GameOn partnership is scaling inclusive game design practices in Cities of Learning

 

Game design is a powerful tool to empower people to unlock their creative and innovative potential through a seemingly playful process. Regardless of their previous experiences, competences, or level of confidence, everyone can get involved in the creative processes.

The partners in four Cities of Learning – Barcelona, Cagliari Metropolitan, Novi Sad and Vilnius – join our forces to promote and scale inclusive game design practices that benefit young people, educators and youth workers in our communities. All partners have experience involving young people in developing educational games and have observed significant learning impact on their personal, social, career and civic development.

Partner consortium. Nexes (ES) – the lead partner, Idealúdica (ES), Universitat de Barcelona (ES), BalkanIdea Novi Sad (SR), Nectarus (LT), Associazione Interculturale NUR (IT).

Game On develops educational tools for youth workers, educators, teachers to promote social inclusion and critical thinking through game design learning and educational activities in our local communities.

Activities. Partners will map good practices of inclusive game design, organise international and local training workshops, create educational resources and make them accessible on the local Cities of Learning platforms. Qualitative research on the learning outcomes will accompany all the activities of the project.

The project partners will work on the following outcomes and outputs:

  • Mapping of Game Design models. As a starting point of this project, this first Work Package will enable the project partners to gather more information on game design models used at each local level (by the partners, by role models and by the local networks of other partners and experienced game designers). Each country will focus on getting to know in depth 5 different game design successful experiences (therefore, 20 in total).
  • Educational Game Design Training Modules. This work page will start and directly build upon the outcomes of the WP1, with the main aim to operationalise different educational game design concepts and steps into training modules for different target groups (youth workers, trainers/facilitators, teachers).
  • Game On Trainings. This Work Package (WP) will enable the project partners to implement training activities at the international and local level for upgrade competencies in the partnerships about game design models, but also to disseminate the Manual within wider European partners promoting a seminar for sharing good practices about game design. Multipliers will implement training activities at the local level to foster the involvement of wider groups of diverse stakeholders.
  • Learning Playlists to scale good practices of educational game design. The WP4 will focus on making accessible and dissemination of resources on educational game design. Content and resources produced as outcomes of WP1-WP5 will be collected and organised in a digital interactive format of Learning Playlists. Playlists will be uploaded on the localised platforms of Cities of Learning in Barcelona, Cagliari Metropolitan, Novi Sad and Vilnius in partner languages as well as in English on the global platform of Cities of Learning. Cities of Learning platform will enable upscale good practices and promote them to other sectors, target groups, countries and regions.
  • Impact measurement of Game Design to promote Inclusion. In this Work Package, the University of Barcelona will carry out scientific research to quantify the impact of game design for educational purposes related to inclusion. The intention is to go beyond the method of filling up a qüestionnaire before and after the process: the challenge is to gamify the research without losing compromising its quality. It will be done by creating a board game that later on could be used as an impact assessment tool for other purposes and projects.
  • Management and Evaluation. Management and Evaluation WP is ensuring the ongoing steering and follow up of the entire project keeping the partnership informed and updated about the overall financial situation and as well about the results of each WPs realised.

Dissemination and impact

We use the Cities of Learning platform for young people, youth workers, and educators to find learning opportunities to master game design and get their learning validated and recognised with the use of Open Badges. This strategic partnership is part of a long-term collaboration between several Cities and Regions of Learning. More than 30 cities and regions may benefit from GameOn outcomes and outputs.

 

The European Union funds the project through the ERASMUS+ programme.

 

ACTIVITIES, OUTPUTS AND OUTCOMES

Explore what we do, create and achieve in this partnership.

WP1 - MAPPING GAME DESIGN PRACTICES. A series of podcasts.

The GameOn project partners interviewed game designers about their practices and approaches to using the game design process as a way for inclusion, participation and competence development.

We selected 10 best practices and invite you to listen to a series of podcasts where experts share their game design experiences and practices. By listening to and reflecting on podcasts you can earn digital Open Badges on the Cities of Learning platform.

Translations:

  • in Italian – GameOn podcast “Unfolding Game Design”

Earn digital badges! Open Badges is a global standard to recognise and verify skills, learning and achievements. They are digital micro-credentials that may represent identity, interests, competences and achievements across the web. Learn more.
WP1 - GAME DESIGN UNFOLDED. An online international fair.

