Game Jams and
A game jam is a meeting of game developers to plan, design, and develop a game together in a short amount of time (usually 24-72 hours). People from various disciplines work together. This includes programmers, game designers, artists, 3D modelers, audio designers, musicians and many more.
Game storms usually follow a similar format, but are aimed at the sole design of games, in digital or physical (cards, etc…) form.
Depending on the nature of the format, it can be completely non-digital (e.g. board game storm) or strongly digital (e.g. game jam to develop fully working games). In the second case, typical softwares are Scratch, GameMaker, Unity and any graphic software (from Adobe suite to Piskel to Rhino or Autodesk Maya…)
Game Jam and game storm can be extremely useful in order to develop soft skills related to creativity and teamwork. Game jams are now often used in many didactical contexts, from early childhood school up to HE, as workshops based on the game development. The game storm is a combination between game jam and brainstorm. In this workshop, participants get in contact with different creative interventions that can lead to previously unheard ideas. In this case, the games are only designed, or even just outlined by the participants.
When dealing with the design/implementation of serious/applied games, the participants are – at the same time – reflection on the specific topic addressed by the game, in terms of learning needs (eg. social themes, such as ecology, or a teaching subject, as a specific historical period) and ways to communicate them through the game (with its mechanics, dynamics and aesthetics).
The main goal of such format may have a double direction:
- To learn or to put into practice already acquired hard skills;
- To develop or improve soft skills.
These formats are – among the many belonging to the whole field of “gamification” – the most potentially applicable in the training sector as well in HE. In those ‘gathering of people’, the participants can collaborate in the creation of ‘playful artifacts’, not necessarily video games, having specific learning, training or – better – transformative purposes.
Those immersive experience formats are often widely used in the HE context with big number of participants, up to hundreds at the same time, where the space constraints allows it (eg. Global Game Jam).
Assessment is done by direct observation, peer review and providing feedback.
In most cases, game jam/storms are sort of “collaborative competitions” where the winner(s), often many, one per category, are elected by vote of a jury of experts or by peers (as it happens in the Global Game Jam).
It has to be underlined that, when one or more winners are awarded, the prize should not be monetary, and not too extensive to avoid a sense of competition that would impair the cooperation fundamentally when the main goal is to develop soft skills of the participants.
Our Project Objective
eLene4Life supports curriculum innovation in higher education (HE) through the development of active learning approaches for transversal skills, with the ultimate aim of improving students’ employability.
The European Commission support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents which reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.
This project No. 2018-1-FR01-KA203-047829 has been funded by Erasmus + programme of the European Union.