Connecting dots of digital learning

40 Game Building Tools and a MAGICAL tool for Learning

We are following the blog of Nicola Whitton, recently she pointed to a resource for building games for education purpose in this port : Tools for game building.

The Making Games in Collaboration for Learning (MAGICAL) project, in which we’re a partner, has just released an updated version of its list of game-making environments (pdf). It contains information about nearly forty different game-building tools, classified by cost, game-type, and type of access (i.e. online or download).

One thing that struck me is the lack of online tools for game-building. Given the practicalities of gaining access and installing software on most institutional computers, this is a real barrier to game-building in the classroom.

Survey of exisiting game-making environments for learners

As part of the groundwork for the EC co-funded MAGICAL project1, we carried out an extensive survey of existing game-making environments for learners. Our aims were to:

  •  further our understanding of such tools by capturing the state of the art;
  • bring into sharper focus the requirements and specifications for MAGOS, the collaborative game building environment being developed within MAGICAL;
  • avoid reinventing the wheel.

The first part of the list covers tools that are either free of charge or free for educational use. Next come commercially-oriented products with free lite version, then commercial products, and lastly upcoming products.
This list will be progressively updated. To get the latest, go to the MAGICAL website and see Home » Resources » Game-making environments.

What’s MAGICAL project ?

Through this post we learned about MAGICAL project :

MAGICAL is a European project that’s exploring collaborative design of educational games by primary and lower secondary students. We’re investigating the impact this can have on learning, and especially on support for key transversal skills like strategic thinking and creativity. To do this, we’re developing a special game authoring environment for learners and educators that’ll be available to the whole education community. As part of MAGICAL’s core mission, we’re focusing on the design and orchestration of learning activities based on collaborative game making, and so the project encompasses the education and training of teachers as well as professionals in inclusion.

What’s MAGOS ?

Magos is a fabulous game creation environment for non-programmers. In Magos users can easily create their own games alone or collaboratively with their friends. No programming skills required.

game-based learning

Magos relies on a game authoring approach, which means that games can be developed by drawing, dragging, selecting, clicking and setting values. This approach makes the game development easy to adopt, while the combination of different tools makes it possible to develop many kinds of games – even complex ones. The user interface of the Magos environment is designed according to fantasy theme. For example, a user can drag a magic potion to a game object in order to apply a texture to it, or the user can cast a gravity spell on the object to make it fall in the game world.

More resources about building games for learning purpose

The project will create three different types of resource that are of potential use to other researchers, teachers, educational designers, policy-makers or anyone simply interested in the pedagogy and practice of designing games for learning.

  • Deliverables – these are the formal project outputs, as required by the project plan. Not all deliverables will be publicly available.
  • Outputs – outputs created by the project, such as training materials, guidance on games and learning, the results of small research studies, and examples of good practice.
  • Research papers – research papers written by members of the project team, either as a direct outcome of this project, or in associated relevant areas of study.
  • Pedagogical Planner (read the introduction below) :

It’s a challenging task for educators to design and orchestrate really effective learning activities in which students build games collaboratively. To help teachers shape, share and enact their pedagogical ideas and intentions in a tangible form, MAGICAL is adopting an online tool developed by ITD-CNR called the Pedagogical Planner.  This flexible teacher-oriented tool has already been used in a variety of projects to help educators formulate and share pedagogical plans for a wide range of educational needs.

This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. If you are interested in staying tuned with their progress, follow the updating from them here. We are excited to see more supporting for game-based learning and constructionism!!

game building tool

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Categorised in: Constructivism, Game-Based Learning