Sunday, October 31, 2010

Reflections: Student as Designers Showcase

Last Thursday, Macquarie ICT Innovations Centre hosted as 'Students as Designers Showcase' where Department of Education teachers and Macquarie University academic staff participated in sessions led by Year 5 and 6 students from Cromer Public School on students as game designers and participative narratives, and Year 11 Caringbah High School students on Learning Design using LAMS. What an incredible job all the students did!

During our Game Design session, five Cromer Public School students talked about their journey as designers and what they learned from this experience. In the guise of investigators, the teachers and University staff then sat with the student game designers, talking to them about their games, what they liked best about their games, how they could improve them and what they learned from designing and building computer games.
We were also very excited to have Sam Doust, Creative Director, Strategic Development at ABC Innovation talk to the students and adults about the augmented reality drama, Bluebird, that he helped write and produce which is set around the leak of Bluebird, a clandestine geo-engineering initiative created by eco-billionaire Harrison Wyld. This presentation highlighted some of the exciting developments in the way we see digital narratives and games in literacy. The possibilities this type of narrative brings to students designing their own interactive narratives, and the depth of learning that would occur, has captured the imaginations of the staff at MacICT.

The hit of the day with the students (and many of the adults present) was the visit from ABC's Good Game hosts Bajo and Hex (aka Steven O'Donnell and Stephanie Bendixen). To the absolute delight of the students, Bajo and Hex mingled with them, chatted about the games the students had made and played some of them. They also talked to the students and adults for 40 minutes about what they like about games, what makes a good game from a player's perspective, how to make a game enjoyable and answered many questions from students and adults. Afterwards, Bajo and Hex stayed around and mixed with the students and were swamped with more and more questions about games and their jobs. This was certainly an experience many students claim has been a highlight of their year!

At both Sam, and Bajo and Hex's session, we had teachers and students from various schools join with us via video conference!

Students and adults also had the opportunity to participate together on an interactive adventure and explore a narrative that Anthony and I wrote with collaboration from my Year 6 students at Cromer Public School. Real and fiction were blended together in this participative narrative that invited the readers to be a part of the story.

When we reflect on what occurred during the sessions we saw, collaboration, cooperation, creativity, innovation, great discussions, teamwork and, we can't forget... some fun thrown in! Thank you to the teachers and academic staff who joined us on this fabulous day and, most importantly, a HUGE congratulations to all the students who, despite some feeling a little anxious, willingly shared with the adults present, their journey into game design. You guys are simply awesome!

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