Playfulness and Creativity as Vital Features When School Children Develop Game-based Designs

Eva Brooks*, Jeanette Sjöberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
36 Downloads (Pure)


The presence of digital technologies in classroom settings is relentlessly getting stronger and has shown to have powerful playful qualities. In recent years, digital game-based learning (DGBL) has been introduced in schools. In this paper we investigate an innovative approach to game-based learning, namely, to use game design activities as motivators for developing children’s creative and social skills as well as other kinds of learning scenarios, e.g. computational. It is based on two cases, where game design activities by means of a narrative approach were applied in both analogue and digital form. The unit of analysis is game design activities. Hence, game design activities with the participating children (3rd graders, 9-10 years of age), creative materials and technologies, and children’s actions as well as interactions are analysed. The research questions posed in this study are: (1) What activities develop when school children design games in two cases, as an analogue activity, and as an activity including technology; and (2) How do the learning environment, including the artefacts, mediate these activities? The outcomes of the study indicate that the game design workshop session which included both creative material and technology unfolded more combinational activities, which indicate that the inclusion of technology facilitated a more critical design decision making. However, the game design workshop session including only creative material exhibited a more thorough knowledge about what the material could do and what the children themselves could do with the material, which seemed to result in more playful interactions between the children.
Original languageEnglish
Article number14
JournalDesigns for Learning
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)137-150
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022


  • Playfulness
  • Creativity
  • Game-based design activities
  • Learning environment
  • Learning resources
  • Primary school children
  • Exploratory activity
  • Transformative activity


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