2: Brainstorming, Planning

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Design Brainstorming

From the educational topics that we received from HCII, we’ve been brainstorming some possible game ideas. Some of the topics include gravity, stability principles, and an object’s center of mass. These principles tie pretty well together and also bring up other secondary topics, such as friction, momentum, and acceleration. Along with the learning principles, HCII also provided us with socio-emotional goals to aim for. These goals will help with children’s social skills as well as their emotional capabilities for interaction with other kids. These goals include solving problems through discussion with peers, seeking/asking for assistance from others, and cooperating to complete a joint task.

Using these topics and goals, we brainstormed a document of game ideas covering these topics in different game spaces. This list had a wide range of ideas and we trimmed it down to three that we all felt were the strongest and had the most potential. One of these games involves using ramps to get an avatar to a goal. The ramps would be different angles and shapes, as well as different materials. This shows the children friction, momentum, and gravity. It also gives them a change to plan and think about their process. Another important thing about these games is that we have to keep in mind that sometimes the best learning comes from failure, so having a clear “win”/”lose” state is good for the kids.


Planning For The Semester

This week, we’ve been thinking about our approach for this semester’s product. One approach would be to develop small games that are quick experiences that expose the kids to the concepts. This approach allows us to make a breadth of experiences, which will provide our HCII partners more avenues for assessment and measuring the kid’s learning. This could also allow for easier transfer between games; the games wouldn’t take long to go through and each one would build off the last game’s topic.

Another suggestion is to create a larger game that has much more depth, so it provides a longer experience for the children. From our experience with RumbleBlocks last semester, if a game is engaging, kids will play it and enjoy it a lot. So a larger game like that will allow for a more engaging experience. This might pose an issue however in testing whether or not the game is teaching the children anything.

Along with our thoughts about new games, we are also talking with HCII about adjustments to RumbleBlocks. While the game was fun and interesting for the kids, it’s not clear if they are learning anything, and currently it is too difficult to get an accurate measurement. We are working with HCII to find a low-cost solution to give RumbleBlocks a stronger way to assess children’s learning.

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