Participatory game design aims to foster the ability to promote inclusivity and strengthen social solidarity among diverse groups. Generally speaking, participatory game design is a process aiming to engage endusers not only as a players or testers, but also as active participants of the stepbystep decisions that take place during the game design process (Romero, Davidson, Cucinelli, Ouellet & Arthur, 2016). The process and experience of collaborating on a game design project provides participants with meaningful, fulfilling experiences that may bring them closer together and help raise critical awareness of the lived experiences of other individuals and groups, specifically related to seniors and technology in this context.
With this process in mind, we created a workshop concept where to examine how participants from 11 to 75yearsold can create game prototype through collaboration and to analyze senior’s perceptions of on technologies, modes of usage, older and newer technology, and ageism and technology through collaborative and participatory methods. These themes were incorporated in the design and creation of the digital game in the context of an intergenerational game creation experience. Participants of the workshop ranged from 11 to 75 years old and were distributed in teams aiming to maximize their age diversity. Thirty participants spent a day together to learn how to use Scratch, a game prototyping online software developed at the MIT labs. They collaboratively developed games based on the following Montreal themed prompts: Expo 67, the Champlain Bridge, the Montreal metro system, Montreal’s 375th anniversary, Montreal ecosystem, and La Ronde diversion park. During the first half of the workshop participants were guided through a basic introduction to Scratch; groups were then formed on the basis that each one had to have representative age groups; prompts were then selected and groups spent the remainder of the day brainstorming and developing their games.
A selection of the socalled 21st century skills were selfassessed by the participants with a collaborative actionresearch tool called the Socratic Wheel, which allowed participants to individually selfassess at the beginning of the workshop and at the end of the workshop, by placing a PostIt to indicate their perceived skill level. Our team was able to generate an average and to identify clusters with regards to where participants stood in relation to the skills we were measuring. With regards to “Creativity”, “Collaboration” and “ProblemSolving”, the general perception was that there was an improvement during the workshop. Participants all placed their PostIts above the morning average because the general impressions were that the workshop was so positive that everyone felt more confident. This was obvious when participants showed their video prototypes, which appeared to be a celebration of their collaborative work. No matter if the prototype was complete or not, people felt they had learned something valuable.
The results of our study reinforce the concept that game creation engages the learners in a knowledge modelling process (Jonassen, 1996; Jonassen, Strobel, & Gottdenker, 2005) in relation to the computational thinking skills engaged when the learners are invited to develop a creative programming activity (Grover & Pea, 2013; Romero & Vallerand, 2016), but they also point to genuinely new understandings of the influence that intergenerational participants can have on each other.
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Romero, M., Davidson, A.L., Cucinelli, G., Ouellet, H. & Arthur, K. (2016). Learning to code: from procedural puzzlebased games to creative programming. CIDUI. Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona