Sathya Naidu and Hanna Wirman and Daniel Shek, School of Design ,Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Schools in China and Hong Kong often ignore the importance of providing a platform for adolescents to learn and understand the core constructs of life not limited to Social Competence, Moral Competence, Self-identity, Self-determination, Bonding, and Spirituality etc. As the adolescents grow older, this lack of understanding the constructs of life often leave them unprepared for the future. This paper describes the use of PATHS Digital Games as a platform for Adolescents (secondary and senior secondary school students) to play, learn and understand the importance of life constructs. The mini games are designed to be played over three years with the constructs varying from the obvious and most expected to abstract constructs like spirituality and bonding. All government schools in Hong Kong will include the PATHS Digital Games as a part of the secondary and senior secondary curriculum.
A series of 19 mini games were designed and developed to allow students to play based on real life scenarios in a game world setting (eg: relationships at home, school, bus stop, holy places etc.). The process involved research and development of unique art styles, game mechanics, design and development and a hexagonal web based scoring system.
This paper will discuss the research, design, development and testing methodology of the games at various stages including Alpha and Beta phases. Tests were conducted with sample sizes of student groups varying from 10 – 30. The final version of PATHS Digital Games were tested with a group of secondary and senior secondary students. The results calculated had over 80% of the students understanding the importance of learning these constructs which will be detailed in this paper.
This paper will also discuss the holistic development of adolescents through positive reinforcement by helping them recognize their abilities, building bonds with others, helping them develop positive beliefs in life, and setting clear future.
Sathya Naidu prior to completing his Master’s degree from Hong Kong Polytechnic School of Design has worked in the area of serious games for training and games for simulation. Sathya is currently working as a Project Associate at School of Design for a project known as Ubiquitous Learning and Integrated Pedagogy; a collaboration between multiple schools in Hong Kong. His primary role is to research, design and experiment the use of games for mobile platforms to help address pedagogical issues.