Jeremy, I I years, at the end of the project)

As these quotes of two young game designers illustrate, there is something to be learned from making games that goes beyond learning programming and specific subject matter. The students' descriptions reflect their early expectations about making games, which were probably influenced by their experiences with regular classroom work and home assignments. Conventional school assignments rarely give students the opportunity to spend 6 months on a complex project such as making a game. Hence, most students have little experience in design (i.e., planning, problem solving, researching, dealing with time constraints, modifying expectations, and bringing everything together into one project). Previous research even suggests that young students may not be able to accomplish such projects because children have limited abilities in planning and dealing with

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Constructionism in Practice: Designing, Thinking, and Learning in a Digital World
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • List of Contributors xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Acknowledgments 8
  • Part I - Perspectives in Constructionism 8a
  • 1 - A Word for Learning 9
  • References 24
  • 2 - Perspective-Taking and Object Construction 25
  • Conclusion 32
  • Acknowledgments 34
  • References 34
  • 3 - Elementary School Children's Images of Science 37
  • Introduction 37
  • Conclusions 62
  • Acknowledgments 64
  • Acknowledgments 65
  • Appendix B - Image of Science Interview Guideline 65
  • Part II - Learning Through Design 70a
  • 4 - Learning Design by Making Games Children's Development of Design Strategies in the Creation of a Complex Computational Artifact 71
  • Conclusion 93
  • Acknowledgments 94
  • References 94
  • 5 - Electronic Play Worlds 97
  • Conclusions 119
  • Acknowledgments 121
  • References 121
  • 6 - The Art of Design 125
  • Foreword 125
  • References 158
  • 7 - Building and Learning with Programmable Bricks 161
  • Introduction 161
  • References 172
  • Part III - Learning in Communities *
  • 8 - Social Constructionism and the Inner City Designing Environments for Social Development and Urban Renewal 175
  • Introduction 175
  • Acknowledgments 204
  • Appendix - Statistical Data About the Four Corners Neighborhood 204
  • References 205
  • 9 - The MediaMOO Project Constructionism and Professional Community 207
  • Conclusion - Constructionism and Virtual Reality 220
  • Acknowledgments 221
  • References 221
  • 10 - A Community of Designers Learning Through Exchanging Questions and Answers 223
  • Introduction 223
  • References 239
  • 11 - They Have Their Own Thoughts 241
  • Introduction 241
  • Conclusion 251
  • Acknowledgments 252
  • References 253
  • Part IV - Learning About Systems 254a
  • 12 - New Paradigms for Computing, New Paradigms for Thinking 255
  • Introduction 255
  • Acknowledgments 266
  • References 267
  • 13 - Making Sense of Probability Through Paradox and Programming A Case Study in a Connected Mathematics Framework 269
  • Introduction 269
  • Concluding Remarks 290
  • Acknowledgments 292
  • References 293
  • 14 - Ideal and Real Systems 297
  • Introduction 297
  • Analysis and Conclusions 318
  • Acknowledgments 322
  • References 322
  • Author Index 323
  • Subject Index 329
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