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  • Manon Ballester

Unplugged Game construction

The UNPLUGGED partners have performed significant work on the project development: the creation of a game mechanism combining the benefits of a playful approach while targeting clear educational objectives shared by teachers, in the conditions of the hybrid learning environment. This commitment results nowadays in a set of already available resources, tailored for teachers, regrouping 22 game ideas that can already be applied in the classroom. You can find all the 22 documentations here on our public website:

Our methodology and approach

The set of resources, already available, has been developed thanks to the definition of a common template, gathering altogether the playful commitment of the Unplugged project, game dynamics concepts and pedagogical intents and objectives of each activity, enabling to shift from play for fun to play for learning.

Each game has different objectives and diverse mechanics to reach it. The Unplugged universe should indeed offer to teachers both plurality in addressing citizenship topics and in the games themselves, to keep the pupils focused and motivated. The unity in the Unplugged universe will hence not come from the gameplay, but from a general mindset around citizenship and critical thinking, that will be fed by this diversity of mechanics encouraging interdisciplinarity and creativity.

Each game has specific gameplay, depending on the needs and on the inspirations of the teachers: from board games (trivial pursuit type), simulation scenarios (roleplay, Sims type), hands-on experiments and activities (scientific experimentations, testing) or mini-games. In addition, several "Unplugged Programming Challenge" have been designed, enabling to develop critical thinking through the acquisition of skills in computational thinking, logical reasoning and programming practices without screens.

Three dimensions in the Unplugged template

The template creating for developing the games' ideas is based on three main commitments presented hereunder:

  • Societal commitment: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are an urgent call for action by all countries - developed and developing - in a global partnership. They recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests. In Unplugged, we are considering the first 16 SDGs. Each game is then covering one, several or all SDGs. This very first vision of the activity is essential to position the proposal in a social challenge and topic, encouraging the teachers to take ownership of societal issues and bring them to their classrooms to open a constructive dialogue

  • Playful commitment: In a second part of the template, the partners have been encouraged to get inspired by initiatives or bring their own content in terms of playful activity. At this stage, the objective has been to settle a universe and gameplay to each activity idea, enabling to validate that the propositions for the games will be interesting, motivating and fun for the pupils. Initiatives such as the GameChargers Project were highly inspiring for creating this part of the template, in its objective of "mak(ing) game-based design thinking more accessible to anyone with different literacies in game playing. Inspired by the engaging nature of play and gameplay as a tool for learning, the workshop emphasises designing playful experiences suited for the target audience".

  • Pedagogical commitment: Once inspired by gameplay and a fun commitment to learning, it is however mandatory to settle the game idea in the framework of the classroom through pedagogical choices. This makes it possible to identify how games are perceived and adopted within a formal school context, especially within Unplugged where contents and mechanisms are coming from non-formal and informal ecosystems, how teachers or families facilitate games through different roles and the relationship between teachers’ pedagogical approaches and the pedagogical models of particular games. This means that games are viewed as open-ended scenarios that may be integrated with the pedagogical and curricular knowledge practices of a school context. In this way, game scenarios involve both opportunities and challenges for teaching and for fulfilling particular learning objectives.

The Unplugged Universe

The unity of the gameplay in Unplugged is not linked to game mechanics but to the integration of the quests and challenges in a unique universe aiming to propose to the pupils a consistent pathway in the development of their citizenship behaviour through a set of knowledge, skills and attitudes that allow children to recognize the values necessary for living in the community. As citizens of the unplugged universe, each child will participate in the balancing of the human, living and growing ecosystems and will question the place of technology, the importance of equity and the understanding of how to construct an inclusive society.

