Games4School – Researcher develop games together with and for school children

Following the principle of user-centered design, school children develop mini games with new interaction possibilities in cooperation with researcher and teachers

In the field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) the user-centered design of interactive systems is extremely important, i.e. the needs and desires of the users constitute the starting point for all development activities. Both, usability and a positive user experience are crucial to make users accept an interactive system – which is in case of this project a “game”. To enable the best possible development of a game as well as a positive user experience, it is important to know the desires, expectations, experiences, and needs of the users, as well as the usage context. Based on the user-centered design approach, these data will be collected during the analysis phase and then further integrated into the upcoming phases of the development process.

School children from three classes of the secondary school Wals-Viehhausen (Salzburg) and their class teachers work together with researchers from the HCI & Usability Unit of the ICT&S Center of the University of Salzburg in a research-education-cooperation and develop three mini games considering new modes of interaction (e.g. controlling a game via facial expressions, motions, gestures, etc.). Therefore, the school children get to know new interaction modes for games. It is one aim of the project to find out which interaction modes are considered particularly exciting, interesting, appealing, and suitable for the deployment in schools. The researchers adapt existing methods of the user-centered design approach and further develop new approaches for the cooperation with school children. The school children in turn actively contribute as researchers, designers, and evaluators during the individual phases of the user-centered design process (analysis-, conception-, design-, development- and implementation-, and evaluation phase). By means of the close cooperation between teachers and researchers, pedagogical concepts and current learning matters are integrated into the individual project phases and smaller tasks are included in the regular lessons as a preparatory step. School children, for example, act themselves as game developers (e.g. in connection with textual and technical manual training), game designers (e.g. in connection with arts class), and game researchers (e.g. in connection with German class).

This project has been completed.