'I liked it, but it made you think too much': A case study of computer game authoring in the Key Stage 3 ICT curriculum

Johnson, Claire (2014) 'I liked it, but it made you think too much': A case study of computer game authoring in the Key Stage 3 ICT curriculum. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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The importance of giving pupils opportunities to become producers of digital media is well documented in the literature (see Harel, 1991; Papert, 1993; Kafai, 1995; Harel Caperton, 2010; Luckin et al., 2012; Nesta, 2012; Sefton-Green, 2013), however there has been little research in this area in the context of the UK Key Stage 3 ICT curriculum.

The purpose of this study is to achieve an understanding of how authoring computer games in a mainstream secondary setting can support the learning of basic game design and programming concepts. The research explores pupils’ experiences of the process they followed and the areas of learning they encountered as they made their games, and considers what they valued and what they found difficult in the game authoring activity.

The research draws on the learning theory of constructionism, which asserts the importance of pupils using computers as ‘building material’ to create digital artefacts. In the process of creating these artefacts, over time, computers become ‘objects to think with’, enabling pupils to learn how to learn (Papert, 1980b; Harel and Papert, 1991a).

Data were collected in planning documents, journals and the games pupils made, in recordings of their working conversations, and in pair and group interviews. Findings indicate that as well as learning some basic programming concepts, pupils enjoyed the activity, demonstrated positive attitudes to learning and felt a sense of achievement in creating a complex artefact which had personal and cultural significance for them.

This research acknowledges the need to develop accessible units of work to implement aspects of the new Computing curriculum (DfE, 2013c), especially for teachers and pupils who have little prior knowledge of the field. It suggests that computer game authoring may offer a viable entry and considers the extent to which constructionist approaches are suitable for this kind of work.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Education and Lifelong Learning
Depositing User: Users 5605 not found.
Date Deposited: 23 Jun 2015 14:43
Last Modified: 25 Jun 2015 08:23
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/53381

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