Award-winning game sparks storytelling

Issue: Volume 96, Number 11

Posted: 26 June 2017
Reference #: 1H9dLE

A unique educational card game that inspires students to write creatively has won the 2017 Good Design Award of the Year in Australia.

A fun card game that was co-created with teachers and students to inspire young writers has won the 2017 Good Design Award of the Year in Australia.

Game of Awesome is founded on curriculum fundamentals and teaches writing techniques and concepts such as scene setting, character development and plot.

Created by Wellington-based design firm Chrometoaster and commissioned by the Ministry of Education, Game of Awesome is the first New Zealand design to win the prestigious international award.

The basic game consists of four sets of cards containing topics, themes and ideas that students in years 5–8 will find interesting, engaging and often very funny! The cards can be used independently or mixed and matched to create new combinations and infinitely more ideas.

Sparking stories

Designed for up to six players, the cards can be used t quickly generate and explore ideas, which then become the building blocks of stories. Winning the game involves using the cards in the most entertaining way, but there are many ways to play the game, to suit different interests and learning styles.

Students from Wellington’s Te Aro School and St Patrick’s College as well as teachers from Newtown, Houghton Valley, Korokoro and Kilbirnie Schools contributed to the concept and design of the game.

Chrometoaster content design director Robert Whitaker says it’s this direct input from schools that contributes to the game’s success.

“The game went through several rounds of testing with students and teachers at a number of schools, and we made improvements each time. As a result we were able to get the tone of the cards just right – I think it really speaks to kids,” he says.

From magnetic underwear to a ball of earwax, the game employs gently irreverent (and sometimes downright absurd) humour throughout, which Robert says is greatly appealing to children and teachers alike.

“Some of the cards are a bit subversive, like all the best children’s fiction. Each one has a unique illustration by Wellington artist Gavin Mouldey, which complements and extends their appeal.”

Students and teachers at South Wellington Intermediate School took part in the game’s pilot and have continued to use the resource throughout the school.

Teacher Matt Boucher says he uses it to get his students’ creative juices flowing.

“I’ve found it works really well as a writing starter,” he says.

“One of the sticking points when it comes to writing is just getting started, and getting beyond the everyday, literal stuff.

“The Game of Awesome cards have sparked lots of funny and imaginative stories – my students have come up with some quite ‘out-there’ ideas they probably wouldn’t otherwise have produced.

“They can also be quite silly, which of course they all love.”

Matt remembers one otherwise shy student in particular who wrote a long, elaborate story which he then performed to the class, complete with artwork and soundtrack.

“The level of creativity was really great – he had us all in stitches.”

Ongoing awesomeness

The Australian Good Design Award of the Year is the latest in a series of awards won by Game of Awesome.

“It is great to see a game that is designed to build literacy among New Zealand students receive international recognition,” says Ministry acting Deputy Secretary Early Learning and Student Achievement, Pauline Cleaver.

“We will continue to develop resources that are effective and engaging for students. Game of Awesome is just one of many initiatives created with school leaders and students in order to help students discover their potential and achieve success.”

Game of Awesome at your school

Game of Awesome is part of the Success for Boys collection which also includes Story Starters, a video story resource co-designed with year 5–8 students in collaboration with Kiwi male role models such as Bret McKenzie, Dai Henwood and Mike McRoberts.

All New Zealand students can access the game even though it is part of the Success for Boys collection. It is accompanied by a range of teacher support materials to provide suggestions on how to use the game most effectively in the classroom.

Game of Awesome resources can be downloaded and printed from the Success for Boys page within the TKI | Te Kete Ipurangi website(external link)

Schools can also order a limited number of printed card sets through the Ministry’s Down the Back of the Chair website(external link)

BY Education Gazette editors
Education Gazette | Tukutuku Kōrero,

Posted: 10:00 am, 26 June 2017

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