Institute for Educational Technology, Italian National Research Council (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2012 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Pages: 5778-5785
ISBN: 978-84-616-0763-1
ISSN: 2340-1095
Conference name: 5th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 19-21 November, 2012
Location: Madrid, Spain
The paper tackles the issue of ICT-enhanced development of so-called 21st Century skills such as reasoning and creativity (Dede, 2009; Voogt & Pareja Roblin, 2010). In doing so it draws on the experience gained to date in MAGICAL (MAking Games In CollAboration for Learning), an EU project funded in 2011 under the LLP transversal ICT Programme and led by the authors. MAGICAL’s core mission is to investigate the potential of collaborative game building as a learning approach for primary school students (Bottino, Earp & Ott, 2012).
The paper begins by examining whether a shared definition of the term “21st Century Skills” can be proposed. Subsequently, it investigates which associated skills are elicited by the educational practice of game building (Robertson & Howells, 2008), seen from the viewpoint of the MAGICAL experience.
Specific reflection is then dedicated to the actual potential of game construction (as opposed to game use) for triggering and supporting the development and enhancement of:

• reasoning abilities - producing games means possessing the logical capacity to succeed as a player in gameplay sessions, plus having understanding and full command of the mechanisms of a specific game format and the skills to bring these into play effectively so as to originate a meaningful, challenging experience for other gamers;
• creativity - actually this should not be considered simply as an innate attitude but rather as a potential skill that can be supported and enhanced by means of appropriate educational interventions such as those proposed in MAGICAL, where students are called on to exercise creativity in generating new games to be played by both themselves and their peers;
• digital competence - designing and building games takes “playing” into new territory, where mastery of fundamental concepts and know-how typical of the information technology field are in play (although at a basic level, given the age of the target population).

The impact of game construction on learners’ collaboration and communication abilities is also explored in the project.
Finally, MAGICAL will engage both students and teachers in game production at different levels and at different stages of the project. So the working methodology adopted in both cases could generate interesting considerations about the new skills needed by these two different categories. Are they the same? To what extent does supporting students’ acquisition of new skills impact on teacher training? What new skills for teachers are to be embedded in dedicated training actions?
21st Century skills, collaborative game building, educational games.