During 28-29 June 2021, the GameOn partners organised an online international fair to share, exchange and get inspired about and from diverse game design experiences. We started by exploring and learning from 6 Role Models from all over Europe (Italy, Latvia, Spain and Lithuania) who introduced their experience of game design processes:

  • Games that Change the world – a tabletop game about the environment, Human Rights, democracy, Sustainable Development Goals (Raúl Rosales Raez. Organisation: Bosco Global);
  • Nature in the hands of youth – a tabletop game about environmental diversity (Agata Babina. Organisation: Radi Vidi Pats);
  • Escape Games – building escape room about ecology, refugees situation, Lithuanian history, etc. (Audrius Laurutis. Organisation: VšĮ Kūrybos ir inovacijų laboratorija);
  • Escape Racism – building escape room against racism (Pasquale Lanni. Organisation: Eufemia);
  • Like You – LARP (Live Action Role-Playing game) on discrimination, hate crimes, radicalization (Iacopo Maffi. Organisation: Spazio Giovani);
  • Go Deep Game – asset-based community development process focused on change on three levels: individual, group and community (Emiliano Bon and Sergi Barrientos. Organisation: Xena).

Next, we continued reflecting, sharing and refining game design Methodology Models to make it more systemic.

 

Printscreens from the online event:

 

Events on the Barcelona City of Learning platform (click on images to access):

 

WP1 - MEMOS. Methodological approaches for educational game design.

Based on our research, the GameOn partners developed 7 methodological models (MeMos). We asked 23 facilitators of game design and interviewed extensively 10 of them in the podcast series “Unfolding Game Design” where we got to know more about the different approaches used in the game design journey.

We identified the following game design approaches that vary in the participation level and their application context. Download all MeMos posters in different languages:

Further down you can access the learning playlists that explain every model in detail. Use MeMos to learn, reflect and improve your game design practices with more inclusive and participatory experiences!

 

Explore a learning playlist “GameON: Educational game design. Methodological Models” that presents all 7 game design approaches.

Translations:

 

WP2 - TRAINING MODULES. Educational game design training modules.

The GameOn partners created the training module’s structure at the project start. We researched game design good practice examples at local, national and European levels. The game design process examples and the Methodology Models served as inspiration for creating educational modules on game design.

After the first phase of the project, the actual process of designing educational modules followed 6 steps:

  1. Defining the flow of the module – list of topics that participants need to go through and their order;
  2. Defining learning objectives for each topic – what do we think is important for participants to learn during the module;
  3. Defining the approach and structure of the module for each partner;
  4. Defining methods to use in order to cover each learning objective;
  5. Testing the modules with different target groups;

The first two steps were done jointly by all partners. Each partner separately defined the approach and methods and then tested pilot training modules. This way we’ve got results from trying out different possible ways to educate youth workers, trainers and teachers in inclusive game design.

The flow of the modules was very similar for each of the partners, while it diverged at several points, depending on the target group. Here we share the four training module programmes.

 

Training module in Sardinia, Italy (download in PDF):

 

Training module in Lithuania (download in PDF):

 

Training module in Serbia (download in PDF):

 

Training module in Spain (download in PDF):

 

WP2 - MANUAL. Educational game design manual.

The GameOn “Educational Game Design Manual” introduces facilitators with the concept and mechanism of educational game design supporting inclusion and empowerment. The GameOn partners collected good practices and provides an overview of how others facilitate the inclusive game design process. Furthermore, partners share a step by step modules adapted to different target groups encompassed by this project.

Download the GameOn Educational Manual.

WP2 - INCLUSION PAPER. Bonus resource.

This Game On project aims to develop educational tools for youth workers, educators, and teachers to promote social inclusion and critical thinking through game design learning and educational activities in our local communities.

The project partners identified a need to have a deeper contextualisation of the needs, challenges and realities of social inclusion as it’s one of the project’s special focuses. To address this demand, the consortium impulsed a process of diagnosis and research on the matter.

Hence, this paper serves as both a background document that will have a value of orientation on the meaning of inclusion and as a summary of the situation in the different countries that can support and guide the work done on game design.

In order to produce simple, meaningful and useful research about the inclusion realities in each country, two main sources have been used:

  • desk research on the topic has been carried out by each partner and by the University of Barcelona; and
  • a mini entrance questionnaire was submitted to training courses’ participants (the focus has been reduced to only young people).

Overall, three main elements were highlighted:

  1. The main inclusion challenges and discrimination issues;
  2. The development of a spirit of critical thinking; and
  3. The initiatives that are taken by practitioners to address these challenges and needs.

Download the Inclusion Paper in PDF.

 

WP3 - GAMEON TRAINING. International training of multipliers.

