The GameChangers programme has been a key initiative at Coventry University powered by our interest in the need for playful and gameful approaches to be embedded in teaching and learning. Best practices and lessons learnt from the programme have inspired two new spin off initiatives: Mobile GameChangers (Coventry multi-campuses) and CreativeCulture (UK-Malaysia) which have recently received funding from HEFCE and NEWTON/AHRC/MOHE respectively.
Mobile GameChangers (HEFCE) will bring the practices of game design thinking and playful learning to the different Coventry University campuses, creating a community of playful learners. The project aims to establish an open game design and literacy course and a community of Coventry University undergraduate students across its various campuses, and linking it with both amateur and professional communities in the field of game development. The project will build upon existing experimental pilot initiatives (collectively branded as the GameChangers programme). The approach is underpinned by the pedagogical constructs of ‘game-based learning’ and ‘learning by designing’. By equipping students with conceptual tools for reading and remixing key aspects of current media ecology, they will be able to acknowledge, support and foster their own capacity for active engagement in complex systems-based creative processes, not only as consumers but also as curators, creators and critical thinkers.
CreativeCulture (NEWTON) aims to expand the programme to address educational challenges within the context of inclusive learning for learners from the rural parts of Malaysia Borneo. CreativeCulture will involve collaborations with Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS), where we will explore, exploit and experiment the impact of arts, design and culture in enhancing creative thinking and development in education (primary and secondary K12) through game design and computational thinking as an approach and instrument for fostering creative problem solving and transcultural practices in Malaysia. Art and Design are poised to transform our economy in the 21st century just as science and technology did in the last century. The CreativeCulture project is aligned with the inclusion of Arts in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics education (STEAM), realising the potential of these subjects by enabling true innovation and new thinking through creativity. Art and culture boost creativity and creativity leads to innovation, new thinking and moving beyond existing skills; all together are triggers and needed in the social transformation. We thus need to allow for fun, playful, hands-on, socially and culturally grounded explorations of curricular topics during primary and secondary school to foster contextualised and deeper learning. In this project, creating games as a cooperative activity on the edge of the diverse fields of Art, Design, Culture, Science, and Engineering can be a fertile ground to cultivate these mind-sets and practices, and to provide a place for them to meet and learn how to fruitfully cooperate in a global setting (transcultural and transdisciplinary).
It will be a very busy but exciting 2017 with these two projects added to our portfolio of work for the next 2 years. GameChangers has come a long way and we will work hard and play hard – injecting serious fun into research, development and practice of playful and gameful learning in the UK and internationally.