Icon for: Sinem Siyahhan

SINEM SIYAHHAN

California State University San Marcos
Public Discussion
  • May 13, 2018 | 02:30 p.m.

    Having students create games sounds like a wonderful way to engage their higher-order thinking -- congratulations!

  • Icon for: Sinem Siyahhan

    Sinem Siyahhan

    Lead Presenter
    May 17, 2018 | 05:20 p.m.

    Thank you! 

     
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    Steve Ahle
  • Icon for: Claire Duggan

    Claire Duggan

    Higher Ed Administrator
    May 14, 2018 | 08:50 a.m.

    Informative, good mix of student and teacher perspectives.

     

  • Icon for: Sinem Siyahhan

    Sinem Siyahhan

    Lead Presenter
    May 17, 2018 | 05:20 p.m.

    Thank you! I am glad the student and teacher perspectives are coming through in our video. 

     
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    Steve Ahle
  • Icon for: Andee Rubin

    Andee Rubin

    Facilitator
    May 14, 2018 | 05:22 p.m.

    This looks like a fun project for students.  I'm curious about how students see the relationship between the games they design and real-world problems.  One of the teachers in the video talked about students really understanding social problems by talking to the people experiencing them (I'm paraphrasing here and maybe getting it wrong) - how did this get reflected in games that create their own "real world"?  I'm also curious about the role of parents, as this is one of your research questions and I have long felt that parents may be an untapped resource in terms of supporting students of all ages in STEM.

  • Icon for: Sinem Siyahhan

    Sinem Siyahhan

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 03:48 p.m.

    Hi Andee, 

    During the empathize phase (the first step in the design thinking cycle), students pick the social (or real world) problem they want to address with the game they want to design. From there, they conduct research, interviews, or observations about their topic to find out exactly what people know (or don't know), value, or do about the topic during the define phase (the next step in the design thinking process). This helps students narrow down the real world problem they want to address. For example, a student might care about endangered species; however, during the define phase, the student might uncover that people do not know about rhinos. Then, they design games to address this particular issue. Some topics lend themselves to games that aim to change people's behaviors (e.g., bullying) while others focus on increasing people's knowledge about that topic.

    Regarding parent engagement, yes, I agree with your assessment. It is challenging to find ways to engage parents in their children's STEM learning as co-learners. In our project, we found that parents and children enjoy designing board games together where they can draw from their own experiences of playing board games as a family. The design thinking cycle of empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test helps facilitate the activity, and provides a framework for parents to support their children's making activities.

     
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    Steve Ahle
  • Icon for: Danielle Espino

    Danielle Espino

    IC4 Project Manager
    May 15, 2018 | 02:18 a.m.

    This is such a great way of getting students to engage in the subject matter while creating something tangible and relevant.  What programs are they using to develop their games?  Do students work individually or can they choose to work in groups?  I've organized game jams in the past, and one of the schools in our current project has middle schoolers already learning python, and I'm just amazed at the capacity of what students can do when fostered with the opportunity.  Also, tagging onto Andee's comment, how has the parent engagement experience been so far, and what has been the impact?  (one of my good friends just finished a dissertation on this topic, so keenly interested in how this has played out with this project) 

  • Icon for: Sinem Siyahhan

    Sinem Siyahhan

    Lead Presenter
    May 15, 2018 | 05:02 p.m.

    Thank you for your question, Danielle! We started with designing board games and then had students use Gamestar Mechanic and Scratch for digital games. We are hoping to integrate robotics and electronic textiles. That said, the challenge we are facing is that students need to develop both game design skills and master the tools for creating digital games in a short period. So, while students can create complete and sophisticated games when designing board games, they struggle significantly and need more time when they get into coding. We gave students an option to work individually and in groups.

    Thus far, on the parent engagement side, we held a couple of three- hour family events where parents and children came to design games together around a topic they cared. We had more success with board games than digital games. We got positive feedback from parents who usually do not see game design related to STEM learning.

