Narrative Threads: supporting young people in developing writing skills through narrative-based game creation

Howland, Katherine (2012) Narrative Threads: supporting young people in developing writing skills through narrative-based game creation. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Abstract

This thesis examines how narrative-based game creation can be used as an activity to improve writing skills for young people aged 11-15, and how additional representational support in a game creation tool can increase the benefits of the activity. Creating narrative-based games can involve traditional writing skills as well as requiring the 21st century skills of multimodal and interactive writing. Toolsets make it possible for young people to create 3D role-playing games with a commercial look and feel, but they do not provide support for the complex task of interactive and multimodal narrative creation.

To investigate the desirable features of a tool that would support this task and the associated learning, an extensive learner-centred design process was conducted. This involved teachers and young people, and also incorporated relevant theory synthesised into a design model. A suite of tools, Narrative Threads, was designed and developed through an iterative process to provide the support highlighted as important. Two evaluative studies were conducted in different learning contexts; a secondary school and a vacation workshop. A mixed-methods approach was used to examine the overall potential for the activity to support writing skills development and the impact made by additional representational support.

Comparative studies between groups showed some evidence that writing skills were improved for those taking part in game creation, and there were further benefits for groups using Narrative Threads in the workshop setting, but not in the school setting. Additionally, a multimodal analysis of the games created showed that many participants demonstrated a developing proficiency in using 3D graphical elements, text and sound to convey an interactive narrative. The findings indicate promise for the approach, although additional curricular and pedagogical support would be crucial if the potential is to be actualised in a classroom context.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Engineering and Informatics > Informatics
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1101 Child study > LB1137 Play, games etc.
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1101 Child study > LB1139.A-Z Special, A-Z > LB1139.W7 Writing
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 22 Jan 2013 13:17
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2014 07:08
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/42603

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