Schoolchildren showcase digital games at GCU event

02 June 2014

Trash Bash, Nearly Hamish and Buoy We’re In Trouble were just some of the digital games demonstrated by 160 schoolchildren at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU).

The children were on campus to showcase their games, apps and animations, which they co-designed with GCU students and staff in preparation for the XX Commonwealth Games.

The showcase was part of the Gaming for Glasgow project, a Commonwealth Games-linked initiative to improve digital skills, and marks a collaboration between GCU’s School of Engineering and Built Environment, GCU’s Caledonian Club and Celtic FC Foundation.

Gaming for Glasgow has brought together more than 200 GCU staff and students and pupils from nine primary and secondary schools from the East End of Glasgow.

Thirty digital games have been created for the project, all based on the Glasgow 2014 Legacy Priorities ‘active’, ‘connected’, ‘flourishing’ and ‘sustainable’.

GCU’s Dr Gianna Cassidy, project organiser and lecturer, explained: “Each game is designed to enhance skill and capacity by exploring Glasgow 2014 topics − including cultural diversity, world music, Commonwealth languages, citizenship, and sustainability − in the context of wider everyday social and emotional wellbeing.

“The programme aims to inspire Scotland’s future graduates in the creative industries, helping to build capacity to be effective contributors in an evolving digital society.

“The resulting body of creative work forms this showcase at GCU, bringing together all of the project streams, staff, students and pupils to celebrate collective achievement with their families and communities.”

During the academic year, GCU students and participating schoolchildren co-designed game concepts and storyboards, which the students developed into prototypes.

The schoolchildren were then invited to on-campus workshops, which allowed them to feedback on details such as how their game’s main character should look, how the character should move and how it should be controlled.

Participating pupils and staff from Dalmarnock Primary, St Anne’s Primary, Croftcroighn Primary, Newhills Secondary, St Stephen’s Primary, Haghill Primary and St Denis’ Primary schools were on campus for the showcase.

Newhills Secondary pupil John Percy said: “It was awesome. I have really enjoyed the past few months and I really want to design games when I’m older.”

Principal Professor Pamela Gillies opened the event, which was then hosted by Dr Tessa Hartmann, renowned Scottish fashion publicist, broadcast commentator, founder and chair of Scottish Fashion Awards and GCU Honorary Graduate; Jonnie Goodwin, of the Founders Forum; and Tony Hamilton, CEO of Celtic FC Foundation.

Jonnie Goodwin announced the two winning games on the day − Trash Bash (Dalmarnock Primary) and Buoy We’re In Trouble (Newhills Secondary) − and promised to take the pupils and GCU students involved on a trip to London to meet the independent designers behind games such as Angry Birds, Moshi Monsters and Clash of Clans.

Prior to Gaming for Glasgow, Dr Cassidy was working with Celtic FC Foundation, evaluating the use of digital technology in education.

Tony Hamilton said: “Education forms one of our four main priority areas and initiatives such as this, in collaboration with GCU, are an exemplar of the type of partnership we are trying to create.

“I am very grateful to the University, its staff and students for their engagement with some of our partner schools. Our objective in this space is to give school pupils an insight they wouldn’t otherwise get and ultimately a competitive edge for later life.”

The work put into these games also resulted in the collaborative team winning a Game Changer award, given in recognition for