1.3 What is the Pedagogy behind Gamestar Mechanic?

Gamestar Mechanic was designed with the understanding that game design is an activity that allows learners to build technical, technological, artistic, cognitive, social, and linguistic skills suitable for our current and future world.

The built-in curriculum in Gamestar Mechanic lets learners exercise these skills by creating games. Knowing how to put together a successful game involves system-based thinking, problem solving, collaboration, art, storytelling, and digital media literacy.

This Learning Guide offers a flexible curriculum based on prototyping and iteration, a key game design methodology. Students work through multiple versions of any idea or solution, integrating ongoing feedback into the learning process, and reflecting on the strengths and weaknesses of their design solutions. The Learning Guide complements and expands upon the curriculum developed in the game itself.

Across the curriculum shared by the Learning Guide and the game, students create playful systems —games, models, simulations, stories, etc. Doing so allows students to learn about the way systems work and how they can be modified or changed. Through designing play, in a context they find compelling and safe, students learn to think analytically and holistically, to experiment and test
out theories, and to consider other people as part of the systems they create and inhabit. Game design serves as the pedagogy underlying this work.

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