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  • Manon Ballester

The Unplugged project hosted its kick-off meeting

Launched on the 1st of March 2021, the Unplugged project has organised its first consortium meeting on the 6th of April, after a month of individual discussions and preparation to reach an efficient cooperation scheme during this first roundtable exchange.

After a short introduction given by Sébastien Nedjar, the project coordinator within Aix-Marseille Université, reminding the passion gathering us together, the partners have benefited from a slot to introduce their activities as well as providing their first thoughts around the crucial key aspects of the project.

The core discussion of the day has been focusing on finding the right balance between game mechanics, learning objectives and game dynamics. If game mechanics might sometimes become too central compared to the contents, combining learning goals without loosing the fun and playful commitment of the game will be a point of tension that should be addressed from the beginning of the project development.

Hence, the partners need to find the right balance between the importance of game mechanics to consider how interaction will be engaging in the learning situation, through a catchy, effective for the target, relatively complex scenario, while considering better defining our learning objectives in the view of playing for developing competencies, that will be relevant for the educational actors.

To tackle this challenge, the partners agreed on the interest of deploying mini-games that can be useful for teachers in diverse situations and context. This will enable adapting the game play to what fits with the classroom, by keeping modularity and will capitalise on the track record of the diverse consortium members in developing playful activities for children.

This includes for instance the following inspiring initiatives:

  • PARI (Explora), a play path which, through games, tests and simulations, offers food for thought to children and their companions on the question of equality,

  • Coding4All (Explora), providing girls and low-income peripheral communities, with knowledge of coding languages, promoting their interest in CS and encouraging them to choose specific university programmes and carriers in the computing fields,

  • The Mud Garden (Muzeiko) allowing city children to immerse themselves in playing with natural materials, to sort stones by size, to go down the tree slide or just to watch the birds around,

  • The Fabuleux Musée (La Fabulerie) enabling to live an immersive experience around biodiversity and environment,

  • Unplugged workshops around coding practices such as the binary challenge for creating exciting secret code activities with children,

  • The examples of engaging networking activities around ready to use resources and collaborative projects to empower the project results, providing by the opportunities around Hands On! International network!

By the end of the meeting, the partners had a clear idea of our next steps in starting brainstorming on our mini-games and playful scenario. Our next meeting will then be organised in May 2021 with the objective of starting publishing game dynamics and mechanics ideas.

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