For those of you who enjoy a nice graph, I bring you my latest state transition diagrams. Cor! This is in the name of illustrating the process the children go through when they are making games: what patterns of activities do they have? Don't shudder! I'll explain it...
After a teaching induced hiatus, I have returned to some analysis of the Campie Primary School game making study. Today, for your delight and edification, I will look at the children's editing behaviour when using the game. By the way, I'm choosing to blog this analysis as a way for me to work out what it means, and as a precursor to writing an academic paperabout it. Feel free to point out mistakes if you spot 'em.
The next stage in my analysis of the game making process used by the primary 7 class at Campie school was to look at how our software supports their peer review skills. If you look back at our model of the creative process post, you'll see one of the diagrams shows peer support throughout the process. Here it is again:
Cathrin and I spent most of the afternoon yesterday geeking out over our analysis of the games the children made during the Campie School project (see archives) this Spring. To summarise that study, 25 pupils in a primary seven class ( 11- 12 year olds) used Adventure Author in the class for a 6 week (or so) period. We're learning a lot about what the children were doing and although we'll write it up for an academic article (or several!), we're going to write about little bits of it on the blog as we go along. Partly for practice, and partly because some of you may be interested to see how it is going.
Let's take a look at a general picture of how much writing the children did as part of making their games. We've already seen that the children spend on average 23%of their time writing conversation, so it is an important aspect of their game making. I also suspect it is an aspect that teachers will be particularly interested in. The main area which involves writing is of course the dialogue or interactive conversations between the player and game characters. Cathrin has also found example of what she calls "narrative vehicles" which are objects such as books or signs which have text on them which relates to the storyline. The prime example would be Tom Riddle's diary which Ginny finds in the second Harry Potter book. It turns out that not many of the pupils did write text for objects, but some of the more able children did use these in interesting ways.
It's been grindingly slow, but I have finally written a program to analyse the log files we gathered in our recent school study. I actually really like doing this kind of thing. I have been tormenting the rest of the AA team with my graphs for weeks. My poor husband has been roped in to help my with some of the database code (thank you, dear!)
We had a class of 25 pupils work with our Adventure Author game making software for around 6 weeks. As they used the software, it logged what they were doing, for example adding an idea to the Fridge Magnets, writing conversation, or playing their game. The result of this was a huge number of time stamped log files, totalling around 234,000 actions.
Why on earth did we bother? Well, in Adventure Author we are interested in the creative process of game design. We want to know what sequences of actions when using the software seem to produce good games in the end. Cathrin has been busy analysing the games themselves to get an estimation of their quality, and I have been automatically processing these log files to try to build up a picture of the sequence of activities the children typically do. Eventually we will match them up.