Game Lab teaching Hout Bay Learners Coding and Game Design

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Game Lab is one of Learning Innovation Design Lab‘s (a non-profit under Formula D Interactive) interventions to use technology to improve education outcomes in schools within low-income settlements in South Africa. Thirty of Silikamva High School’s grade 10 learners are now taking part in Game Lab.  The program provides students with hands-on training on how to design games, touching on character design, storytelling and programming in the process. Formula D Interactive is a technology and interactive design firm, however their commitment and success in designing interactive education experiences in informal settings such as museums and science centers for children has led them to explore the same principles and learning to improve the quality of the formal education sector through the inception of Learning Innovation Design Lab.

What makes Game Lab unique is its multi-fold approach in tackling deficiencies in literacy, numeracy and technical skills. Because learners are exposed to conceptual frameworks for character design and storytelling, they typically improve their literacy skills and creativity during those phases. In the game mechanics phase, logical frameworks support in building on their numeracy skills. Finally, the programming component itself is a building block for technical skills in coding. In the past, Game Lab participants have reported improvements in aforementioned skills, while teachers and school administrators have commended on the learners’ confidence boost.

The project at Silikamva High School at Hout Bay takes a closer look into these reported outcomes by coupling the program with a rigorous impact evaluation (through a randomized control trial) that aims to measure test scores, literacy rates and numeracy skills among learners. The impact evaluation is being designed and supported by Sabhanaz Rashid Diya, a Global Development Fellow from UC Berkeley.

This exciting new initiative is also proving a job placement for two of our previous Hout Bay Coding alumni. In Spring of 2015 The Hout Bay Partnership together with Original T-Bag Designs and Sijonga Phambili, brought the Up for All  coding programme for matriculates and school leavers to be trialed in Hout Bay. The top students from the trial course were then sponsored to travel to the Up For All centre in Langa to continue their training. Two of the most committed coding students, Lelothando Bokuva and Lwazi Sifo, are now working as facilitators in the Game Lab sharing their experience with the next generation of Hout Bay coders and game designers!

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