The GameOn Training of Multipliers supported the aim for participants to acquire the knowledge and skills on facilitating a game design process with their youth groups to promote inclusion and critical thinking. We wanted to go from “just using games” to designing them: the process of designing a game is itself a powerful and valuable learning process!

This training course took place from 10th to 16th of June 2022, in Daugirdiskes, Lithuania.

The GameOn project partners promoted this course primarily to participants of local pilot training modules. Additionally, partners disseminated information about this opportunity through our local channels and networks.

The partners selected and supported 25 participants, including the organisers’ team. Participants’ profiles varied and involved youth workers, teachers, adult educators, and trainers (or other actors in the educational field) eager to act as multipliers after the training course.

Below are participants’ quotes:

“This training showed to great value of Erasmus plus programme: supported learning, professional staff and fantastic group.”

“Truly amazing quality course 🙂 very good dynamics and theoretical sessions, great training team. I started this course knowing literally nothing about game design and now I feel a biiiiig interest into it”

“It’s a great experience. I feel the methodology very useful for my life and my work. Also the activities:
“This has been a really good training to experience in myself the process of game design and see all the possibilities I highly recommend it!”

“Amazing! I Learned and had fun! The group was perfect, we were totally different but connected to each other. The facilitators were fantastic! Delicious food 😉 Thanks!”

“It has been an awesome experience, with an awesome trainer’s team and awesome and valuable participants.”

“This course was very important for me, because, I have new knowledge and now after this course, I can use it in my work and in society.”

“I feel like I learned a lot firstly by just listening to others and then by looking at which competences I have and what I still need in order to become the best facilitator and group leader.”

“It was a great trip into the game design world where I found a lot of skills to share in my personal working experience. And also show me a path to multiply these skills and shared them with others. I’m really thankful to the whole organisation team to give me the opportunity.”

“Rad na onome u cemu uzivas pokrece svet. Vidimo se oko stola za drustvenu igru. Game on! ;)”

“All high-level professionals. They had great attention on the participants and on the dynamics of the group. My level of learning about game design has increased and so has my desire to be a multiplier. unfortunately I come home with all the words that I have not given, inside of me. my new goal is to learn English”

 

Below is the final training programme (download in PDF).

 

WP4 - LEARNING PLAYLISTS. Scaling educational game design.

GameOn partners aim at creating 10 learning playlists on educational game design to upscale the gameplay and game design as tools for inclusion, participation and critical thinking. Individuals and organisations will have free access to content, activities and digital resources to implement educational gameplay and inclusive game design in their practice.

Currently, we created 6 learning playlists that we tested during the local and international training activities. GameOn partners gradually translate all the playlists to our languages.

You can access all the GameOn Learning playlists on this Padlet board.

 

WP4 - DISSEMINATION STRATEGY. Scaling educational game design.

Early in the GameOn project’s implementation, the Nectarus team created the Communication and dissemination strategy to guide partners. Every partner created their specific communication plans for the first 6 months. Later, the leading team integrated communication and dissemination planning, coordination and realisation into the working packages process.

The communication strategy is built on the grant application that promised:

  • creating communication strategy and digital templates
  • dissemination of the results mainly through the Cities of Learning platform and network
  • creating local dissemination plans and implementing activities
  • scaling through future training activities and European large-scale events

Indicators:

  • 4800 people will get to know about digital content and activities on educational game design
  • 960 people will come to the platform of Cities of Learning
  • 320 people will join online activities of Learning Playlists on the Cities of Learning platform
  • 160 people will earn badges by completing activities of Learning Playlists focused on game design

Communication goals:

  1. Raising awareness among local stakeholders, teachers, youth workers and practitioners about game design as tools for critical thinking and inclusion: better understanding of language, logic, dynamics and culture of gaming and bridging the communication and education gap with youth by adopting a more critically aware approach to their main interests;
  2. Making accessible and dissemination of resources on game design through the digital platform of Cities of Learning: a stronger portfolio of professional tools for education and fostering professional development access to a standardised approach to game design;
  3. Young people becoming more active users and creators of games: shifting from being passive players to becoming developers able to appreciate hidden mechanisms behind games and how they are designed

Target audiences:

  • Game design practitioners and organisations
  • Youth leaders, youth workers and teachers
  • Local stakeholders

General communication messages:

  • Game design can be an inclusive educational tool which enables us to engage diverse learners in our cities.
  • Youth workers and educators can master game design practices to attract and involve vulnerable young people.
  • Game design is a learning process that makes youth work and education more inclusive.