Iterations on a Transmedia Game Design Experience for Youth’s Autonomous, Collaborative Learning

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Camillia Matuk
Talia Hurwich
Jonathan Prosperi
Yael Ezer


Transmedia design, which involves extending a narrative from one medium to another, offers a context for potentially rich, interdisciplinary learning. We explored these opportunities by creating a week-long workshop to guide 7th-grade student teams in designing games based on comic books about viruses. This design case describes the framework and rationale behind our design choices. It illustrates our experiences by drawing on field note observations and audio recordings, student-generated design artifacts, student and facilitator interviews, and planning documentation from across two iterations of the workshop. We reflect on our experiences in attempting to balance (1) the dual focus of the workshop on science learning and game design through our choices of comic and game genres; and (2) the ability for students to be both autonomous and to receive necessary guidance through our enforcement of design constraints and interdependent team roles. We also reflect on the contextual factors that mediated our work, including students’ existing interests and peer relations, their teachers’ involvement, and our own team’s shifting expertise as membership changed from one iteration to the next. Among other things, our experiences highlight the importance of designing to allow for change, particularly as learning through collaborative transmedia game design can occur in unanticipated ways. Finally, we reflect on plans for future iterations of this workshop.


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How to Cite
Matuk, C., Hurwich, T., Prosperi, J., & Ezer, Y. (2020). Iterations on a Transmedia Game Design Experience for Youth’s Autonomous, Collaborative Learning. International Journal of Designs for Learning, 11(1), 108-139.
Author Biographies

Camillia Matuk, New York University

Camillia Matuk is an Assistant Professor of Educational Communication and Technology at New York University. Her research explores the roles of narrative and playfulness within design-driven activities for supporting collaborative inquiry learning.

Talia Hurwich, New York University

Talia Hurwich is a Ph.D. Candidate in Applied Statistics, Social Sciences and Humanities at New York University, and a former curriculum mentor at Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Talented Youth. Her research focuses on student literacies in interdisciplinary settings.

Jonathan Prosperi, New York University

Jonathan Prosperi is a game designer with a Masters in Games for Learning from New York University. His work explores how gameplay can support pro-social behaviors and cognitive abilities, such as executive functioning, critical thinking, and leadership.

Yael Ezer, New York University

Yael Ezer is a game designer and usability researcher with a Masters in Games for Learning from New York University. Her interests are in designing game-based environments to encourage students’ 21st-century skills and collaboration.