Brock teaching DSBN Academy students through fun and games

For a month and a half, 11 Grade 10 students at DSBN Academy learned about careers by working with a Brock University professor and others to build board games.

The students, who had no prior knowledge of game design, worked with Jason Hawreliak, Assistant Professor in the Centre for Digital Humanities (CDH), and industry professionals to learn about storytelling and game design. Working in teams of three or four, they learned and practiced principles related to art, systems design, narrative, technical writing, project management and marketing while designing their original board games.

They showed off their games to teachers, invited guests and local game professionals Friday, Nov. 2.

“It was truly impressive what they were able to accomplish,” said Hawreliak. “It was an exciting challenge for me as an educator since I don’t have much experience teaching outside of a university setting.”

Local game professionals Shane McCafferty and Ericka Evans met with students to offer feedback and to show students what a career in games looks like.

The project was part of a pilot initiative at DSBN Academy that focusses on project-based learning.

Hawreliak’s collaboration with Academy teachers Laura Shelton and Julia Dickson-Eckert was part of a larger research project led by Professor Jennifer Rowsell in Brock’s Department of Educational Studies.

Rowsell’s research examines how teaching and learning shifts when instructors work with professionals in creative arts to plan and teach units of study.

“The driving force of the research study is to expand notions of literacy education into more arts-based, digital, and maker-oriented ways of teaching and learning literacy,” said Rowsell. “A key dimension of the research is for members of our research team to work closely with teachers, professionals and especially students on design and multimodal projects.”

Other aspects of Rowsell’s research project include documentary film-making, graphic story projects, coding projects and photography.

The CDH has worked with DSBN Academy through the iHub initiative, as well as game jam and maker events in the past.

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