Game Creation in the Digital Age

Here are some notes I shared with those in attendance at the highly successful CESI Meet on last Friday evening, Friday 13th 2009.  The event was a huge success and those in attendance all walked away with some new knowledge.  Well done to the organisers on a great event.

I was sharing some work I am currently involved in using computer game creation software (Mission Maker in my case) with young people in the Digital Hub.  I tried to locate grame creation within the wider context of ‘digital literacy’ and 21st century learning.  I proposed a framework for digital literacy, that had been developed by Allan Martin, formerly of Glasgow University, to locate game creation within.  I then shared my interest around defining an effective learning environment to support game creation by young peopl in out of school contexts – these could be homework clubs, summer camps or youth clubs.  I have included a summary below and a link to the fuller document which includes references to further reading.  If you want more information just email me and I will be happy to  help.

Michael Hallissy

Implications for traditional literacy

“In an economy driven by knowledge rather than manufacturing, employers are already valuing very different skill, such as creativity, communication, presentation skills and team-building. Schools are at the front line of this change and need to think about how they can prepare young people for the future workplace.”

Their Space: Education for a digital generation, Demos, Hannah Green & Celia Hannon, 2007,

Traditional Literacy: So what is it?

School Literacy -“the integration of reading and writing, listening, speaking and mathematics for everyday life, for communication and learning to learn”

Literacy is a broader canvass – Learning through a range of media in which the ability to read, speak and write is complemented, enhanced and sometimes replaced by photographic, and video images, graphics and sound.

Recognition that we have multiple literacies – on the right is one take…clip_image002

People can convey meaning in the most appropriate form for the task in hand using tools they feel best equipped to use.

Digital Literacy

“Digital Literacy is the awareness, attitude and ability of individuals to appropriately use digital tools and facilities to identify, access, manage, integrate, evaluate, analyse and synthesize digital resources, construct new knowledge, create media expressions and communicate with others, in the context of specific life situations, in order to enable constructive social action; and to reflect upon this process.”

Martin, A. (2006), A Framework for Digital Literacy. [Online]. Available at:

The Learners

“If you want to use computer games to teach somebody, you must first teach them how to use/create computer games”

My interest is in relation to how we construct learning settings where young people can create their own games, particularly in out-of-school settings initially.

“The Design of an Effective Learning Environment for game creation by teenagers in an out of school context”

Look at the factors:

  • Tutors
  • Learners
  • Software
  • Games they create

Structure of the environment:

  • Physical Layout
  • Underlining relationship between tutors and learners


  • Can we improve young peoples’ digital literacy by getting them to create computer games?
  • Is digital literacy a valid concept and can we measure it?
  • How might we measure digital literacy?
  • How do we decide if the learning environment is “effective”? What is the measure.

Download the discussion paper (PDF)

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