The American Optometric Association found that 79% of children use some form of technology for up to 4 hours a day. The 21st century child is growing up surrounded by computers, laptops, smartphones and other electronics.

Children are capable and comfortable with using the latest technology, more so than most adults, and the benefits of doing so are quickly being discovered. From individualized learning to hand eye coordination, the vast number of skills students learn through the use of technology will be invaluable for their future.

With these statistics and benefits, it is easy to see why applications for computer based subject courses are on the rise. Schools are now specializing in animation, design and graphics, with careers in these areas being highly sought after.

Introducing game design into the classroom can encapsulate all the benefits of working with technology, while preparing students for a future in an industry that is fast growing.

Designing a prototype

Students will need to be imaginative and creative, along with being computer literate, in order to create a prototype. This can be a complex stage for any student and should be approached appropriately by the educator with regards to age and learning style. Younger children may find it easier to brainstorm on paper and discuss ideas in groups before working as a team to create the design online. More mature students may wish to ‘have a go’ and see where it leads them, potentially working on their own.

Start with a basic concept for classes; perhaps, they can create a basic edition game for children under the age of 4. They can plan out the design and consider how they are going to create a prototype within the time you have allocated to them.

Playtest

After you have called the class back and they have had sufficient time to create their prototype, it is essential they test what they have made. In the instance suggested above they will need to provide the game to children under the age of 4 and see how they interact with it, how well the game works, whether they learn from it and if there are any issues that need to be rectified.

Analysis

After information has been collected about the game, students can discuss their findings and decide what changes they could make to their product. This can be varied in the way it is conducted depending on the students’ age. It can be as in-depth, with comparisons and historical analysis, or as basic as you wish.

This part of the process will help students understand where they need to adapt their work, and it will also encourage them to discuss or provide evidence for why they need to do so.

In the end

Throughout the designing stages, students learn to work as a team, take responsibility, evaluate, work precisely and adapt their work, along with many other skills. Knowledge and ICT are an ever increasing ‘must’ for employers. Such courses like this can be vital in encouraging children and getting the results you want out of the modern learner.

Author: Jackie Edwards

Besides being a mother, Jackie writes full time on topics ranging from health and wellness, right through to news and current affairs. In her spare time she volunteers for a number of local charities that support adults and children with autism as she herself is on the spectrum.