     
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    Steve Ahle
    Robyn White
  • Icon for: Kelsey Lipsitz

    Kelsey Lipsitz

    Facilitator
    May 15, 2018 | 11:59 p.m.

    Thank you for sharing your work! You mentioned collecting data related to how the teachers and students are interacting with one another as students are designing and making their games...what thoughts do you have about how teachers can best support their students throughout this process?

  • Icon for: Sinem Siyahhan

    Sinem Siyahhan

    Lead Presenter
    May 17, 2018 | 05:19 p.m.

    Great question, Kelsey! The best way for teachers to facilitate students' learning is through guided questioning and engaging in whole class reflections at the end of each phase of the design thinking cycle. Students in our project enjoyed exploring social issues, brainstorming ideas, and constructing their games. They struggled the most during 'define' phase where they had to narrow the problem they wanted to address in their games and come up with "How Might We Design a Game that..." questions. It is essential for teachers to scaffold students during this phase so that students become more intentional about the design of their games. During prototyping phase, students need quality feedback to improve their games. Asking questions about how students are thinking about the interactions between the goal, rules, and core mechanics of their game, and how what they are designing connects to their social issue and what outcomes they expect to see after people play their games is key to supporting students' learning. 

     
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    Steve Ahle
    Kelsey Lipsitz
  • Icon for: Lee Nelson

    Lee Nelson

    K-12 Administrator
    May 16, 2018 | 02:21 a.m.

    In our guided inquiry and making project we find many students are eager to create games, yet have no understanding of game design or principles of gameplay. Do you facilitate this via a generative process, or do you use some existing resources to teach this to your learners?

     

  • Icon for: Sinem Siyahhan

    Sinem Siyahhan

    Lead Presenter
    May 20, 2018 | 07:12 p.m.

    Hi Lee! Yes, students, although they play games, usually do not have an understanding of how to design games. Before they start prototyping, we have students play games and deconstruct them. We draw our approach from Gaming the System by Tekinbas, Gresalfi, Peppler, and Santo. We introduce key ideas such as the goal, the rules, and the core mechanics for game design, and highlight the importance of how these different components of a game need to work together to generate a fun and playable game. Also, during the testing phase, we facilitate students' giving each other feedback. For example, students fill out feedback forms where they need to identify one thing that worked well in the game and one thing that the designer(s) can improve. The designer(s) then have to modify their games based on feedback and explain in their design book how they addressed the feedback during the testing phase.   

  • Icon for: Erica Halverson

    Erica Halverson

    Facilitator
    May 16, 2018 | 08:53 a.m.

    Thanks for sharing your insights about your work!  I liked how the teachers spoke about linking game design to real social issues, and about how building games provides a different kind outcome for project-based learning.  I have several questions about the project:

    1) How do students select the social issue around which game development is organized? Do all students work on the same issue? Are they organized into groups, or do the students work solo?

    2) How do you assess the quality of the games? Is there a peer evaluation process (playing each other's games?) Do you link local game dev expertise into either the production or eval process?

    3) The video talks about how the games allow researchers to make inferences about the learning process...what are some of the inferences you feel that the project has helped you to make? How are these inferences related to what we already know about game design and learning?

    Good luck in the next stages of your work!

    - Erica

  • Icon for: Sinem Siyahhan

    Sinem Siyahhan

    Lead Presenter
    May 20, 2018 | 08:19 p.m.

    Hi Erica! Thank for your questions. I listed my answers below:

    (1) We experimented with different approaches throughout the year. We started off with giving students a topic where everyone designed a game about the same issue. In another iteration, we gave students two options, and more recently, we just asked students to choose their social issues. The last iteration where we asked students to choose their topics worked the best concerning student engagement and quality of games. That's said, it is hard to parse whether this was due to students having the freedom to focus on an issue they cared or due to them having developed confidence and knowledge around game design over time or both.

