Creating an educational board game in the LET programme

In the Learning, Education and Technology programme, we often get to do different, innovative and hands-on assignments. Here, I share one of them with you.

Learning Environments and Technologies

Have you ever thought about creating a board game? If so, what would it be about? And if it were an educational board game, what would be the main learning objectives?

I had the possibility to answer all these questions during the Learning, Education and Technology programme. “Maker Education” phase of the course Technology Enhanced Learning and Digital Fabrication made it possible to answer the questions. We had around three weeks to produce a game, and believe me: it is not as simple as it might seem, but it is also a fun process!

Chance to explore our creativity

This task was a chance to explore our creativity, share the knowledge we already had, and explore new tools. In the LET programme, we did many collaborative tasks, which was no different from this task in which we were divided into random groups and had to create the game together.

After a long brainstorming session, each group came up with their own idea, and they were really diverse since we had a lot of freedom to decide what topic we wanted to tackle. We also needed to think about what skills and knowledge learners would develop with our games and the target age. Once that was done, we started to work on the game script - rules, objectives and learning outcomes.

Creating the game

My group decided to create a game that would help learners from age 12 and above recognize and identify common aspects of fake news and develop digital literacy skills since we wanted technology to play a part in the game.

Other groups chose topics such as recycling, nutrition, learning Finnish, and the solar system, each with their own particularities, but all very innovative. It was now time to start creating the physical product! We could use the tools that would suit us best to develop our games, from handicrafts to technology.

One of the main objectives of this task was for us students to explore and learn how to use some of the technological tools the university has to offer, such as 3D printers, laser cutters and vinyl cutters.

Therefore, we had to use at least two of these tools, which I had never experienced before. They were a bit confusing at first, but with the help of our teacher and our peers, we were able to figure everything out.

The dice was the first thing my group did with the 3D printer. It was a simple object, but I was really excited as I had never used a 3D printer before.

Once everything was done, the groups brought their games to class, and we were able to play all of them and leave some feedback to the developers. In addition to being fun, it was also an important part of the experience, as we could hear tips on how to improve our creations based on the opinions of actual players.

In the end, we were able to reflect on the work we did and on the whole process - it wasn’t always smooth, but I think it was highly enjoyable and also had really good outcomes.

This was a boardgame created by another group about space. I really enjoyed playing this game, and their board looked really cool - they used the laser cutter to make it.

If we have to create an educational game in the future, I am sure we will be able to look back at this project and use the knowledge we gained with the experience to come up with interesting, entertaining and fruitful ideas. Overall, it was an amusing task with practical learning and valuable outcomes. How about you? Would you like to create an innovative board game?

About the author

Beatriz Mello is from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and is currently a master’s student in the Learning, Education and Technology programme. She is adjusting well to the cold weather but still feels amazed every time she sees snow falling.