To translate this commitment, the Unplugged universe has been divided into 4 rock planets, enabling us to develop our sense of community, step by step from personal reflection, intrinsic to our individual role as a citizen to a collective vision of our society. Each planet will consist of various guests based on the citizenship approach, appealing to the curiosity and creative spirit of the children. Unplugged activities using programming, calling on critical thinking, will be offered to unlock the steps to follow. To meet teachers' challenges in terms of follow-up, as well as regarding the current sanitary constraints, the game board will be fully digitalized, making it possible to share the exploration routes of the different classes with other schools at a European scale in an "adventure" mode. Teachers, parents, and students may use the Unplugged game in its entirety or partially by choosing quests that respond to their search. Yet, partners have performed a productive storytelling session to outline a narrative that provides interrelation and trans-disciplinarity between planets and quests, ensuring greater experience and interest through emotional connection.

These 4 planets include:

  • Launch base - Unleash my creativity

  • Planet 1 - The Peaceful Island - Reflect on my vision of my role as a citizen

  • Planet 2 - The Strong Community - Sustain communities for living together in peaceful and balanced societies

  • Planet 3 - The Crazy Bayou - Understand the precious balance of living ecosystems

  • Planet 4 - The Fantastic Factory - Reflect on new technologies in inclusive societies

The pupils are hence invited to get on board, choose their character ... and start their adventure, for mastering their mission!

Creative work - Let's find our heroes a journey!

To gamify even more the pathway to the gameplay, the partners are nowadays working on developing motivational storytelling, inspiring for our little heroes and their mentors. Jump into our hero suit thanks to the following journeys:

Storytelling idea #1: Once upon a time ... In a post-apocalyptic planet in which electricity has run out due to the excessive use of non-renewable energies by humans ...

The last amount of electricity is controlled by a robot villain, Cluod, that uses it to have the total command on all robots. Our hero, Pluggy, and its mentor unplugged themselves and discovered the power of negative control of a villain.

Both Cluod and Pluggy are made from the same version of the hardware. They could have been friends in the past and chosen different paths.

The quest of Pluggy is now to unplug all robots and find the gatekeeper, Why-fi, to access Cluod and stop this evil domination. On the way, Pluggy will be able to search for other new and sustainable ways of producing energy.

Let’s jump on this crazy adventure across space, time and circuits to help our hero in this quest!

Storytelling idea #2: Once upon a time ... on our beautiful planet Earth ... The earth is threatened by The Guardian, coming from another planet and willing to control humanity.

From his high-technology window, he can see the future and knows that humans will attack his planet for stealing its resources and cover environmental damages faced on the Earth. Willing to stop this danger to happen, The Guardian is sending troops to control humanity.

The Earth space messenger, Rumbledore, sends a message to the whole humanity search for help!

On their little island, brave children, twins, Alpha and Omega, receive the message and apply for the role.

Their mission begins: gather the best of humanity artefacts across 4 planets spread over the galaxy to acquire from them the needed competencies to save the Earth: peace, community, sustainability, and inclusive technology.

When back, the artefacts combined will be the key for the last battle …

Storytelling idea #3: Once upon a time ... on our beautiful planet Earth ... A genius teenager, Trollator, known around the world as the future world saver, living in an adult world, without any friend of her age, was getting bored of all this pressure put on her, as she was enabled to live her childhood and develop her own dreams. One day, she finally found the way to be alone forever, in her giant screen house, exploding the earth in many different parts and locking down all the adults in a virtual container.

On this regular day like all the other ones, the children, learning and playing within their classroom, suddenly felt the earth breaking apart. Surprised by this earthquake sensation, they run to their schoolyard to find out that the school building was floating in space. Google searching what was going on, they find out that all the computers were down. How to find information without access to technology? A big challenge!

They noticed a small envelope in the classroom hidden in the teacher' desk. Before getting locked, some of their parents have managed to send a hidden message using an ancestral coding practice, explaining the situation, and asking them to be brave and unified in this new world without rules. Driven by the desire to find back their beloved parents, they discovered that the earth has been divided as a puzzle that needed to be built back, sustained by the development of new skills: listening, communication, compassion, and critical thinking.

Will the power of community be enough to get their parents back?

Next steps

In the coming months until January, the Unplugged partners will translate all these games ideas into materials and advanced documentation to provide educational content and printable materials that can be directly used with the children in different settings (at school, at home, in mediation spaces).

Get involved & start playing

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