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Principal Investigator: Dr. Beaumie Kim

This project was the first iteration of our design-based research on incorporating game design and game redesign projects to support learners' disciplinary and interdisciplinary learning. In this project, we collaborated with two middle schools, including three teachers and a STEAM learning specialist from MindFuel for a project focused on supporting integrated STEAM learning through game design. In one school, the students were organized into design teams and given key ideas and concepts from various disciplines, including language, social studies, and STEAM subjects. Over a 6-week period, the students engaged with number sense, mechanical systems, and Renaissance history, working to transform these elements into coherent and playable board and card games. The teachers facilitated brainstorming sessions, and an expert on game design emphasized learning through play rather than testing knowledge.


In another school, we worked with grade 9 students and their teacher in a Career and Technology Studies classroom.  e Learners created a wide range of games, such as board games, card games, 3D video games, Minecraft games, and AR games. We found that adopting interest-driven participatory game design in technology classrooms engages learners more in learning and developing the necessary skills to thrive in their lives. We also coined the term “playce-making” as creating a meaningful environment for learning and playing. We found that learners created their own learning paths in transforming the actual space of their school, conceptually and typologically, into hybrid and virtual playces.


The project concluded with playtesting and game showcases. Our study found that the complexity of the games created was linked to the students' engagement with the disciplines. While trivia-based games were discouraged, most groups demonstrated problem-solving, decision-making, and systems-thinking skills to design sophisticated games. This approach can support students in thinking creatively, flexibly, and systematically about their learning of STEAM disciplines.

Read more here:

Games Created by Students

Publications on this project

Baradaran Rahimi, F., & Kim, B. (2023) Playce-Making: Transformation of space in a participatory game design project. Learning, Media, and Technology, 48(3), 387-400.

Baradaran Rahimi, F., & Kim, B. (2021). Learners as Players and Designers: A Formal Learning Approach to Game Design. In Selected Proceedings of the 6th International STEM in Education Conference. Vancouver, Canada: University of British Columbia Press.


Baradaran Rahimi, F., & Kim, B. (2019). The Role of Interest-Driven Participatory Game Design: Considering Design Literacy within a Technology Classroom. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 29(2), 387-404.


Kim, B., Bastani, R., & Baradaran Rahimi, F. (2017). Affordances of Learners’ Game Design Practices. In Selected Proceedings of the IDEAS 2017: Leading Educational Change (pp. 7-16). Calgary, Canada: University of Calgary Press.

Kim, B. & Bastani, R. (2017). Students as game designers: Transdisciplinary approach to STEAM education. Alberta Science Education Journal, 45 (1), 45-52.  Retrieved from

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