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Colloquium - Kafai

What Makes "Making" Computer Games Fun?
UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies

The title of this presentation alludes to a paper written by Thomas Malone over 15 years ago in which he investigated the motivating qualities of educational game playing environments. While game playing as such has received some attention in regard to what children can learn and what other benefits there might be, game making activities have remained unchartered territory.

Several years ago, I started out my research on how computer game design could become an environment for mathematical learning. More recently, I have extended these investigations into understanding how students and teachers can use game design to build on and challenge their existing understandings of mathematics, engage in relevant and meaningful learning contexts, and develop connections among their mathematical ideas and their real world contexts.

I will present results from several studies with young students and teachers designing and implementing games to teach fractions to younger students looking at (a) how teachers and students conceptualize the task of creating virtual game learning environment for others, (b) in which ways they integrate their understanding of fractions and develop notions about students' thinking in fractions, and (c) how conceptual design tools can provide a common platform to develop meaningful mathematical contexts. Based on this research, I discuss the features of conceptual design tools and present an expanded view of educational games.

Hosted by Gerhard Fischer.

Department of Computer Science
University of Colorado Boulder
Boulder, CO 80309-0430 USA
May 5, 2012 (14:13)