Collaborative Design in Extension- Using a Modified Game J…

A C K NOWL E D GM E N T S

In this publication, we document a project and the process used to design that project. This effort included a larger team of game designers and content experts. We gratefully acknowledge their significant roles in creating both the game prototype, and going through the design process articulated here:

University of Connecticut Joseph Bonelli, Sharon Gray, Michael Puglisi, PhD, Cindy Tian, PhD

New Mexico State University Pamela N. Martinez, EdD, Adrián Aguirre, David Abraham, Anastasia Hames, John “CC” Chamberlin, Philip McVann, Amy Smith Muise Funding Statement Funding for this project was made possible by the New Technologies for Agricultural Extension Program, the Extension Foundation, Northeast Ag Enhancement, and UConn Extension.

E X E CU T I V E S UMMA R Y

Purpose of the Guide. Educational games can be an innovative way for Extension educators to teach content to any given audience. While many in Extension have an interest and passion for using and designing games, the process may seem intimidating to Extension professionals, especially those without experience in game design. This publication offers an alternative to full game design, in which game developers, content experts, and Extension educators collaborate to design a game prototype. This modified game jam process is budget-friendly and can be completed in a few weeks.

CON T E X T

Educational games can be an innovative way for Extension educators to teach content to any given audience. Educational games have the potential to transform learners of different ages through unique experiences with interactive media. Unfortunately, game development can be costly in terms of time and budget. The process to design and develop an educational game requires an interdisciplinary and collaborative team, and can take from several months to a couple of years, depending on the game’s complexity. While many in Extension have an interest and passion for using and designing games, the process may seem intimidating to Extension professionals, especially those without experience in game design. This publication offers an alternative to full game design, in which game developers, content experts, and Extension educators collaborate to design a game prototype. This modified game jam process is budget- friendly and can be completed in a few weeks. Through this process, teams can  move through the design process to articulate transformational outcomes, refine their desired content, and create a framework for a larger-scale game;  produce a working prototype to enable testing with the intended audience and further refine design goals; and  establish working relationships for future partnerships in development. Using this approach, the authors created a game prototype, “Unpeeled: The Case Files of Maya McCluen,” which was used in a pilot study with focus groups, allowing the team to refine their recommendations for future research and development towards a full game. This publication shares the process the team used and offers recommendations for other Extension educators who want to explore game development as part of their outreach.

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