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December 14th, 2009

Game Modelling and A Curriculum for Excellence

Brian Clark
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Neverwinter Nights – St Augustines High School, Edinburgh


In 2008, Susan Falconer – Computing teacher at St Augustines High School embarked on a Games Design project with S1 pupils using Neverwinter Nights. Judy Robertson from Heriot Watt University took the Neverwinter Nights game and lead the development of the Adventure Author and Fridge Magnets plugins.

Using the fantasy adventure theme in Neverwinter Nights  as a contextual hub for learning, pupils engaged in a 6 week, interdisciplinary task involving a number of departments.  The following departments contributed to the project in the following ways

  • Computing – design and creation of a fantasy adventure game
  • English – explore narrative and character in the fantasy genre
  • CDT – creation of DVD cover for competed computer game
  • Business Education – creation of a business plan for computer game release
  • Home Economics – character inspired chocolate truffle making
  • Drama – acting out a scene from their fantasy game

The 2008 S1 cohort, now in S2, are continuing the Games Design theme with more subject areas taking part. Susan and the rest of the team are planning to roll the project into S3 next year.

This small slide show will give you a taste of the project.

I had the opportunity to speak briefly with Susan about the project.

Tell us about the project objectives

The aim of Curriculum for Excellence is to enhance pupil learning.  By engaging pupils through the use of computer game modelling software, this projects aim was to inspire their work through an interdisciplinary approach, initially in Computer Studies and English, bringing relevance of aspects of their learning in the different departments to pupils.

In order to promote literacy, you engaged with the English department.  Can you tell us about that particular link?

In English, the focus was on narrative devices used in story-telling, particularly in the Fantasy genre, improve their appreciation of the writers skill and improve their own imaginative writing.  In particular, to look at setting, characterisation, plot and dialogue.

The focus in the Computing department, was to further develop their ideas and create a fantasy game with Neverwinter Nights using the setting, characterisation, plot and dialogue written in English as inspiration and guidance.  Pupils developed a rich variety of new skills and enhanced their ability to learn from each other.

What was the impact of the project?

The pupils loved it. They worked without realising it and were inspired.

Attainment was raised

The pupils experienced a variety of familiar and unfamiliar challanges

What makes the project special?

We put learning and fun hand in hand.  Pupils were given a worldly business experience where they had to create a product from inception to marketing, linking disciplines from many departments, showing the relevance of each.

The cross curricular project was highly commended in the recent HMIE inspection and is a fantastic example of how Games technology can really enhance the curriculum and engage with the CfE outcomes.

Look out for a more detailed look at the project, including videos, in our sharing practice section.


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Discover what can be achieved by applying ICT and games based learning to education; explore how you can develop it in your classroom.