    (2) We developed a rubric to assess the quality of students' games where we evaluate the clarity of the goal and rules of the game, how different components of the game interact, how challenging the game is (easy, just right, too challenging), and how well the game addresses the social issue. During the testing phase, students give each other feedback about their games, and the feedback form they use also includes the same dimensions as our coding scheme. This way, we can compare/contrast students' evaluation of each other's games and our evaluation of their game.

    (3) One of the inferences we can make is about to what degree students understand how to balance the different components of a game to create a playable and fun game. The other inference we can make is about how much students immersed themselves empathizing with their users (players) around the social issue. For example, some students create a simulation of the social problem in their games while others engage their players with the social issue at the surface level (e.g., players earn points by answering fact cards). The alignment between the social problem and the game mechanics also highlights how well students understand the complexity of the social issue and whether or not they were able to narrow down the problem during the 'define' phase of the design thinking cycle. We engage in backward mapping where we first analyze the students' games and then analyze their design notebooks. In students' design notebooks, we look at the information they gathered about the topic during the empathize phase, the point of view statement and 'how might we' question to understand how they narrowed the problem. Finally, we analyze the feedback students received and how well they incorporated the feedback into their games during the prototyping and testing phases.

  • Icon for: Alka Harriger

    Alka Harriger

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 16, 2018 | 12:09 p.m.

    Thanks for the interesting video. I'm always interested in learning about projects that can positively impact STEM motivation by giving kids opportunities to invent/make meaningful things. It's unclear to me if the activities are being done in a formal or informal setting. Formal, such as a science class taken by all students, certainly helps address the challenge of making the experience available to a diverse group of students, but how do you manage teacher acceptance at adding content to a course that's likely already packed? Informal gives the teacher the flexibility to do whatever makes sense without concern for having to leave out other required content; however, the potential for reaching a diverse group of students will likely decrease. It also demands more work/time from the teacher (outside the normal workday), so how do you get teacher buy-in?

  • Icon for: Sinem Siyahhan

    Sinem Siyahhan

    Lead Presenter
    May 20, 2018 | 07:27 p.m.

    Hi Alka! The making activities take place during regular science classrooms. Integrating making activities with science content has been challenging, and something we are still working on. The three science teachers featured in the video and I meet every other week to create lesson plans (called 'design challenges') to implement during regular classrooms. Our student population is quite diverse, and across three teachers, we reach about 300 students during the academic year. The key challenge we are facing is around assessment of students' learning. So, although we can craft a design challenge around a science content (or standard), it takes time and effort to come up with assessment strategies-- and this is something all of us who are doing work in the context of making/maker movement. Regarding teacher buy-in, we are fortunate to be working in an International Baccalaureate school that focuses on STEM learning where design and engineering are part of the school culture and curricula.  

  • May 17, 2018 | 05:39 a.m.

    Thanks for sharing your work in this very clear and well done video that beautifully reflects deep student engagement, collaboration and creativity in Making through game design. I am interested in many components of Making and look for the foundational elements of Making, the Engineering Design Process, and a Design Thinking approach to come into core curriculum though interdisciplinary project design. Although the benefits of holding after school or computer class Making projects allow for more time to be spent on game mechanics, programming, and experimentation -- if it is only here that a Making learning experience exists, we miss the opportunity to help students be creators and problem-solvers as they learn math, science, reading, writing, social studies and more during the school day solving real-world authentic problems that empower them as contributors to the society they are growing up in.

    Perhaps as a part of your research question 3 and relevant findings (How do the design thinking practices of mentors (teachers and librarians) change as they gain experience in facilitating design challenges for learners in the context of Making?), how do you think teachers in formal settings can be better supported to design and guide problem-based interdisciplinary STEM challenges in support of their own ongoing curricular goals (unit pacing, testing, etc)? Was a professional development component built into your work with teachers that had particular impact in affecting change in practice or even teacher self-efficacy?

  • Icon for: Maureen Callanan

    Maureen Callanan

    Higher Ed Faculty
    May 19, 2018 | 07:54 p.m.

    What an interesting project and a clear and informative video!  I'm curious whether you have evidence that the students are seeing their game design projects as related to possible future STEM careers?

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